Analysts expect March sales rebound, Sept. 360 upgrades

Bad Company 2 to push software sales back into black; industry-watchers say Metro 2033 sold solidly while DSi XL struggled; $300 250GB Natal/Xbox Slim SKU predicted.

The last year has been a difficult one for the game industry. In the past 12 months, the industry tracking NPD Group has reported year-over-year software sales gains just once, with Halo: ODST pushing September 2009's game sales haul up 5 percent over the previous year. Coming off a March that saw the blockbuster launches of Battlefield: Bad Company 2, God of War III, Final Fantasy XIII, and Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, analysts think that trend is finally ready to be reversed.

Analysts believe Bad Company 2 stormed retailers last month with well over 1 million copies sold in US stores.

Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson and Wedbush's Michael Pachter have released their NPD predictions in advance of the tracking firm's official March 2010 numbers, expected Thursday. Wilson projects software sales for the month to be up 5 percent to $835 million, while a slightly more optimistic Pachter expects game revenues to hit 6 percent growth and $840 million.

The pair's near-term expectations line up, but their longer-term expectations are a bit more divergent. Pachter expects April sales to be roughly flat on a weak lineup of new releases (Splinter Cell: Conviction aside) but added that "sales growth is likely to rebound to double digits in May and that double-digit growth is likely to persist at least through September, if not for the balance of the year." Wilson was more conservative, saying, "The data do not signal a return to strength for the industry since we do not believe growth is a foregone conclusion in upcoming months."

As for individual games, both analysts put Bad Company 2 atop their own March charts, with Wilson expecting the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game to combine to sell 1.25 million copies and Pachter projecting 1.3 million. Electronic Arts has already said the game sold through 2.3 million units in two weeks on sale throughout the US and Europe.

The pair also gave predictions for a number of other notable titles. Ubisoft's Red Steel 2 may have had a difficult launch, with Wilson projecting it sold 50,000 for the month and Pachter putting the game's sales at 100,000 copies. Both analysts expect that the Wii-exclusive first-person shooter was handily outsold by THQ's own new shooter, Metro 2033, with Wilson putting the postapocalyptic title down for 175,000 sales for the month and Pachter expecting it to have sold 250,000 units.

Its screen is 93 percent larger. Its sales are not.

Pachter also weighed in on hardware sales for March, particularly the DSi XL, which debuted late in the month. The analyst said the system's momentum could have been undercut by the announcement of the 3DS just days before the XL's US launch. Pachter suggested that the XL was outsold in its debut by both the DSi and the DS Lite, with the two older systems each posting sales of roughly 237,000.

Sales figures weren't the only predictions the pair offered. In a timeline of the remaining year, Wilson had penciled in Starcraft II for an early July launch (the game's last announced release window was the first half of the year), with Halo: Reach taking a cue from its immediate predecessors and arriving in late September.

September is also around the time Pachter expects another wave of hardware price cuts, or at least value-added hardware bundles.

"At a minimum, we anticipate the introduction of a more feature-packed Xbox 360 as the standard SKU in late 2010 (likely with a 250GB hard drive) at the same $299 price point," Pachter said, "and think that Microsoft will cut price before the fall only if it begins to lose significant market share to Sony. It is far more likely that we will see a slim version of the Xbox 360 with a 250GB hard drive and with Project Natal bundled into the box while maintaining the $299 price point, especially if Sony does not lower the price of the PS3 by the time Natal and Sony’s Move controllers launch in the fall."

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68 comments
bowser390
bowser390

well basically what i do is keep one home console and one handheld so for thhe home console juust choose wii its WAY better then the xbox360 elite or ps3 and for thhe handheld best choice would be to wait until thhe 3ds launchs i've got a lite but i dont got any gba games so its a complete waste of money and i agree with koolaid1982

koolaid1982
koolaid1982

Sony is Money Hungry they were the ones raping people with a 499 and 599 price tag at first it took them so long to drop the price I think the 360 will be 99 dollars befor the ps3 hits 199 and the ps3 only recently just started to make money on the ps3

Sniper_Wolf25
Sniper_Wolf25

@Flint247 Yeah, Nintendo really dropped the ball on that one. I mean, did they just forget that the XL was releasing days after they made the 3DS announcement? Usually Nintendo is all about sapping money from loyal fans, I'm surprised they didn't take advantage of the opportunity. *shudders* man I hate Nintendo

Flint247
Flint247

DSi XL didn't sell well? Well, duh, it's the 4th revision of the DS and plus "3DS" was announced before it released.

itsTolkien_time
itsTolkien_time

No Pokemon prediction? Official NPD numbers put HG/SS at a cumulative 1.78 million in March. That's quite a few. Why did they get ignored? I guess casual Pokemon doesn't count in the industry or something. :roll:

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

Gee, I have an idea. Ok, make the slim 360, but release it at $199 w/ hard drive. Thennnn, release the next xbox for $299

Boozer11
Boozer11

Microsoft may not be doing too well but I feel that natal has a better chance of succeeding that the sony motion controller because it tracks all body movements instead of just using a stick...However given past motion sensing technologies I expect it will also fail to give in great degree of precision and will fail. Nothing seems to be able to really replace a standard controller for me anyways...

maverick_76
maverick_76

I think that growth is unlikely for now, there just isn't anything coming out until later in the summer to warrant any significant growth.

EnDeR2015
EnDeR2015

when is this xbox coming out?

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Redesigning the Playstation 3 from the Phat to the Slim worked well for Sony. If Microsoft did "Refresh" the Xbox 360 with a "NatalSlim" 360 and Natel has some great games made for it. There is a chance however remote that MS could catch up to Nintendo. People liked the motion control idea, But the games sucked and the decent ones were few. So if Microsoft or Sony could have games with great graphics and stories combined with Motion control that worked better than what Nintendo has currently. Or the videogaming industry starts heading towards another Crash? perhaps....With Shovelware from MS, Sony and Nintendo fighting for the remaining casual marketshare.

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

Funny MS is going to keep such a high price point. The extra storage is the only real value added feature and after that its just a dvd player with a bound to fail Natal attatched.

tsiper
tsiper

I would love it if 360 went slim with natal and 250gig HDD, I'd be on board to buy a couple more of em. 1 for me and 1 for the wife Awesome!!!

Autolycus
Autolycus

dont believe anything these people say. every sector across the market will perk up a little and here is why . So anything that goes up will just end up going right back down the next month. IN fact, the whole first quarter is pretty useless for analysts to look at.

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Even thou I already have a few 360s, I'd get the slim with natal and that 250g hard drive for $300. I would also love it if it did drive the price of the PS3 to $200. Be the best xmas eva. :D

otakubr
otakubr

i've just bought my 360 and now they are sayng there is a 360 slim? are you kidding me. and it's the same price together with bigger HD and natal? come on!

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

Red Steel 2 is probably suffering from the fact that Wii gamers remember the bug filled 1st one and as for the DSi XL, well people just have no incentive to upgrade since moving from the original DSI to the XL means that they lose anything that they have downloaded through the DSI store. The 3DS thing probably didn't help either.

Kou-Nurasaka
Kou-Nurasaka

Why is it that the PSP is a much better gaming system with more processing power and yet the PSP has 2 (maybe three if you count the PSP GO, but no one counts the PSP GO) handhelds out. I'm not buying a new DS but I am waiting for Birth By Sleep for the PSP.

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Red Steel 2 will be mine eventually. But I'm a gaming vulture. I wait until sales are so poor that the price of the game, brand new, plummets to something around a tenner, less than twenty quid for AAA titles. I know that sucks but I'm poor. Thank you gamestracker.com!

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

Honestly, I can't think why anyone would want a DSi XL. XL is not an option anyone would choose unless it was the size of a television. We want our technology smaller, not bigger. Imagine what a muppet you will look sat on the bus with a laptop sized DS in your hands. Seriously, was Ninty on crack when they thought that was a good idea?

chrispicard
chrispicard

DSXL sucks!, 3DS will suck!, Red Steel 2 sucks!, Natal will suck!, 360 slim would be nice but i already have a 360 so that sucks!, this article sucks! and er.. oh yeh.. YOU ALL suck!

rynmls
rynmls

bad company 2 for PC have too many bad problems. too many glitches freezes, i think the version for xbox and ps3 are the best seller for this game, just want to ask EA, again how does this game will beat COD4 modern warfare2???

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

The ds xl was a terrible idea, but why aren't people buying red steel?

monson21502
monson21502

when natal launches get ready for sony to drop the ps3 to 199 the next day or feel the rath of a another wii bomb nintendo hit them with at launch. like it or not sony, natal will be the next fad..... better act fast i dont think the wiimote with a light bulb is gonna help much. better be more ready then you were last E3 when you dug up that ps wand out of the basement the day after ms showed off natal.

KimCheeWarriorX
KimCheeWarriorX

I'm just glad that my PS3 hasn't broken yet, friend of mine had his break on him twice and each time he had to pay for it even though he sent it in to get "repaired" (aka replaced). The 360 might have a bigger failure rate but at least they replace your system for free.

wahyudil
wahyudil

many people waiting for 3DS ... and not really care about DSi XL

SuprSaiyanRockr
SuprSaiyanRockr

DS sales fail because they've already made a dozen versions already. No one needs a new version of the DS. As for the new 360... I don't want natal, and that $300 will probably double over here in Australia... so, idc.

monson21502
monson21502

@Ehggsz. same could have been said about ps3 slim or even ps2 slim. my 60 gig broke just over two years from the day i bought it. i would have never bought another ps3 if the slim didnt come out. im sure alot of 360s owners are thinking the same thing right now.. oh wait they get their 360s fixed for free for 3 years :shock: if you think ms wont make sure the slim is perfect you are just plain nuts lol

monson21502
monson21502

360 slim is needed. there is a disign flaw in the 360 that cant be fixed with a falcon/jasper chip. its better to be safe then sorry. 360 slim is long over due imo even if the jasper chip cuts the failure rate down close to ps3 slim or wii. if it boasts sales its just a bonus.

TeenGamer92
TeenGamer92

@Daian: I know, right? And 360 slim, PS3 slim...notice any similarities? Especially since there was never an Xbox slim.

monson21502
monson21502

@metalkid9. 360 slim, if made will be 100% more safe then the current 360. no way ms will repeat the rrod. even if they have to make the thing here in the states and do back round checks to make sure no one messes them up in the factory. also think thats one of the main reasons sony made the slim so soon. because they found a flaw in the phat ps3 design.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

@Poopinhammer Red Steel 2 has not being a failure yet. Remember the sales of Just Dance, they were below 10,000 for the first 3 weeks and then went up.

Krystyan68
Krystyan68

What? So the "Xbox slim" is official now?? :S

coltsfan4ever
coltsfan4ever

If the new slim xbox turns out to be true I may end up getting one. But this rumor sounds too good to be true. As of now I still dont think the 360 is worth it for what Im looking for in a console.

thrasher510
thrasher510

360 slim?!? lol i thought sony was supposed to be the one copying.

metalkid9
metalkid9

The only thing that's worrying is the how good the quality of the slim 360 hardware gonna be. We definitely don't want an RROD repeat.

metalkid9
metalkid9

good thing I didn't get the limited edition splinter cell conviction xbox 360.

gamer082009
gamer082009

Well people may keep saying it'll cause more issues. But the fact of the matter is it'll help with the issues. The CPU/GPU have been combined so that helps. And the motherboard will be a revised one for the better. Sony's Slim has improved the quality like crazy of the PS3 (which older models seem to suffer from the YLOD - and Blu-ray drives going bad). I agree with Pachter on the Slim being true..but I don't see Microsoft making it $299. Too good of a deal to get a 250GB hard drive, Natal AND Slim model all for $299. We're talking about Micro$oft!!

Ehggsz
Ehggsz

Microsoft + Hardware = Disaster It would probably be a smart move to wait a while if they released a slim model of the 360. All too often it's the customers that test their hardware for them.

metaldeth
metaldeth

Yeah Ampinoy88 just like Sony is copying Nintendo.

Xbuxruulezz
Xbuxruulezz

@Ampinoy88 WTFFFFFFFFFFFF r you talkin bout , Sony is copieing the wiiii with the playstation move.... microsoft's natal does not show any signs of a controller, while sony is making the EXACT SAME THING AS THE WIIS CONTROLLERS!!! so i have no idea wat ur talkin gout microsoft comes up with its own ideas.... ever heard of the halo series?!?1??! thats all microsoft babbiieeee( Bungie too :D)

TheLemonGelati
TheLemonGelati

Wow, I'm thinking the marketing expert at Nintendo completely forgot about the XL's launch.. or just wanted the XL to fail miserably in terms of sales.

sangdolee
sangdolee

please dont release FFXIII for Xbox360 and GoW PLEASE!!! whats wrong Square Enix Microsoft its hmmm.... i cant tell but no good idea releasing that games ....

Ampinoy88
Ampinoy88

To me I think that Microsoft can't make up there own thing.Thats sad,really!!!!Reason why I say that is because they are coping the same idea as Sony.Microsoft should be ashamed of themselves.For one,thats Sony's idea and two Microsoft needs to make up there own idea.And they are also coping the idea of Sony's plan with the motion controllers with the system.Thats even more sad.DANG Microsoft,yall are cheap stakes.Yall are just COPIERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

hmm i wonder if they will make a slim xbox? that certainly would give me more room by the tv and depending on its size my console tower might need to be restacked. i just hope its a decent price and there aren't any major problems with it like others have mentioned.

force_user1975
force_user1975

Think how many consoles Microsoft is going to push with a slim version of the 360 packaged with state of the art Project Natal. Halo Reach, Fable 3 and Gears 3 coming out early next year.

Captain_Spoono
Captain_Spoono

@Daian there probably will be more care put into the 360 production. Microsoft admitted (when red rings were first discovered) that they did, in fact, ship some systems that were defective. That cost them a lot of money, and they won't make that mistake this time. At this point though, it seems that Microsoft is the only "main" company that has it's head screwed on right. Don't get me wrong, i'm a nintendo fan boy, but in terms of their marketing descisions ( i.e. DSi XL) and announcing the 3DS before release of DSiXl?!?!? PET MONKEY INDEED!!!