EA Sports today has declared that sales of NCAA Football 12 are up 17% for the first two weeks of release compared to last year. According to their estimates 700K copies have been sold – putting NCAA 11′s numbers at the same point at approximately 598K. NCAA 11 went on to sell 667K through the end of August. It will be important to wait on independently collected official NPD sales numbers for the first month before making any final declarations regarding NCAA 12′s success but it has at least exceeded initial expectations.
A sales bump over last year wouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the prevalence of preorder deals, the need for an “Online Pass” in new copies, and coming off a generally well-regarded year with NCAA Football 11. The feature additions were also well received given that many were long-requested and added value to the product while the NFL lockout plus the move back of Madden NFL 12 by three weeks likely factored in as well.
It was the late heavy rush on sales due to extras being offered by retailers that pushed it over the top. Amazon and Walmart offered $20 credits that made waiting around to buy a used copy pointless. At what amounted to $40 on release day NCAA Football 12 became a much more appealing product. There were also those who paid full price at GameStop in order to get the exclusive Nike Pro Combat uniforms.
It wasn’t long though until the bad word of mouth started to spread and if anything that has been building over the last two weeks given the lack of response from EA Sports. Those who held off may not be as inclined to pick up the game now knowing of all the serious issues. A sharper drop-off is expected primarily due to the rush on preorder deals and as Madden nears many may just hold off and wait for that release.
Ironically EA also touted in their press release that 50,000 Online Dynasties have been created. This comes only days after talking about how there would not be enough interest in Online Franchise for Madden to dedicate the resources towards improving it. Seems a fully featured mode may actually generate some interest and excitement huh?
Even should sales of NCAA Football 12 drop off at a faster rate than last year getting as many copies out there right away was the important thing for EA Sports. They then have the ability to draw in more revenue through the bevy of downloadable content options. The extra three weeks until Madden 12 arrives will also provide opportunity for a significant patch that could appease consumers before they decide to sell or trade it in. Where discontent is more likely to be seen is next year with NCAA Football 13 given any degradation of consumer confidence.