Electronic Arts Inc. (NYSE: EA) said in a statement Thursday that "Madden NFL 13," the latest iteration of its iconic football video game franchise, sold about 900,000 in its first 24 hours on retail shelves. Citing "internal estimates," EA said the sale was a 7 percent increase from last year's launch, making it the highest-performing launch title for the franchise for the console generation.
The company added that the game also set a day-one record for the number of simultaneous online users, boasting a 28 percent increase from last year's release.
"'Madden NFL 13' is the most innovative entry the franchise has ever seen and we're thrilled that fans have embraced it with such a huge first day," Andrew Wilson, executive vice president of EA Sports, said in a statement. "As we approach the kickoff of the NFL season next week, the football community is whetting their appetites by playing 'Madden NFL 13' in record numbers. With the combination of the cutting-edge Infinity Engine and new Connected Careers, fans are truly getting their football fix with the best Madden NFL game ever."
"It was a phenomenal first day for 'Madden NFL 13,' and we have high expectations for this great game to be popular throughout the fall and into the holidays," said Seong Ohm, Wal-mart svp of Entertainment. "We're excited that our partnership with EA has helped deliver our customers unique access and content to this great game. There's incredible demand for Madden NFL 13, and it's easy to see why people are loving it."
In an interview earlier this month with the game industry site gameindustry.biz, Wilson admitted that the popular football franchise "did not have the level of innovation that some of our other franchises have had," a fact he said EA hoped to improve upon with this year's release.
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These sales figures -- impressive by any measure -- come two weeks after EA announced that another one of its historic and celebrated franchises, "Command & Conquer," would be switched to a free-to-play publishing model, leading many industry analysts to wonder if traditional media like boxed copies of "Madden NFL" are losing their footing in the retail marketplace. The continued pre-eminence of franchises like "Madden NFL," therefore, might be a sign supporting Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore's assertion that the company "will never abandon physical media" entirely.
EA shares jumped 0.7 percent to $12.94 in mid-morning trades following the statement.