There seems to be a problem when the latest "Madden" sells more than two million copies on PS3, Xbox 360 and PS2 combined in the U.S. in August this year -- and just a little over 100,000 on the Wii according to sales-tracker NPD.
A few years ago, that kind of sales misery on a Nintendo console would be okay. For a long time, sports games on Nintendo consoles just didn't sell.
But given that "Wii Sports" sparked Nintendo's GameCube-to-Wii console resurrection, it seems like sports games can sell on the Wii.
So why isn't EA Sports having an easier go of it on the Wii? I recently asked EA Sports chief Peter Moore to tell me what EA was doing right and wrong with sports games on Nintendo's console.
As always, he was blunt:
"Will we ever see attach rates for authentic sports games, for licensed sports games, on the Wii to the same we see on 360 or PS3? Probably not in this cycle."
"The challenge we face is that that consumer gets 'Wii Sports' right out of the box and that's a sports experience that's good enough for a lot of people. That is a challenge for us at times.
"Secondly, we're doing very well with the core consumer, migrating them to the Xbox 360 and PS3 and, quite frankly, if they're looking for that hardcore experience that's where they're buying that … We are seeing multiple copy purchases in the home. As you well know, I was the proponent of the Wii60 in the early days. I think there's going to be a very strong multi-console ownership in homes. And I think that's bearing out. We are starting to see, anecdotally, two copies of 'Madden' -- one for the 360 or PS3 -- and another copy for the younger kids or even for the wife or girlfriend on the Wii.
"We're going to keep pounding away. We know what we were doing wrong. 'Tiger' is EA's number one selling game on the Wii period. Period! [Editor's Note: NPD reports that the latest edition of the game has sold, 141,000 copies in the U.S. this year on the Wii.]
"The bottom line is we knew what we weren't doing right. We've corrected that. We're seeing progress. Is it easy? No. Will we ever see attach rates for authentic sports games, for licensed sports games, on the Wii to the same we see on 360 or PS3? Probably not in this cycle. Are we going to see continued growth of both? Absolutely."
According to NPD, "Madden NFL 08" for Wii, the 2007 American football game designed in the same style as its Xbox 360 and PS3 counterparts, sold 174,000 copies in its first two months of release in the U.S. "Madden All-Play 09," this year's simpler controlling, just-for-the-Wii revamp, has sold 176,000 copies in its first two months out in the U.S., showing a stronger start in America than even that ballyhooed "Tiger" but as of yet not the blockbuster numbers "Madden" does on every other major gaming console.
Wii owners, do you like what you're hearing from Moore?