Madden launch not expected to prevent sixth straight month of slumping software sales; Pachter predicts Wii price cut by November, industry-watchers split on impact of PS3 price drop.
On Thursday, the NPD Group is set to release its US retail sales figures for August, and analysts are expecting the results to cap off a full half-year of declines for the gaming industry. A quartet of analysts have released investor notes with expectations for the NPD numbers, agreeing that software sales for the month will be down by double-digit percentages.
Janco Partners' Mike Hickey was the most optimistic of the analysts, expecting a decline of just over 10 percent for the month. Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson came in at the lower end of expectations, projecting software sales slumping 16 percent year-over-year. Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter and Electronic Entertainment Design and Research's Jesse Divnich each weighed in with predictions of game sales down 14 percent from August of 2008.
Much of the August total rests on the performance of Electronic Arts' Madden NFL 10, which was not expected to live up to last year's sales figures. Wilson projected 2.1 million copies sold across all platforms, down from Madden NFL 09's August tally of 2.3 million. Pachter was more conservative, expecting the game to muster sales of just 1.95 million, while Divnich's prediction was roughly in line with Wilson's. As for why the football sim would be down year-over-year, Divnich pointed to the absence of a DS version, special editions, and a PSP hardware bundle, all of which were present for last year's Madden.
With Madden atop the charts, other expected best-sellers include Batman: Arkham Asylum (see below), with Divnich putting Dissidia: Final Fantasy in his top 10 and Pachter name-dropping G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Wolfenstein as significant contributors for the month. Divnich called out Batman specifically, saying the PlayStation 3-exclusive Joker content should shift the usual sales ratio of multiplatform games. Where Divnich said the Xbox 360 edition of a game typically comes close to doubling the sales of its PS3 counterpart, he expects the Xbox 360 version of Batman to hold a much slimmer 52 percent to 48 percent sales advantage.
That won't be the only figure of note for PS3 followers in the August NPD numbers. With Sony announcing the PS3 Slim and a price cut for older versions of the system in August, the hardware sales figures will draw plenty of attention. Interestingly, analysts were split on the instant impact of the Slim announcement and price drop.
Hickey projected PS3 sales to receive a significant bump, reaching 241,000 last month compared to 185,000 in August of 2008. Pachter and Divnich were less optimistic, projecting PS3 sales of 160,000 and 140,000, respectively. Divnich told GameSpot he wouldn't be surprised if his estimate proves to be too low, saying it was published for his clients on August 17, when news of the cut had been leaked but before Sony had officially announced it.
"Without the price cut, the PlayStation 3 was on track to sell 108,000 units for August," Divnich said. "We assumed an additional 32,000 units sold due to the price cut. However, given that the price cut was immediate and some PlayStation 3 Slims hit shelves earlier than expected, it is entirely possible that an additional 60,000 units were sold between the announcement and the end of the retail month, putting sales closer to 170,000 units than 140,000."
Sony's PS3 price cut was followed late in the month by Microsoft with the new $299 point for the Xbox 360 Elite, and Pachter expects the cascading cost reductions to continue. In his note, the analyst reiterated his expectations that Nintendo's still-$249 Wii would soon receive its first price drop, saying he expects such a cut by November.
Despite the tempered near-term expectations, there were glimmers of hope in the analyst notes. Wilson, Pachter, and Divnich all predicted that gaming software sales would return to positive territory in September.
"In September, we expect new releases, The Beatles: Rock Band, Halo ODST, Need for Speed: Shift, Guitar Hero 5, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 to drive sales growth into double-digit positive territory," Pachter wrote.
@Muteki Just stick with what makes nintendo unique, Links sword and all that. Nintendo cant make a shooter for crap, but they definitely got some great cartoon games.
flaming poop, poop on fire, lots of turds, turds on fire, wrote a poem, a poem for poo, dripping turds, sticky goo
too be honest i hate these freakin analysts there jobs are so easy most their calls are freakin common sense man easiest job in the world lol
@pureskull123 ...and Wii gamers armed with, um, fit-boards and bowling balls *sigh* man it's hard to be a Nintendo fan sometimes...
i don't know how these guys come up with their predictions. hahaha i wonder if i throw some numbers out there i could get the job title and get paid the same amount of money? haha
PS3 fanboys armed with M82s and whatever the weapons are in MGS4, xbox 360 fanboys armed with lancers and plasma grenades, Console wars rage on.
i dont get why the games industry seems to think it should be immune to the effects of the recession its really simple, people dont have as much money as they did last year so they arent buying as many games, as they did last year, why do the so called experts not understand this?
It's simple, the whole economy in general is bad. More and more people are losing their jobs, money is becoming a lot tighter, gamers who don't live in their parents basement are having to cut back and be much more selective with what games they purchase and/or wait until they come way down in price. $59 for a game is a lot harder to swallow now; retaillers and game developers just don't seem to get it.
10-14% sales slide, I wonder why. Maybe because one solid game was released that month? I guess Madden came out too.
Why do I smell gas reading the news??....Oh, it's a PS3 VS 360 flame war over others opinions AGAIN!!!
@scarface dm Yes the best selling home console should drop its price that will fix the slumps of the X360 and PS3 sales. You are very cleaver. -_-;
I wonder how much the wii will get dropped by? if i consider the fact that it's Nintendo, the dated hardware/graphics and if I also consider the highly anticipated games coming out for it we can expect to see it drop by 50$(though I hope it drops by 75$)
i dont agrre with you guys first of all to gamer wut do u mean nothing good hit in august obviosly batman hit and sold well im no fanboy for any system because i own a 360 and a wii and i want a ps3 but all the systems have their pros and cons and unfortunately right now the pos3 has more cons game wise but not system wise .. yes there are some good games but not as much as the 360 right now.
@ all PS3 paranoids: Get over it ... we all know Lee Harvey Oswald owned a PS3 and JFK loved his 360 ... and by the bushes over the grassy knoll lies the Wii in all its ivory innocence (but perhaps not). Your paranoia would be laughable if it wasn't so moronic ... and no I am not a fanboy of any particular system ... I have all three, but I'm really beginning to wonder that there are a lot more childish PS3 owners than the other two consoles.
@ gamer082009 You;re obviously a xbox360 fanboy so i would understand why most ps3 news is not interesting to you...judging by your comment you seem like an analyst....like someone said analyst=opinion=i dont care.
People saying GameSpot is biased in favor of 360 need to realize that they are into ALL gaming and play ALL systems. I think they fairly represent all systems to the best of their ability. Maybe people should think about the fact that most stuff PS3 related is not that interesting so that's not GameSpots fault, that's Sony's fault. The most the PS3's been pushin lately is dust. Now that the price cut has hit, they need games. That said, nothing major hit in August that I can think of so why would sales be better than expected!
@Gordfacekiller @syconox @taliff this site is pro xbox and you're right about going straight to xbox version of most games. Biased against Wii and PS3, Apparently way back, GameSpot fired employees (remember i said APPARENTLY) for "informing" the gamespot community that GameSpot is biased against the PS3 from obvious evidence. (gamespot is now going to send someone to kill me) Interesting about DLC for Batman Arkham Asylum, just one free DLC and X360 fanboys complain like hell. PS3ers, not bad, hardly saw a recent complain about GTA4 expansions. Also interesting, that a piece of news turns into a console war.
Cagefury I suppose your a PC fanboy? Do you even realize how much a decent PC costs? Others do, that's why people prefer consoles, cheaper stuff and you get good games across all three. Don't try to say PC games are any better 'cause I'll just call your bluff, I said it before and I'll say it again, Limbo of The Lost was a PC exclusive...
Sales will probably start to pick up with summer coming to a close. September has a strong lineup of games and the recent price drops in the hardware.
Wow talk about a waste of time i read something that everyone should know not dip sales would increase after price drops and new hardware and i want to know facts not ur opinions so next time do research and give me the facts were gamers not readers
@scarface dm. I wish I knew what you were talking about. I feel that this website is very pro-microsoft. In fact, almost every multi-platform game goes straight to the Xbox area. I feel like I am being forced to look at microsoft stuff.
Both the xbox360 and ps3 offer good things to consumers...better then the wii. But im happy that the ps3 finally gets exclusive content before the xbox360 though. In my opinion analysts are paid to make logical guesses, anyone here on gamespot can do that. Why do analysts even exist??
Not so sure about these numbers. I was expecting at least a 200-300k bump in sales for the PS3. Maybe the cows got me all worked up for nothing?
This isn't news. Some guy predicting PS3 sales will go up due to a price drop isn't news. Some guy predicting Batman on PS3 will sale better than typical PS3 games isn't news. It's common effin' sense. Gamespot, stop giving analysts a reason to have a job. Their jobs are pointless. It ought to be volunteer work. Gamespot, do you assume your members are so stupid that they need to be told what they already know?
i love how MS gets all this big deal exclusive DLCs for multiplat games and then one little level comes out for PS3 and everyone throws a fit......i have three words for you.....get over it
Javieralijando, what are you talking about? How is Joker at all the same? He has is weaker, has his own animations, his own gadgets, and the biggest thing during Invisible Predator challenges, he lacks the grapple ability, and therefore, cannot survey the area. That, and you cannot be moving to use his glasses.
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