Beyond the Pale, Part 2Yesterday I talked about some highly suspicious Madden boosterism at the major game chains in my area coinciding with the release of ESPN NFL 2K5. I got two interesting and diametrically opposed e-mails in response--one from someone in the industry and one from a gaming store manager (major change). Both wish to remain anonymous.
First, here's the response from the store manager:
...the deal is we run the "circle of life" with games, and they all start with the reserve. We're not pushing ESPN's reserve because the game is only 20 bucks, and there wasn't that high of a demand for ESPN to begin with, so Madden is it. It's just demand that has us answering the phone with the Madden line. About the reviews and actually trashing ESPN, my store hasn't been doing that--in fact I've been pushing the hell out of ESPN along with my employees, I cracked one open and played it as soon as I received it in my store Tuesday morning... I like it a lot...it's easily worth 50 bucks and a steal at 20. My best selling point to customers has been, you've got 3 weeks until Madden, and ESPN is only 20 bucks, why not buy both?
So no conspiracy at the store manager level. Then I got this very funny e-mail from an industry source:
Sounds like EA is back to their old tricks. The deal is this: EA publishes enough games that they can go to GameStop and EB and say: "You are going to pimp Madden like it is made out of gold and possibly also some high-quality chocolate. You are going to refer to ESPN NFL as though it might possibly give the customer oral herpes. If you do not, we will magically short you on shipments of our other incredibly popular games so that when Sims 2 comes out, you will have 2 copies and the place around the corner has 10,000."
My e-mail: nothing if not entertaining.