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Case Study: How Madden’s Pricing Mattered Before and After the Super Bowl

by Bryan Cashman on 03/25/14 08:49:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Bryan Cashman is the founder of Callvention, a service enabling phonecalls with game developers.

Using proprietary research, CONSULGAMER documented the importance of pricing strategy for EA in both the buildup to the Super Bowl, and the weeks after. As EA has an exclusive license to the NFL, studying the impact of pricing on the company’s Madden titles provides a detailed look at the direct impact price changes can have on game sales.

CONSULGAMER’s proprietary sales database compiles daily price and sales rank data, and today’s research focuson on performance for Madden 25 across Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation SKUs. Today’s analysis focuses on sales between 12/26/2013 and 2/22/2013. The Super Bowl occurred on 2/2/2014.

Price Variability Matters

Price variability enables products to sell to the widest range of consumers, and the Xbox 360’s SKU of Madden 25 saw the widest pricing changes, and the highest sales volume.

The Xbox 360 version of Madden 25 had its price change far more often than other platforms.
The Xbox 360 SKU was repriced 20 times over our data period, more than any other SKU. The SKU’s price reached as low as $33.22 and as high as $54.99 – enabling EA to attract both high priced buyers and budget buyers. Throughout our research, the Xbox 360 version remained the top selling SKU across all platforms, which was to be expected given Xbox 360 having the highest console sales across all studied platforms.

Interestingly, Madden 25 for next-gen consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4 only experienced price revisions eight times during our data period. This may be due to the more premium price targeting of next-gen games.

Discounting Before the Super Bowl Boosted Sales

Ahead of the Super Bowl, EA reduced the price of Madden 25. They also predicted a snowy Super Bowl that didn’t happen.

With the NFL playoffs almost over, EA made an aggressive pricing change to move units, pricing all versions of Madden 25 at $39.99 in the week before the Super Bowl. The aggressive pricing proved successful, increasing sales across all SKUs, and at one point elevating all four versions into Amazon’s top 100 selling list of video game products.

The Super Bowl Halo Effect Lasted One Week

CONSULGAMER expected sales numbers to plummet the day after the Super Bowl, but little change was recorded. Strong consistent sales were recorded for a full week after the Super Bowl, with some SKU’s even seeing improved sales. After this period, CONSULGAMER documented a steady downward trend in sales numbers.

Sales Migration to PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 version of Madden 25 significantly out-ranked the Xbox One version as illustrated by daily Amazon Sales Ranks illustrated above.

An interesting trend throughout is the PlayStation 4 version of Madden frequently outsold the Xbox One SKU. While Xbox 360 is the clear platform of choice for the prior-gen, the PlayStation 4, at least according to Madden, is the best performer for third-parties in the new generation.

The author, Bryan Cashman ( @consulgamer ), blogs about business issues in the video game industry at CONSULGAMER. This article represents Bryan's personal opinion only.

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