Sales for the latest Tiger Woods PGA Tour titles from Electronic Arts have plummeted 68% from last years edition of the game and people have begun pointing fingers at the entitled golfer's promiscuity. It sure is easy to pass the buck when the accused is steeping in scandal, but that isn't the only factor at hand.
Doug Creutz of Cowan & Company believes Tiger caused permanent damage to the franchise, but he recognizes that he isn't entirely to blame. In a note to investors, he states, “Although this is probably due in part to the fact that last year's version shipped bundled with Nintendo's new MotionPlus controller, we are concerned that Woods' scandal woes may have permanently damaged the sales potential of what we believe to be EA's third most important sports franchise, behind Madden and FIFA.” He does note that Nintendo debuted their MotionPlus accessory last year, just in time to bundle it with Tiger Woods 10, a move that must have triggered higher than normal sales. This is a fair assumption when you consider the 86% drop in sales of the Wii version alone. His mention of permanent damage also makes sense, when you consider the potential number of WiiMote toting mothers who may take offense to the once beloved Tiger's many affairs.
Maybe the average consumer doesn't need another golf game. As with any successful sports game franchise, there are devotees who upgrade without fail, but the majority of people who play Tiger Woods PGA Tour games are more likely to wait a few iterations before upgrading. This could be a cause for the recent decline in sales, but it seems unlikely that the lack of desire for upgrades is a new trend.
EA Sports president Peter Moore sat down with CNBC earlier this year, prior to PGA Tour 11's release, and when questioned in regard to Tiger's scandal, he responded, “We talk to our customers every single day. We take their pulse about a lot of things and in particular, obviously, when there are situations like this in the news. We want to know how they think. It hasn’t changed. In fact, it’s validated our decision to continue with Tiger at the masthead of our games.” He went on to confirm sales were in line with the previous year and it indicated that Tiger's personal life would not have a negative effect on sales. I wonder if he is humming a different tune now that the final numbers are in?
You can't quantify public dissent, but EA may have to reconsider their budget for the PGA Tour series in the future due to recent events. It is hard to imagine if EA would ever consider dropping Tiger's name from the title, but you can't take anything off the table given the financially dire turn of events.
[Source: GamesIndustry.biz ]