September sales spike could be short-lived - Analyst

Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson says October will likely see a return to shrinking revenues, projects Guitar Hero 5 outsold Beatles: Rock Band in debut month.

US retailers have seen six straight months of declining game software revenues, but analysts are largely in agreement that the streak will be broken this week, as the NPD Group is set to release September sales figures for the industry this Thursday. In a note to investors today, Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson expected those sales to be up 10 percent for the month, but he added that the gains may be short-lived.

Why settle for one band when you can have 83?

"October will likely return to a modest year-over-year decline," Wilson wrote. "After an initial round of checks for October's NPD data, we expect a small year-over-year decline."

He cited the shifting of music games like Guitar Hero away from the late October launch of previous installments and into September as one major factor in his estimate. Despite that, he acknowledged a handful of expected October hits like Uncharted 2, Wii Fit Plus, Forza 3, and DJ Hero as titles that should mitigate the shifting of Guitar Hero to September and keep any downturn in sales from being too large. Wilson said even with a shrinking October, growth for the full fourth quarter is possible. But with the abundance of games delayed into early 2010, he expects growth to really pick up in the first quarter of next year.

Getting back to September sales, Wilson weighed in on a topic already discussed by his fellow analysts, the sales of Guitar Hero 5 versus those of The Beatles: Rock Band. While his counterparts at Wedbush Morgan Securities and Electronic Entertainment Design and Research had The Beatles solidly outselling Guitar Hero 5 for the month, Wilson expected a little more from Activision's flagship rhythm franchise and a lot less from the Fab Four. Wilson estimates that Guitar Hero 5 sold 850,000 copies in September, compared to The Beatles: Rock Band's 650,000.

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150 comments
SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

I agree natron557, but I think the only reason it got that way with these games is the far-too-often updates packaged with a full peripheral re-vamp that doesn't quite "force" you to buy new instruments, but inevitably introduces new things that are exclusive to the new packaged instrument so you feel obliged to get the whole deal.... if only they had staggered them, or implemented more improvements via some DLC instead of such frighteningly quick sequels, maybe most of us wouldn't feel that way... GH5 will be the last one I buy with a peripheral... I may buy the other sequels game only, but can't see me getting any more peripherals with it now.

natron557
natron557

No surprises here. Summer is not video game release season. Fall is video game release season. Though i dont think i would put alot of stock in the djHero and new music games doing as well as they did in the past couple years, those games were basically a fad that is on its way out.

lazy_trash
lazy_trash

@malcorn2 Weather people and analysts use examples, studies, and logic to make predictions. Weather analysis is significantly more random than economy analysis. Analysts follow trends in the economy, countless statistics, and common sense. Seriously, what is coming out in october that is going to bring a surplus? Brutal legend and borderlands you might say, which are (or probably are) great games, but think about it: What does the average joe gamer play? Call of duty, halo, and rhythm games. What isn't coming out this month, but rather came out in september? Rhythm games and odst. What is coming out in november? dragons age, left 4 dead 2 and modern warfare 2. What came out in october? some great games, but not what everyone is after.

lazy_trash
lazy_trash

Maybe if the games coming out were a little more original, people might be buying them. How many "tactical" shooters do we need? What about crappy movie tie-ins? oh, more rhythm games? that are all the same except for different songs? Who the hell is going to pay 60$ for pretty much the same game with a different set of songs? the beatles rockband looks original, but its leading the pack in a sea of guitar hero. I haven't bought a new game since prototype, because I'm getting sick of first person shooters and rhythm games... with the exception that I will be buying borderlands next week. What happened to the good role playing games? What happened to the good puzzle games? strategy? am I seriously just stuck playing Civ Revolution and red alert 3, and that's it? Here's a thought, someone make a sidescroller, aside from shadow complex, with respawn points that are actually placed well.

malcorn2
malcorn2

those analyst are like the weather man.... they can say anything that day cause it doesnt matter wether they are wrong or not. This analyst is nothing more then a doubt and despair talker. If we listened to everything they said, there would be nothing getting done in this country/world. I mean a tornado COULD sweep my house down. However It doesn't stop me from going outside on a daily basis... im just tired of these analysts casting doubt and fear on the nation and on the world. they act like they have all the anwsers and that their suit and tie/or dresses (if they are a woman) gives them some sort of forsight or something. Whatever games you see you want buy them. That goes for all things too. Forget these so called experts. After all the "experts" built the titanic.

Tizn0w
Tizn0w

I wonder who will be right in the great "Who sold more copies in September, The Beatles: Rock Band or Guitar Hero 5?" debate, when official numbers are disclosed

sj_nehama
sj_nehama

but you know, i gotta apply for a "financial analyst" job. Really, there cant be any simpler and easier job out there.. Even predicting the next 5 minutes' weather by just looking up to the sky is more challenging than this.

sj_nehama
sj_nehama

@ Bashers79 Ok man. you have your $0.02 of reason.

Bashers79
Bashers79

@sj_nehama you completely missed the point of my comment, whether uncharted 2 is good or not wasn't the issue I was raising. The fact that some biased Sony fan boy thinks he can tell me that its the best thing since sliced bread, with out even playing the full version, is the issue. To then go on to tell me that I have to buy it is just to much for me to stomach. I'll play the game, then make my own mind up on whether it's good or not.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

No mention of Borderlands? That'll boost October sales for sure.

brian_13un
brian_13un

I think the sales will be boosted by hit titles ^_^

shawn7324
shawn7324

I should help out the results for October as before the month is over I will have purchased Demon's Souls (PS3), Operation Flashpoint 2 (PC), Brutal Legend (360), Uncharted 2 (PS3), Borderlands (360), & Battlefield Bad Company (360)

Darkmoone1
Darkmoone1

Can't spell Analysts without ANAL.

Inconnux
Inconnux

I believe it was fortune magazine that threw darts at a list of stocks and tracked their performance... this 'dart board' fund outperformed most financial analysts picks. Financial analysts have the same credibility as fortune tellers.

dynomitemasta
dynomitemasta

Ya know these dopey analysts are with the wind... they change their minds every week. I trust most gamers I talk to online more than I trust their opinion, and the gamers seem to be right more often.

ropumar
ropumar

@americansolsrfr MW2 to get goty? LOL, they didn't even gave goty for MW that everybody loved when came out. Face it, chances are Uncharted 2 will get. Unless bordelands or assassin creed really surprises.

gr8drummer
gr8drummer

people do care about money predicting if they have invested in gaming companies. people like me dont care about a slow decline in revenue unless it starts affected the quality of games being produced. if i were able i think rite now would be a great time to invest cuz the industry is bound to make a turn for the better

UnknownForm
UnknownForm

Hopefully, Uncharted 2, Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 2, and Brutal Legend, will boost these sales.

HerbalVideogame
HerbalVideogame

It's no surprise that videogame sales are down this time of year. There weren't any huge longtime franchise releases this year in the summer, and no one is generally putting out anything new. Yay, another Rockband, while I love the Beatles, they're decades old. Yay, another Guitar Hero. The gameplay in the new versions isn't enough to warrant anything special, and the sequels are even more irrelevant since you can download new songs everyday. Batman was really the only big game released this summer. Microsoft's entire gaming philosophy is nothing new. It's a copy of a copy of a copy. They will never be able to release a slim line due to the very personal computer nature of their console. They would have to re-write everything. So again we'll see them emerge first with a new console that will be dated by the next. Paper weights anyone? Anyone? Fry? Frrryyy?

Waldkrieger
Waldkrieger

No one will stop making video games, so whats the point doing this study? Really, who cares. My PS3 and X360 Elite get used all the time, and will continue. A lot of good games coming out. No need to waste time and money predicting and doing polls.

americansolsrfr
americansolsrfr

@ popplayer22 im pretty sure it wont. My guess would be COD:MW2 or assassins creed:2 toget GOTY.

Spiritwolf99
Spiritwolf99

'Cause no good games come out 'til this time of year the sales drop... For the 360 anyway.

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

just two more days till uncharted2 comes out here.

Trogeton
Trogeton

I guess the truth hurts.. alot of people didn't like my last post... HA HAHAHA still Guitar hero owns this is the 2nd proof.. since rb2 guitar outsells yet AGAIN don't hate, congratulate

ThisNameIsDumb
ThisNameIsDumb

@SalarianChemist uncharted 2 is getting top selling game :) eat it salarian! =P

JakeYourself
JakeYourself

@TheArcade i think microsoft dropped the price of the elite version to 299$. not 100% sure.

TheArcade
TheArcade

I expect the PS3 slim to outsell the competition. I'm no Sony fan but they DID have a huge price cut and reported a million units sold shortly after that. It's so obvious, I can give credit where is due, a balanced opinion says Sony wins this period. Now will Microsoft counter with a relevant price drop of their own on the mid-tier Xbox 360 Pro? I don't know. They should if they don't want Sony to take back their marketshare. Perhaps they can afford it perhaps they cannot. Before anyone replies to this post I only own a 360.

mutual-assassin
mutual-assassin

Hurray! for games sales increasing. Boo! for analysts making unnecessarily idiotic predictions.

-Beatz-
-Beatz-

Guitar Hero 5 outsold Beatles: Rock Band...this is so last installment. Activision always says the Guitar Hero games outsell the Rock Band games, and how much of that is truth?

popplayer22
popplayer22

I got Uncharted 2 yesterday, and if doesn't get game of the year, then I will be really really suprised...and I'm not even halfway through the game yet...it's THAT GOOD

Gorilla97
Gorilla97

UC2 makes me want a PS3. unfortunately, with all the X360 releases coming out and having to buy christmas gifts, i'm too broke to invest in a PS3 and it's games at the moment. but maybe someday.

TripSe7en
TripSe7en

@ ZedX-14Pilot: I agree, I have become a much more conservative shopper as well. I normally don't buy games until after I read the reviews. And for me, to justify the price, I usually like to have a multiplayer element in the game to give it some replay value. That is the sole reason I didn't buy Batman AA. It is hard to justify spending $60 on a game that only has a single player mode that offers 6-12 hours of raw value since games are never quite as fun on the second run, although I will be buying AC2 because it looks amazing. And I think my opinion on this topic is why Bioshock 2 got delayed and a MP element tacked on at the last minute.

Poppy425
Poppy425

I predict that brainless analysts will continue to make stupid predictions and STILL get paid to do it.

ZedX-14Pilot
ZedX-14Pilot

Well said TripSe7en. I make a decent living, but my budget for games is probably half of what it was the last 3 or 4 years or so. It is sad that such a great lineup will probably not sell the way they would have had they been released a year or two ago. I just bought 5 games this month, and I might get a a couple more at Christmas, but I probably won't see anymore til my next birthday. But then again, there are only a handful of games left yet to be released that I feel are worth my hard earned money at the moment. I am definitely a wiser shopper now than even just a year ago, and will be paying closer attention to reviews BEFORE purchasing games anymore. I just bought a few that will probably keep me busy for quite some time.

TripSe7en
TripSe7en

@ mariostar0001 But what you aren't paying attention to is the economy. Yes there are a TON of great games coming out this season, but this season unlike past ones, is seeing a lot of good people deliberating if they a) get a new video game b) put food on the table c) make their mortgage payment or d) spend money on other family needs. It is sad that this season is one of the most hyped in the last decade, but that is why we have seen so many A+ games being delayed until next year. I understand why the analysts are expecting low numbers; gamers never like to pick and choose, we have always found ways to get ALL the games we wanted, but it is down to "picking and choosing" this year, and as a whole, it is really sad...

_Elric_
_Elric_

Analysts who are not plugged in to the game culture don't really get it. They get fixated on something putting up big numbers like music games and expect them to trend upward forever. Rock Band/GH are starting to burn out but other things are going to take their place. GH was always faddish. Just like DDR and SF2/MK in the 90s. They probably moved to September to not have to compete with COD:MW2

mariostar0001
mariostar0001

Who asked him? The gaming economy has several titles coming out now, towards the end of the year. This may be the biggest time all year as manufacturers decided to wait until the end for big titles. This week alone has seen a good six to ten titles that will sell big numbers.

TripSe7en
TripSe7en

@ Exactlamento: I understand where you are coming from. I should have wrote $60 of discretionary income. I was in your shoes back when I was young and then when I was in college and even a year back, but for me my job (real estate consulting) has been treating me better lately, as well as most of my peers (fortunatley). This economy will correct itself, as it is already starting to, so be patient, but IMO, if you are going to get a game soon, I do think that U2 is a game worth spending your money on without feeling any regret.

_Elric_
_Elric_

With the holiday line up starting to rev up in October and the amazing releases coming out this month, I seriously question the likelihood of this prediction being correct! It's amazing how clued out someone who's job it is to be plugged in can be...

deadline
deadline

I'm doing my best to keep those October revenues high...already I've bought Demon's Souls and Brutal Legend, and I've got my eye on Borderlands next week. And all those glowing reviews of Uncharted 2 certainly have my attention...

daabulls23
daabulls23

I predict awesome sales with awesome games.

StarvingPoet
StarvingPoet

As a gamer who spends all his free time with gamers - I haven't seen this much excitement for a slew of releases in years. Uncharted 2, Demon's Souls, MW2, GoW3, and Borderlands. People are excited for this lineup and they're re-igniting their gaming passions after such a long dry-spell.

TWiSTEDmerc
TWiSTEDmerc

Well I don't expect any of 2009's remaining months to have small sales. There's so many games that are getting huge praise that I don't think there's enough gamers to facilitate the slew of recommendable titles. I'll get likely 5 games from now till this year's end and that will keep me very busy. But there's more awesome games that I still won't have time for. Furthermore, our wallets are gonna be pretty sore from buying all these games and then there will be even more coming early next year. In other words, there's too many games for this market; somebodies gonna get some very upsetting sale figures.

xboxfreak1
xboxfreak1

okassar, I will agree with most of the things that you say 1. activision-blizzard does like money and that's not a bad thing 2. they do tend to make awesome game...but I would just like to clarify that at least for me, and I know with other people, the problem with activision is their CEO, Bobby Kotick, has come out and said horrible things like "I am proud of the fact that since I have become CEO, people fear for their jobs and have taken the creativity out of developing games - streamlining it ONLY for profit motives". That is the problem as I see it and I will show my support for boycotting Activision by waiting a few days to buy MW2 used. Anyways, I'm not bashing anyone, but that is how I see it.

Inconnux
Inconnux

business analysts are a joke... remember how they all ranted and raved about how great Enron was a year before the company collapsed? It doesn't take a genius to see that in a down economy, games costing $60 aren't going to sell like they did in a booming economy. Personally I'm not into music games, but uncharted looks like it is going to be decent... as for MW2... well if they don't fix the blatant problems that are still unfixed in CoD4 I know I won't be bothering with it.

okassar
okassar

taylormadederek,what kind of ignorant take on a game company is that! Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is going to PWN epically, should I not buy it because it is from Activision-Blizzard? NO! I hate it when people go like "ew,ew I hate big companies that like money!they shouldn't like money!wwwaaaaaaa." God,just buy the game if it's good,don't if it's bad,Activision-Blizzard tends to make good games so I trust them thusfar.

Exactlamento
Exactlamento

Okay unrelated comment... you kno how someone posts a comment and if it gets enough thumbs downs that it gets hidden... If you make a comment that doesn't conform to ppl's belief it gets chopped, isn't that a bit...i don't kno...unethical I mean i love those ignorant comments, and sometimes they make a damn good point... rant over (should've did this in a forum)