Tiger Woods may not have won a tournament on the PGA tour in nearly two years, and may have failed in his most recent attempt to win another green jacket at the Masters. However, the new video game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters has broken all sales records for the franchise.
"Based on internal estimates, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 12: The Masters sold through approximately 225,000 units and outperformed previous week-one record sales (Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 08 in 2007) by 17 percent in North America"
the game's manufacturer, Electronic Arts (ERTS), announced. "Furthermore, year over year, week one console digital revenue for the franchise is estimated to have increased over 200 percent." The game also sold well at Apple's (AAPL) iTunes store, which markets the game for iPhone and iPad play.
EA made other claims about the game. The most important is the extent to which the game replicates actual course play. Video games have become ever-more realistic over the years, a feature that has become a critical marketing tool for the companies that create them.
Woods is still one of most popular golfers in the sport, and his presence on the tour has been described as essential for healthy PGA television ratings. The new video game's phenomenal success raises the question of whether that continued appeal can eventually win him back some of the sponsors he lost after the very public implosion of his marriage in a massive infidelity scandal. A number of companies, including Accenture (ACN) and AT&T (T), dropped him over it.
But whether the public and potential sponsors can begin to forget the scandal may rest more on whether he can begin to win tournaments again, and whether time does indeed heal all wounds.
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