Remember this pic? Speaking of disappearing players, that seems to be the trend in EA Sports titles. Deutsche Bank analyst Jeetil Patel points out that EA Sports titles are trending down in sales, with juggernaut Madden '08 selling 100,000 less copies this year (5% drop) and NCAA Football '08 seeing a 17% drop; furthermore, compared to previous years the average selling price declines of these games accelerated.

Patel says that the underperformance of EA Sports titles represent two major issues: That an exclusive sports franchise is diminishing year after year, and whether future iterations can compete in a competitive market with many AAA titles available. He gives EA a "SELL" rating as its industry leadership is challenged along with the quality of its titles. We humbly present as anecdotal evidence: When the guys at this blogger's ultra-blue-collar barber shop spend the last three visits complaining about the quality of Madden games, that's definitely a sign straight from the "key demographic."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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