When the NPD Group reports United States industry sales for August on Thursday, the findings will be positive. That's according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz, who said in a note to investors today that console/handheld software sales are expected to post their first double-digit gain since April 2011.
He said this sector will rise 21 percent year-over-year, while total packaged software sales (including PC) will jump 18 percent compared to last year.
A driving force for the positive comparison to last year is the shift of this year's Madden game from the September NPD month to August this year, Creutz said. Still, even without Madden NFL 25's 1 million sales, August would be close to break-even, he noted, due to other major releases like Saints Row IV (522,000 units), Disney Infinity (225,00 units), Splinter Cell: Blacklist (209,000 units), and Pikmin 3 (185,000 units).
The positive industry sales trend is likely to continue through the rest of the year, Creutz noted, due to the launches of major games like Grand Theft Auto V (September 17) and Battlefield 4 (October 29). November and December are looking strong, but much of this depends on the launch quantities and attach rates of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, he said.
Overall, 2013 software sales are expected to finish in positive territory for the first time since 2008, Creutz said.