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Madden 2006: Already?!

Retailers begin taking reserves for next year's game

By Troy Roberts and James Stevenson     August 20, 2004


Screenshot from MADDEN NFL 2005.
© Electronic Arts

With MADDEN NFL 2005 being released just a few weeks ago, retailers are already beginning to take reservations on next year's game which is almost a year away. Is this overkill or a very smart marketing ploy by Electronic Arts?


I expected for a while that MADDEN would still cream ESPN NFL 2K5. Even then, I hoped that with the cheap price tag, good word of mouth and excellent reviews that ESPN might at least make some sort of inroad against the MADDEN franchise. It wasn't to be. MADDEN creamed ESPN with 1.35 million copies in one week. That's amazing, and what's even crazier is that reservations for MADDEN 2006 are being taken online. It makes some sense, people reserved HALO more than a year before its release and no one thought that was crazy. The hard part is that MADDEN is released yearly and EA has this to an exact science. It just seems like overkill to some people that no sooner do they buy a game that they should reserve the next one. I still feel bad for ESPN a bit to have to lose even though they have a better playing game. I don't think the pricing strategy is right though and really, I believe that unless EA seriously screws up or ESPN just absolutely blows EA out of the water, there will be no change to the MADDEN dominance. Who knows, in a year or two from now we may be reserving MADDEN 2008 before we actually get our copy of MADDEN 2007. JS


It comes as no surprise really. If you look at all the reserves that HALO 2 has gotten over the past year or so, most companies can really build the hype for its games by allowing retailers to take pre-orders really early. If you have good salespeople who can tell customers that the game will be hard to get when it is released, under normal circumstances, customers will go ahead and reserve the game, nearly guaranteeing that they will pick up their copy from that retailer. It is a good idea on the retailer's side and the gaming company's as well. Whether it is a bit of overkill is another thing altogether. Unlike HALO 2, where the release date changed every few hours, MADDEN normally comes out at the same time every year. There really isn't much of a reason to reserve it this far in advance as nearly everyone knows when it will come out. EA Sports doesn't need to hype up its football game all that much, as it will sell 1.35 million copies no matter what the competition throws at it. TR


TIDBITS



Stormfront is developing a PSP game with a major movie tie-in... ESPN NHL 2K5 has gone gold and will retail for $20... EYETOY: PLAY 2 is on the way with new mini-games... Jakks games will create a game based on Tecmo games, including TECMO BOWL... More NES classics are on the way, METROID, DR. MARIO, CASTLEVANIA, and ZELDA II will arrive on October 25th... The Sony Metreon has begun taking nominations for the WALK OF GAME, which will honor franchises, characters and pioneers in the game industry...



ON SHELVES



Not much this week, other than a lot of new STREET FIGHTER controllers. Well, Atari is re-releasing the mediocre PS One fighting game DRAGONBALL GT FINAL BOUT again, even though the game is a good seven years old. Also, VIEWTIFUL JOE for the Playstation 2, DIGIMON RACING for the Game Boy Advance, and PHANTASY STAR ONLINE I AND II PLUS for the GameCube.



Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.



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