EA CEO John Riccitiello wrote an email to EA employees discussing the fortunes of the massive publisher in the economic recession - including disappointing sales of Madden NFL '10.
Oh sure, Madden NFL '10 might have been the best-selling game in August, but its sales were still more sluggish than expected. EA boss Riccitiello acknowledged the slow sales of the company's flagship franchise, saying that it was emblematic of the difficulties the industry was facing in an eternal email obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
"This week, market research for August will show that year over year, the industry was down in North America - and that August sales of Madden NFL 10 are down with that trend. It is discouraging that one of our highest-rated and best-marketed Madden titles in years is facing strong headwinds," he wrote, pointing to high reviews of the latest installment of the yearly franchise - the highest-reviewed installment on current-gen platforms thus far.
Riccitiello expressed enthusiasm for the recent price cuts of the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles, saying that he expected it to drive flagging sales in the industry and spur demand for software. As expected of a company leader trying to inspire morale in his troops after one of their flagship titles underperformed, he remained confident for the future:
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. Already this year, EA has produced 11 titles with an 80+ Metacritic average ... I am confident that we will exceed the record we set last year of shipping 14 titles rated 80 or better. We will know in the weeks ahead when critics rate our big releases such as NHL 10, FIFA 10, Need for Speed SHIFT, Dead Space Extraction, and from EAP, Brutal Legend and Left 4 Dead 2.
Sure, he's pounding his own drum, but in all fairness, not many publishers can boast 15 or greater 80+ releases in a year. Even if a lot of those are just yearly sport titles. I'll give you credit where credit is due, John. We owe you for picking up Brutal Legend, anyway.