Madden's Numbers Nudge Higher This AugustS

Early discounts by retailers such as Amazon and Walmart stoked speculation that Madden's sales were coming slow. EA Sports is projecting a modest increase over what the title pulled last August.

A statement today by the publisher called Madden the top selling game in North America for August, and said its sales are up about 5 percent over what they were last August for Madden NFL 10, across all platforms.

That's good news for EA, but remember last year, Madden NFL 10 was a more critically acclaimed title than Madden 09, yet sales were down in its first month on shelves, a performance Electronic Arts' CEO said at the time was "disappointing."

This year, led by Madden Ultimate Team - a microtransaction-backed card collection and team-creation mode - the franchise's digital revenues are up more than 200 percent over last year. It should be noted that Madden Ultimate Team was not available on Madden NFL 10 until December 2009, so those August 2009 digital revenues were largely for "accelerators" in singleplayer franchise modes. This also is the first year that online access costs $10 for those who buy a used copy whose one-use code for such access already has been redeemed.

In a news release touting the sales figures, EA Sports also said that the game is supporting more than two million online game sessions a day, with 20 percent of that coming through Online Team Play, the new cooperative/competitive mode supporting more players and featuring enhancements over last year's 2-on-2 cooperative mode. Madden NFL 11's iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad version also debuted as the top grossing application in the iTunes app store on the day it launched, which EA said was the first time a single game franchise held the top grossing position for multiple platforms in the App Store.