Analysts forecast booming February

Wilson, Pachter, and Divnich expect 20, 27, and 34 percent growth for leap-year month, with the PS3 and X360 finishing neck and neck.

Given that the January 2008 reporting period was one week shorter than its 2007 equivalent, last month offered up a tricky comparison to judge whether the industry will continue its double-digit gains into the new year. Despite software, hardware, and accessory sales technically slipping by six percent year-over-year, the industry actually grew by nearly 18 percent when balanced on a week-by-week scale. More pointedly, according to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, software sales alone were up by nearly 50 percent to $550 million from the same time a year before.

So will the impressive software gains continue now that the holiday season is firmly in the past? Several industry watchers weighed in today in anticipation of the NPD Group's monthly report, and they answered with a resounding yes. Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson, Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter, and Jesse Divnich on the behalf of prediction market the simExchange all expect software sales to maintain their double-digit growth.

Wilson was the most conservative of the bunch. He predicted a 20 percent rise in software sales to $545 million, thanks to one genre in particular. "Music genre games continue to dominate industry sales, with Guitar Hero III and Rock Band together comprising 17 percent, 14 percent, and 19 percent of November, December, and January sales, respectively," said Wilson. "We expect the games to represent roughly 17 percent of February sales."

With the rationale that February serves as further indication that the gaming sector is "highly recession resilient," Pachter said that he believes software revenue will grow by 27 percent to $575 million. Pachter also took a stab at the month's best-sellers, saying Capcom's Devil May Cry 4 (X360, PS3) will lead sales for the month, with other contributors including "to a lesser extent Microsoft's Lost Odyssey (360) and THQ's Frontlines: Fuel of War (360, PC)."

Also calling out Capcom's latest as driving growth, Divnich notes that the industry will see a 34 percent uptick in software sales to $591 million. "For new releases, the prediction market expects Devil May Cry 4 to reign supreme at 489,000 and 303,000 units for the Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively."

The trio of analysts also weighed in on how the console race will have played out in February. All three believe it to be a forgone conclusion that team Nintendo will take the pole position in the hardware race, with the only dispute being whether the Wii will top the DS, or vice versa. Pachter believes Wii sales will trail DS sales 300,000 to 350,000, whereas the simExchange predicts a photo finish, with both systems expected to shift about 450,000 units.

At issue, then, is the embittered rivalry between Sony's and Microsoft's consoles. "In January, PS3 hardware demand continued to improve, and we believe that PS3 sales will gain momentum over the balance of the year with the victory of the Blu-ray format over HD DVD," said Pachter. The high-definition video-playback war victory will give Sony's PlayStation 3 an edge on the Xbox 360 in February, believes Pachter, logging sales of 260,000 PS3s to 250,000 Xbox 360s.

Pachter also addressed the issue of ongoing supply constraints. Referencing reports of an intentional drying of the retail channel last month, Pachter said, "Our [February] console sell-through forecasts reflect our belief that Wii, DS, and Xbox 360 hardware continued to be supply constrained during the month. With the launch of several high-profile games in March, we expect supplies for the consoles to increase."

Also predicting a close finish for February, the simExchange does not see Sony's victory in the HD wars to be an outright death knell for Microsoft's Xbox 360. "This stalemate between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 is expected to continue well into April, with the prediction market expecting the PS3 to outsell the Xbox 360 320,000 units to 315,000 units in March, and a reversal in April with the Xbox 360 outselling the PS3 386,000 units to 371,000 units, respectively," said Divnich. The simExchange expects the Xbox 360 will slightly outpace the PS3 in February, with 285,000 Xboxes sold to 270,000 PS3s.

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67 comments
7thRonin
7thRonin

hope dmc still do better on ps3 than x360

Hsyper
Hsyper

better think more!

jasonbarbour
jasonbarbour

I actually live in the USA, I don't just have friends there, and I can safely tell you that those hardware shortage excuses are nothing but crap, I can walk down to best Buy right now and see a tower of 360's that are not being bought. PS3 is beating 360 in sales fair and square, people don't go spend hundreds of dollars on a whim, changing at the last second because they might have to wait a few days for the next shippment of the console they wanted. If they have waited this long any way then i'm sure they could wait till the next tuesday (to get the system of their choice) which is when best buy gets its shippmwnts usually. People are purchasing the PS3 because they have made a decision to buy one, not because a store is "out" of 360's whic did'nt even happen durning the hollidays, as there was always a few lying around even then. If there were enough consoles during the hollidays, surely there are enough now.

Ozzie234
Ozzie234

Well now that we have a BIG price cut for the 360 in europe, how do you think the figures will turn out?

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

Razzi65 "i think if sony deleiverd BD to M$ before june or july, it'll b a bad move... they should wait until they've sold enough ps3's... caz right now 360 has way more users than ps3 & they'll prefer to buy a BD ROM than nuying a ps3..." Even if Sony handed Blu-ray to Microsoft yesterday, how fast do you think they can implement that into their hardware, make sure that all existing software will run on the new systems, or even manufacture them? You've got to be looking at a bare minimum of 6-10 months, and that's rushing things. The last thing any microsoft hardware owner wants to think about, is Microsoft rushing another piece of 360 hardware to the market!

Razzi65
Razzi65

i think if sony deleiverd BD to M$ before june or july, it'll b a bad move... they should wait until they've sold enough ps3's... caz right now 360 has way more users than ps3 & they'll prefer to buy a BD ROM than nuying a ps3...

Merl57
Merl57

analysts are not always right.

Rakuho
Rakuho

*checks wallet, nothing changed* "I don't care"

Pete5506
Pete5506

I am a fan of all 3 systems but if I had to pick one it would be Xbox, just for the games it has and the online gameplay

lamprey263
lamprey263

well, hopefully this competition means each company will try hard to deliver killer exclusives

AngelsongCA
AngelsongCA

@getoconnection "The commercial did it for me. I might have watched it twenty times before I actually bought the game. Awesome game." It was brilliantly done, with a great score choice that helped stir up emotion. It blended excellently with the environment you were being shown. I don't usually go out and buy a new IP as soon as it releases, but I did that with this one without even looking at a single review. =P

getoconnection
getoconnection

AngelsongCA Who wants to bet that Gears of War 2 will be the "Halo 3" of 2008? Gears of War sold so many copies so fast when it came out that it even Epic was taken aback, and this game at the time was a unproven new IP. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The commercial did it for me. I might have watched it twenty times before I actually bought the game. Awesome game.

AngelsongCA
AngelsongCA

Who wants to bet that Gears of War 2 will be the "Halo 3" of 2008? Gears of War sold so many copies so fast when it came out that it even Epic was taken aback, and this game at the time was a unproven new IP. How much more so than will it shine now? I'll take another bet that Super Smash Bros. Brawl will remain in the top ten software sales all year long. The analysts don't seem to be mentioning the games so much.

getoconnection
getoconnection

The console wars are irrelevant for MS and Sony at this point. Not if but when the BuyRay Add-on is introed for the BOX, they'll both be paying each other. MS will sell more systems and Sony will sell more blue disks. Nintendo is beating both their heads in. When I see the amount of production value within Smash Bros. it makes me that much more excited about the second gen of 1st party games. Money well spent Nintendo, money well spent.

HellRazer360
HellRazer360

i preferr xbox over ps3 mainly because of games and xbox live.....i think xbox live is the driving force behind the 360

dragonpuppy
dragonpuppy

@ HighlyToxic You know putting the $ the word Sony or Microsoft makes you a fanboy right? Just putting that out there. And, uhhh, no. Without Microsoft, Sony would probably still lower their prices just as fast. Why? Cause there's a small(ok...not so small...) company called Nintendo that is kicking ass right now. Sony had competition before Microsoft was in the picture you know.

tyler2357
tyler2357

I don't see why MS is saying they are running short on consoles. I have friends that live all over the U.S.A. and they all have said that there were at least 30 360's sitting at their local electronic stores. I have seen the same thing at all the stores where I live. I think MS just wants an excuse for why PS3 is beating them. Nintendo is telling the truth when they say they are running short.

AngelsongCA
AngelsongCA

Microsoft is probably going to help market the crap out of GTA 4's exclusive content on XBOX 360. You can also expect Gear of War 2 to get the Halo 3 kind of advertising treatment. Monumental. Then you have to consider titles like Ninja Gaiden 2, Fable 2, Too Human, Alan Wake, Banjo Kazooie 3, Halo Wars, Infinite Undiscovery, Left 4 Dead, Tales of Vesperia, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Guilty Gear 2: Overture, and niche Strategy RPG, and regular RPG titles from Atlus like Operation Darkness, and Spectral Force 3. These are games we know about, surely there will be several more suprises come E3. Sony has a good offering too, so it should be a pretty exciting year. No idea how it will turn out though.

PS_Family
PS_Family

Microsoft should take care of its hardware shortages by bringing their pyramids of xboxes that are rotting on shelves in Japan and Europe.

okassar
okassar

I own a 360 and I'm definitely not going to say just because it's falling behind a bit that it's to be the worst system.The thing is,the PS3 has a Blu-ray player and it's a good investment for the future of Blu-ray.At 400 bucks it's the same price or cheaper than the average Blu-ray player,so why not.But for gaming,I have to say I'm leaning towards the 360,though the PS3 is definitely worth it for its Blu-ray.Come on 360 Blu-ray peripherals,if you're cheap you may be life-savers for the 360.I want Blu-ray anyway,so a cheap 360 Blu-ray peripheral would be really nice.

sterofuse
sterofuse

GTA4 comes out on the 360 too, buddy.

4quarters
4quarters

Uh, HELLO GT4 comes out in April.......$$$$$$$ sales boon for Sony!!! The nexy big came for Wii is...........nothing comes to mind.... and for 360 it's .............not much there either.........Sony has Gt4 in April along with Haze, then June brings MGS4......HELLO.....$$$$$$$, by June Sony will be the headliner for the rest of the year until Gears 2 Comes out. Sept. brings Home, and Little Big Planet. And then the most exclusives this fall by far. My 360 has begun to weep gently on the liitle 50", while my PS3 Growls like an animal on the 60" HDTV. I have no desire to wave my hands like an idiot with cute big headed, bad graphic characters who cook, play with ponies, or bowl (by the way, Sony's download of High Velocity Bowling is freakin awesome for $10)

tyler2357
tyler2357

I don't see why MS is saying they are running short on consoles. I have friends that live all over the U.S.A. and they all have said that there were at least 30 360's sitting at their local electronic stores. I have seen the same thing at all the stores where I live. I think MS just wants an excuse for why PS3 is beating them. Nintendo is telling the truth when they say they are running short.

chewygun
chewygun

competition is always good for the consumer

HighlyToxic
HighlyToxic

@ -GAZA- You make a good point. But the argument can go both ways. Without MS to compete with, $ony wouldn't be giving you free internet play. Without MS, $ony wouldn't have dropped the price of the P$3 to $399 so quickly. Competition is good.

Magusi
Magusi

To DZBricktop If you don't have high Hardware sales, you wont have enough of a user base to have high Software sales. So in all, the Hardware sales are very important.

Lord-Viru
Lord-Viru

"death knell for Microsofts Xbox 360"- these people know nothing, if anything the xbox is going from strength to strength, with a larger installed base than all other consoles, apart from ps2, the largest available software collection which will continue to grow with games like fable 2 and gow 2 and of course with the mighty xbox live which beats Playstation Home anyday, i would say that the xbox is far from dead but will fight back and ultimately beat the ps3 into submission

DZBricktop
DZBricktop

You bring up a very good point about the PSP ghost867. I know with the exception to a few titles like Condemned 2 and Vegas 2, im looking forward to more PSP titles this month than anything else.

Itachi11432
Itachi11432

ps3 already outsold xbox 3260 in february go to gametrailers news, the numbers are confirmed there

ghost867
ghost867

In January, the PS3 was still coming off holiday steam, and steam as a Blu-ray player. That's going to increase for February, since HD-DVD died in February. So I wouldn't be surprised if the PS3 did beat out the 360, though it could go either way. I expect it to be close regardless. Also in January, you saw Burnout Paradise on 360 outsell the PS3 version, mostly because of installed base. Though if you take a look at more and more third party games on recently, the ratio continues to get closer and closer to 1:1 on both consoles. Assassin's Creed did well on PS3. Burnout did well on PS3. And it's expected that DMC4 will do well on PS3 as well. I still expect the 360 version to beat the PS3 version, but again, I expect the ratio to be relatively close. Given that the PS3 version of DMC4 is better then the 360 version. Just like Burnout. I would expect Frontlines and Lost Odyssey to be on the top 10 for 360, only because there wasn't much else that month. Both games reviewed decently, but I wouldn't expect either in the top 5. Expect the top five to consist of games like DMC4, Rock Band/Guitar Hero, and garbage like Wii Play. Looking into March, I expect Army of Two to sell well on 360 and PS3, again, leading on 360. Though the game didn't review great, and I wasn't impressed, so I don't think it's deserved. I think God of War will make top 10, but barely, given that PSP software sales aren't good, see: piracy. I'd expect to see MLB 2K8 on either PS2 or 360 just making top 10, but it might slip off. Obviously, I'd expect Brawl to be the number one game of the month, no doubt. Expect it on the top 10 for a couple months. Vegas 2 could do well, or it could flop. People are still playing COD4, and the game has no hype. Crisis Core might hit top 10, though it's a guaranteed top 20, it all depends. As far as hardware, I expect to see PS3 and 360 neck and neck again, with the DS and Wii on top. PSP having a VERY good month with Crisis Core and God of War releasing. Tis my prediction....

DZBricktop
DZBricktop

Does anyone really care about hardware sales? We all SHOULD know, its about software. Hardware sales are only a issue this generation because it the first time that 3 major platforms are so even. The race i look forward to the most is what system sells the most of multiplatform AAA titles. I want to see who sells more copies of GTAIV. It was the same for me with DMC4, i was more interested in seeing which console sold more copies than which company sold more consoles.

-GAZA-
-GAZA-

To all 360 fanboys: Without the PS3 as competition to push the 360, M$ would have a monopoly in the next-gen market. That is something that no one wants. Just look at how they f@*ked Vista up. M$ is now dealing with a class action lawsuit over "vista capable" stickers that were put on laptops that couldn't run the OS efficiently (which they knew before hand they wouldn't work). They also put out the 360 a year early knowing that it would have a high failure rate. Would you buy a new car if the failure rate was 30%? I would highly doubt it. But here you are defending your game console even though they gave you defective hardware. My question is why. Without the PS3 M$ would give us even crappier hardware.

yamier1
yamier1

All I can say is prototype!!!

wiz4ha
wiz4ha

Ah, analysts... one of the only industries (besides being a weatherman) where they can be completely wrong and not have any consequences follow.

CasinoOutlaw247
CasinoOutlaw247

Things will be booming when GTAIV and MSG4 for the PS3 hit...

jusducks6
jusducks6

PS3 won't have a problem winning the year. This month they will with the bundle anouncement Sony said, "Stop buying PS3's"

Makaatsu
Makaatsu

@Loucetios Resistence was ok but not amazing. I have no doubt that the sequel will be better though and of those he listed would be the only one that appeals to me. Naturally you could be there all day pleading how good the lineup to either console will be, PS3 has White Knight, 360 has Left4Dead (valves next game) etc.. etc.. but my point is trying to stay unbiased and be just games fans as that is why we are on this site; the lineup he mentioned just dosen't jump out at me if i wasen't already a PS3 owner. FFXIII i somehow doubt will be in 2008, in fact i'd put money on it being 2009 same as Gran Turismo (which is the game i want the most).

cbmurphy2489
cbmurphy2489

cbmurphy2489 The PS3 and Xbox 360 HD versions are good and all, but I like the PS3's better. No offense, Microsoft.

Loucetios
Loucetios

Makaatsu too human is iffy, i know silicon knights is good but with all their dev problems who knows, Alan Wake seems like a rip off of Alone in the dark, on the ps1, Flash light in the dark to see/hurt enemies? also with the exception of Ninja Gaiden 2, all those games are headed to PC, Huxley and Alan wake are already confirmed, gears 2 will be confirmed, and of course fable 2 will go, so only 2 that are actually only for 360 is too human and ninja gaiden 2

Loucetios
Loucetios

Makaatsu but you neglect games like Resistance 2, where the first game was good, and its made by a very respected developer, theres also Infamous from sucker punch, White Knight Chronicles from the very very very proven Level 5, or Naughty dog's 2nd project(either jak & daxter or uncharted 2), plus theres home, which isn't a game but looks far more appealing than a menu system to the general public, theres also Motorstorm 2, 8 days(now called something else) which was recently shown behind closed doors and that it surpases MGS4 and Kz2 graphics wise, this year there is a game for everybody on the ps3, like stradegy, theres disgaea 3, rpg? White Knight chronicles/FFXIII, action, Infamous, FPS, KZ2, R2, theres just so much, and sony has the best baseball game of the year with MLB 08 the show, it has better reviews than 2k which is the only other alternative

zgreenwell
zgreenwell

I actually bought a game this February. Thats unusual for me. It helps that there were some great games that came out. Lets hope the trend continues.

Makaatsu
Makaatsu

@Soko To be honest mate i don't think that lineup looks impressive. Personally i think Fable2/Ninja Gaiden 2/Gears2/Alan Wake/Huxley/Too Human/Silocon Knights (how do you spell that?) etc.. are a better line up. And they are the ones we know about. Who knows whats going to be announced in next few months? That's not me being a fanboy just i was never into the MGS franchise so MGS4 dosen't really appeal to me. Littlebigplanet looks fun but i think im too old for lego style things sadly. And Killzone 2 i have little if any expectations for mainly because the 1st one wasen't too good.

Makaatsu
Makaatsu

That would mean an increase in sales over January by 360 - increase of 55k PS3 - increase of 1k So that would mean an increase by 24% by 360 and an increase of 0.29% by the PS3. So a month after the death of HD:dvd the 360 still is expected to outsell the PS3. If that actually happens that will be very interesting and would mean generally nobody cares about Blu-Ray as predicted.

Makaatsu
Makaatsu

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Loucetios
Loucetios

thekodaman well i've seen 360 fanboys use it, so i can use it too

FF6fan
FF6fan

I'm really surprised they didn't even mention SSBB kinda the only System seller for me. I believe it will be dead even between the PS3 and 360 until June( i think we all know why). Then the 360 will outsell in november(that is if gears 2 comes out then) and maybe even in April. But other than those its going to be pretty dead even this year unless Haze actually is what Ubisoft is saying it is then all hell will break loose.

Sokol4ever
Sokol4ever

Metal Gear Solid 4 in middle of this year and Resistance 2 with Little Big Planet and Killzone 2 is more then enough understand with a blind eye that PS3 will be the winner of 2008. This are facts, no fanboyism intended. This is the year of PlayStation 3 the next year will be very good battle with more excellent games coming for both systems.

thekodaman
thekodaman

I think the point people are trying to make to you Loucetios is that Vgchartz is too unreliable since they count units shipped (not necessarily being bought by the public) and not units sold.