Analysts split on April game sales

Pacific Crest's Evan Wilson projects a 10% dip in US software revenue; Wedbush's Michael Pachter auguring 2% spike; Splinter Cell: Conviction pegged as month's top title.

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Last month, the industry-tracking NPD Group released its March 2010 US retail figures, showing a 10 percent jump in game sales and marking the industry's first positive month in 2010. That growth could be short lived, as Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson this week released a note to investors predicting a return to double-digit declines in the April software sales figures.

Sam Fisher is taking names and selling games.

"We estimate that sales declined 10 percent year-over-year, to $460 million, due to the shift of Easter gift shopping into March and a lack of high-profile new releases this year (the exception being Splinter Cell) versus last year," Wilson wrote.

The analyst noted that the April 2009 sales figures were boosted by the launches of The Godfather II and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as well as continued strong performances from Resident Evil 5, Pokemon Platinum, and Street Fighter IV. The strength of that lineup was partially hidden by the month's 23 percent software sales decline, a result of being compared to the blockbuster April 2008 launch of Grand Theft Auto IV.

Wilson believes Splinter Cell: Conviction will dominate the April 2010 sales charts, with the Xbox 360 version of the stealth action game racking up 450,000 copies sold for the month. The next biggest new releases in his estimation were Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri and Super Street Fighter IV with 150,000 sold each, and EA's FIFA World Cup 2010 and 2K Games' Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City for the PlayStation 3, each expected to sell 100,000 copies for the month.

Not all analysts are resigned to an April slump. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter also released his NPD predictions, saying he expects software sales to actually be up 2 percent for the month to $520 million. Pachter reasoned that a strong lineup of March releases like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, Final Fantasy XIII and God of War III would continue to sell well, combining with Conviction to push software sales into positive territory.

"While investors may remain skeptical of a return to growth should April end up in negative territory, we are confident that sales will return solidly into positive territory beginning in May," Pachter said. "The May lineup is absolutely spectacular. May titles include Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Alan Wake, Prince of Persia, Lost Planet, Blur, Skate [3], Iron Man 2, Lego Harry Potter and Shrek 4. We think that these titles have the potential to drive sales up at least 25 percent, and our bias is that the month could grow as much as 40-50 percent."

Wilson also expects a big rebound for the month of May, projecting a packed lineup of hit titles to push software sales up 20 percent or more for the month. Unfortunately, the industry will need to wait longer than normal for the good news, as Wilson said an internal NPD system upgrade is expected to delay the release of the May numbers until around July 1.

Discussion

61 comments
midway_nights
midway_nights

god of war 3 was not a blockbuster? its an awesome game.

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

I'm considering being an analyst - it's easy money earned for predicting sales figures. And so what if I'm wrong ???

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

who's this Pacific Crest Securities? never heard of them and they reckon they knows everything. anyway Splinter Cell still have what it takes. got mine and reckon its awesome. can't wait for Split second

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Also Split/Second and ModNation Racers in May....whoop whoop what a month :)

saintsrowCS
saintsrowCS

They should make their predictions at the beginning of the month about sales for that month so if there terrible they won't look as bad, compared to two weeks into the next month and a few days before the sales results "US retail gaming sales tumble 26%"

Franzkill
Franzkill

Splinter Cell is such a gem, haven't stopped playing it next to the Halo Reach Beta. Only quibble is that once you get used to the controls its just way too easy even on Realistic difficulty :(

Sins-of-Mosin
Sins-of-Mosin

Splinter Cell: Conviction was the only big name game to come out last month so I'd be surprised if its not #1.

AlphaWolF_J
AlphaWolF_J

@monson21502 there is nothing wrong with your idea m8 but ive been down that road already twice! and they both ended in failure and all i saw was red if you know what i mean:( ive locked the gate on that path i wont be walking that way again :(

DeMoN_SouL_666
DeMoN_SouL_666

The good news is this month is seeing many great titles, some that could really boost game sales. unfortunately, something the analysts don't put in mind that could really freeze sales is the early bad reviews, games like Lost planet 2 and others that could've been hit titles were given low scores, thus making gamers think twice about the purchase. games and new releases are not living up to their reputation and promotion recently, and that's a disappointment.

njp62
njp62

gamespot should run a monthly feature that lets you guess next months sales . It the average gamespot users guess is closer than the analysts we could put the analysts out of a job

grasshopper6
grasshopper6

Red Dead Redemption should drive sales up, waaaaay up

monson21502
monson21502

these guys could see the sales numbers a day before their report and still get it wrong. thats how bad they are lol

Excedra
Excedra

I enjoyed splinter cell actually, its a pretty enjoyable game, and co-op is a blast. My biggest criticism though is that the controls and mechanics take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, deep down youll find the stealth action masterpiece we all love.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Finally picked up my copy of SC today. So far I like it a lot! I agree with you bleedvideogames, Iron Man 2 looks horrible! It looks like a first gen Xbox game! Unacceptable.

zeonfollower
zeonfollower

Splinter Cell in Co-op mode and Multiplayer? Definitely a must buy.

bleedvideogames
bleedvideogames

tell companies to stop making half ass crap games and over charging for them. make great games thats worth the money and see what happens. cause im sure iron man 2 and kick ass games are gunna go just great. such a waste of games its only for merchandising for the movies, so they rush out crap games

monson21502
monson21502

why are they holding the numbers for may untill july and not june? wow try reading that 3 times fast :lol:

xblane
xblane

@Quezakolt You could just stop reading these articles... it isn't like they tricked you into reading it

slicedbread117
slicedbread117

whatever month Reach releases in (probably in september) will be the highest scoring month :)

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

Please stop posting "analysts" news. everyone is tired of them and we all think they are crooks. on another scale the European Union wanted to try to find out who the "speculators" of the financial markets are, because they are largely responsible for insecurities and unstability. i wholly agree that they are criminals.

nate1222
nate1222

My problem with these "analysts" is: They're wrong so damn much of the time, it makes you wonder what the Hell they're getting paid for! Maybe the gaming industry would have more money if they weren't blowing it on these guys. Good thing I'm more of a DS and PC gamer. Analysts rarely even deal with those platforms. Thank heavens...

grey_fox1984
grey_fox1984

Everyone should own Super Street Fighter IV

toddx77
toddx77

@aGiantSquirrel I know, its basically a kart racing version of little big planet and that game sold over 3 million units.

metalkid9
metalkid9

Tauu is right. Michael "Pac-attack" Patcher IS the man! His show owns!

metalkid9
metalkid9

"2K Games' Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City for the PlayStation 3, each expected to sell 100,000 copies for the month." Are you on crack? not even the 360 version sold that much. I hate these analysts they know s***! It's only fun watching Patcher's show pac-attack cuz he's interesting but these predictions are retarded. Wanna know how much Splinter Cell sold? Wait for the results! It's like as if each person wants to show off how many right ones they predicted. Am I the only one who thinks this is stupid?

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Very true that alot of factors affect game sales. Well I try to do my part :)

Mawfawka
Mawfawka

Also a major factor in today's gaming economy is the length of time it takes to make a AAA title. Lets be honest, if the game sees less than 3 years of dev time its just not up to the increasingly ridiculous standards we as gamers set for ourselves. I got my first nintendo in 1985 so i've been through all the console generations and i can tell you firsthand that what i look for in a game gets more and more strictly laid out every few years. It really does take insane production values for us to feel we wisely spent our hard earned $60.

CHAMPION6171994
CHAMPION6171994

Red Dead Redemption = millions, and don't forget that towards the end of this year we'll have Halo Reach, so what do we have to worry about again?

nevryn
nevryn

@green_dominator You're pretty much dead on. Only problem is, investors listen to them, mainly because they don't know anything about the area either. Totally pisses me off, but the analysts tend to predict something, then invest counter to their prediction as soon as the effects are seen. Now we also have this really annoying computer predictor thing that simply says "oh well the stock was down at this specific point in the past so let's tell everyone it's going to be down again" (called BuyIns). It predicted EA would lose 7% today... guess what, EA lost 5% today. You end up with a total confirmation bias because the people act on the analysts predictions, causing them to come true. It's really pathetic how much control an analyst has over investors.

Mawfawka
Mawfawka

Oh man i pre-ordered Shrek 4 about 6 months ago. The wait is finally over!! .........wtf really? Even the youngest gamers out there know such a bargain bin piece of crap is not worth more than a rental.

UbiquitousAeon
UbiquitousAeon

The GameSpot editors write too much about sales. It almost seems like they are constantly in their headlines.

green_dominator
green_dominator

The major problem with the current state of the industry is these so called experts who probably don't even play the games they talk about and most likely don't even own a videogame system, I'm just guessing really but my point is who gives a flying @#$% what they say or predict??? I think if these analysts were to just shut up maybe business wouldn't be so tainted by early guesses on how a particular game will sell and maybe big publishers would be surprised when numbers start to turn in their favor. What I'm trying to say is let the industry do business in peace, their projections are only hurting sales and business......

PhilipO45
PhilipO45

"Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City for the PlayStation 3, each expected to sell 100,000 copies for the month. " And yet PS3 fanatics said that this belonged on the PS3, yet on the X360 The Lost and Damned alone sold over 2 million copies/downloads, since it's release and the combined two DLC's sold 4 million copies/DL's on the 360, in a bit over a year's time.(TBOGY , 8 months) I guess MS's $50 million to lock down the rights to the DLC's for a 1 yr span, worked out to near perfection, ha? And i personally like the PS3 as i do my X360, but the GTA gamer has moved from the PS2(last gen) to the X360 for this generation. The sales of Red Dead Redemption should be very interesting.

bencarps41192
bencarps41192

Red Dead Redepmtion, thats where I would put my money

Tauu
Tauu

Michael Pachter is the man. Watch his show on Gametrailers.

guitarist1980
guitarist1980

If I had a wii I would buy Mario Galaxy 2.. everyone that I know raves about the first game..but I dont own a wii and never will. So that leaves me with Alan Wake and Red Dead Redemption this month. God of War 3 and FF13 still not finished and still playing alot of Bad Company 2 multi on the pc.. along with the halo reach beta and SC2 beta... I have to cut some genre's away because there are just too many games.

comb5
comb5

Ahhh =( Gamespot removed that crazy guys comment. You guys should have left it, if only for comedic value. lol

JaxxRaxor
JaxxRaxor

I would not be surprised to see April sales fall, I mean in March you had several big blockbuster titles while the games in April were not as big, with the exception of Splinter Cell (which I think will top the April charts due to it being released early in the month than anything else). I'm very happy to see that Monster Hunter Tri will like make the 150k range. That correlates pretty strong to the VChartz numbers. Nice to see a 3rd party hardcore game sell decently on the wii after so many failures. In terms of Super Street Fighter IV, 150k seems kinda low but it was released in the last week of April, had it been released the same time as Splinter Cell it probably would have more like 200-250k. Fighting games are more of niche market compared to the latest Splinter Cell that strives to be assessable, at least among hardcore standards. Oh and I think that May will be big based on Super Mario Galaxy and Red Dead Redemption alone, but you have a lot more other titles this month compared to last month so I do think that May will go up. Too bad about the delay in the release of numbers for this month, I guess I'll be looking at VGChartz for May.

blackace
blackace

Why are these analyst being paid to guess wrong about the gaming market. I think Pachter gets it right maybe 1/4 of the time. I make better analytical guesses then this guy. I predict these guys will be wrong again, yet still get paid their big checks. lol!!

ProggleRock
ProggleRock

@issa3703: Have you ever considered writing poetry?

issa3703
issa3703

look this game splinter cell is good for every thing but its short and boring game

aGiantSquirrel
aGiantSquirrel

What? No Modnation Racers listed in the top May releases. That game should easily sell over a million copies. Well, I guess it does release late in the month. Is that the reason for not including it?

comb5
comb5

I wonder how much more money the industry would have if people like this weren't getting paid to "guess" what they think is going to happen.

Traumerei112
Traumerei112

Check out last year's PS3 sales to the sales of these days .. PS3 is on the rise .

halojp23
halojp23

yea i think u can take lost planet 2 considering the reviews it got

PostedOval
PostedOval

Every gamer I know is excited about Red Dead Redemption. That game is going to sell millions the 1st month. I've never seen so much excitement about a Western style game!

MrBubbles59
MrBubbles59

The only good games coming out this month are Red Dead Redemption and Alan Wake.