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Riccitiello encouraged by hardware price cuts

EA CEO hopes software sales will pick after disappointing start for latest Madden

EA CEO John Riccitiello has said that he's encouraged by the recent hardware price cuts, and hopes more affordable consoles will help lift game sales for the publisher.

One of EA's biggest sporting franchises, Madden NFL, has suffered from a slow start at retail, said Riccitiello. NPD data released last night shows the game sold over 1.7 million units on three formats during August.

"It is discouraging that one of our highest-rated and best-marketed Madden titles in years is facing strong headwinds," he told staff in an email reprinted by the Wall Street Journal.

"Despite the challenging environment in North America, there are a few important and positive signs in our sector. In recent weeks, both Sony and Microsoft announced significant price cuts for the PlayStation 3 (the new slim) and Xbox 360.

"Our early read on the market is that consumers are responding and console sales are up significantly, particularly for the Sony platform where EA has historically performed well. This is encouraging, as greater hardware sales have historically translated to stronger software sales. We’re hopeful that the Madden sales trend will strengthen as more consumers go to retail to pick up their lower-priced consoles," he added.

He also said recent scores for eleven EA titles highlight the improvement to product quality by the publisher, and the reception of upcoming releases at Gamescom last month was also encouraging.

"What underpins most everything is the dramatic improvement in our product quality. Back in 2006, we set quality as a top priority and we have increased our average every year since then.

"I am confident that we will exceed the record we set last year of shipping 14 titles rated 80 or better."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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