January US game software sales down 4%, predicts Pachter

Wedbush analyst foresees holiday holdovers and newcomers Darksiders and Mass Effect 2 as top games; hardware sales pegged as dropping 1%, Wii on top…again.

This Thursday, the NPD Group is expected to issue its report for US game sales for the month of January. As usual, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter has preempted the industry-research firm's date with his company's predictions about last month's performance.

Commander Shepard would like to be paid now.

On the hardware front, the ubiquitous analyst is prognosticating that sales will dip by 1 percent, with 1.975 million consoles and handhelds sold domestically during January. Despite possible post-holiday shortages, the Wii is pegged as the top platform with an estimated 555,000 units sold, followed by the DS with 525,000 units. Pachter predicts that 340,000 Xbox 360s were sold, just beating out the PlayStation 3's 330,000-unit total. The PSP is slotted for fifth place with 150,000 units, followed by the aging PlayStation 2 with just 75,000 units.

In terms of software, Pachter predicts $655 million in domestic game sales, down 4 percent year-over-year from January 2009's $683 million. The analyst partially pinned the blame for the year-on-year decline on ongoing shrinkage of the rhythm-game genre.

"We expect another precipitous decline in music genre sales to around $45 million compared to $82 million last January," he said. "The expected decline should account for more than 100 percent of the overall industry decline for the month."

Pachter believes that three-quarters of January software revenue--some $491 million to be exact--came from just six publishers. Thanks to Mass Effect 2's double-platinum performance, he expects loss-plagued Electronic Arts to come out on top with $165 million in monthly game sales, followed by cash-flush Nintendo with $145 million. Activision Blizzard is predicted to be in third place with $80 million, followed by THQ with $45 million, Ubisoft with $35 million, and Take-Two Interactive with $21 million.

By platform, the analyst believes Wii games accounted for 37 percent of all January software sales, or $240 million. Xbox 360 games are pegged as the second-most popular with $170 million in sales (26 percent), followed by the PlayStation 3 ($115 million, 18 percent), the DS ($95 million, 15 percent), the PSP ($20 million, 3 percent), and the PlayStation 2 ($15 million, 2 percent).

Given that both Darksiders and Mass Effect 2 have already gone platinum worldwide--shipping 1.2 million and selling over 2 million, respectively--it's no surprise that Pachter believes they will be amongst January's top titles in the US. However, he thinks the rest of the month's best sellers will be holiday holdovers, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Wii Fit Plus, and Wii Sports Resort.

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Discussion

31 comments
SteveQ_basic
SteveQ_basic

@ Savvy30039 I agree, I never understood why ppl liked the rhythm games that much.

wiidsduelpack
wiidsduelpack

At least two years till the release of the Wii 2. The best games of the Wii are coming till summer and its already beating Sony and Microsoft. Incredible.

TBoogy
TBoogy

Sony is in real trouble (in U.S. sales) if the 360 can keep up (and even win sometimes) with the PS3 at the same price, despite the fact that Sony's machine offers more "bang for the buck".

TheArcade
TheArcade

Lovin' that Mass Effect 2!!!

slyfox_28
slyfox_28

Yeah, i'm with you on that as well Dualmask. I have both Ps3 and Wii and the Wii pretty much gets the most play by me and my. Not that the PS3 don't either, but usually after I complete a game on PS3 its back to the Wii again. However, I'm currently working on Demon Souls.

gshell
gshell

dayum....darksiders did better than bayonetta?....ok...i may have to give that game a try

shadowysea07
shadowysea07

wow darksiders did alot better than i thought it would for a new ip. as for mass effect saw it coming with the billions of adds all over tv and the internet. bamco could learn a thing or two from them. its weird that not a single comercial has aired for ff13 yet when it comes out next month. you'd think they'be be advertising like they did for dissidia or days?

mad_gamer23
mad_gamer23

the wii is tailored for a totally different demographic than the PS3 or X360. Namely, the most general one.

Dualmask
Dualmask

My Wii is my primary game system. I love it and play it quite often. My PS3 is secondary, but it gets some attention too (more for the movies than the movie-like games though). But I'm glad I bought both, and I'm glad all the consoles are doing well enough to continue.

mayceV
mayceV

patcher? GUYS if patcher said it that means the oppisite will happen!!!! sales up 40% :P

gwailo2470
gwailo2470

People have less money to spend after Christmas and before tax season? No way. I'm glad someone is out there getting paid to analyze the obvious.

drankin06
drankin06

Yeah I only play certain games on the we No More Heroes, Madworld etc I never found myself wanting to play Wii Fit or any of there cash in's such as the Wii Zapper can you say fail

DEATH775
DEATH775

A lot of peope is still buying the Wii. For me personally, th PS3 and XBOX 360 is better.

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

Well, Pachter's usually full of crap, especially compared to Jesse Divnich--I think maybe you could call it the difference between an analyst who looks at the game industry and a gamer who happens to be an analyst. I think he might be right about rhythm games dragging down growth, though. On the other hand, this past January was overloaded with quality titles so I really hope he's wrong, and the prospect of Wii selling that well with no decent titles having coming out in a really long time depresses me.

Onetwoindo
Onetwoindo

agree why everybody still buying wii..old graphic,d\childish game...i dont know whats in people mind???but still apreciate the innovative gameplay

KillbombX
KillbombX

I just hope developers stop making hardcore games as Wii exclusives after the disappointing sales. If there is another No More Heroes, I would really like to play it on a system with solid controls and graphics. Leave the Wii to the casuals with their Wii Fit and Wii Sports.

monson21502
monson21502

i dont see why people are still buying wiis.hoping this year is the last year its wins every month in sales. i bought one in early 07 sold it in late 08 and dont miss it one bit. and i have never sold any of my systems i bought, dating way back to nes and sega master system. nintendo wii is by far the worst system i ever bought. i get shocked everytime i see how well it sells each month lol

aGiantSquirrel
aGiantSquirrel

@monson21502 My updates on my PS3 never take long at all. knock on wood...lol. But check with your internet provider, check your connection, upgrade plans, something, having to keep your PS3 online all night for an update, thats awful.

nofriekinlemons
nofriekinlemons

well all things considered its not all that bad, well atleast not bad compared to what we usually hear

ffviiifreak
ffviiifreak

I think he could be wrong on this one but he has and will definitely be right on other things just not this one.

MassMayham57_
MassMayham57_

his numbers are going to be way off for sure. with hardware atleast

monson21502
monson21502

i bought a ps3. not sure if buying a ps3 on amazon will count in those numbers. but i really dont care because its hard to beat free shipping and no tax. i havent got to play a ps3 in over 4 months since my 60 gig died. after owning my new slim for a week or so now. i really forgot how much waiting is involved when playing a ps3..... almost every game has installs,updates, online updates, installs on demos and psn games even after you download them.plus it has slow loading in most of the games. installs are slow. and the online updates to play online are slow. i tried to play one of my old games hotshots golf online and it had over 100 updates i had to install to be able to play online. i left my ps3 on all nite to download them and it still wasnt done when i woke up !!!.

Savvy30039
Savvy30039

This January was a great month for gaming. Did rhythm games seriously have that much influence on sales figures? Because that's just kinda sad...

Pokemon18986
Pokemon18986

Bioware made an amazing game with Mass Efect 2. Good move by EA Games.

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

The smartest thing EA did was acquire Bioware. If they give Bioware enough resources and give Bioware the marketing they deserve they may be able to carry EA.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Really? There were really no noteworthy titles released January last year, just checked the release chart for then, and this year's January we have Bayonetta, Darksiders, Army of Two 40th Day, and Mass Effect 2, as well as TvC and NMH2 releasing as well as MAG, I figured January sales would have been up... unless this is Pachter being an effing idiot like always, making outrageous and wrong predictions like always, speaking out of his ass like always, and GameSpot regurgitating the crap he spoon feeds them like always; why GS, why?

ChAoS_UNLEASHD
ChAoS_UNLEASHD

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