12 percent August game growth predicted

Wedbush Morgan Securities analysts believe the dog days of summer yielded $445 million in software sales, with 420,000 Wiis sold.

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Though the August sales estimates from the NPD Group aren't expected until next week, analysts are already starting to weigh in with their own prognostications. First out of the gate are Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter and Edward Woo, who believe August was a good--but not great--month for non-PC game software sales.

After performing a battery of retail sales channel checks, the pair "expect August sales of $445 million (up 12 percent compared to August 2006’s $399 million)." Of that, the pair estimate $135 million was what they term "current generation" software--that is, the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance. Some $310 million was for "next-generation software"--that is, the DS, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Portable. Of the latter group, it's estimated $115 million of PS3 and Wii software sales were sold during the month, up from $104 million in July.

Pointing out the obvious, Woo and Pachter say August's biggest game was the multiplatform juggernaut Madden NFL 08 (PS2, PS3, Xbox, 360, GC, DS, PSP, PC, Wii). Another EA Sports title, NCAA Football 08 (PS3, 360, PS2, Xbox) also sold well, as did 2K Games' BioShock (360) and the long-awaited Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii) from Nintendo. Woo and Pachter also think the Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s (PS2) expansion kept cash registers ringing throughout the month.

As far as hardware goes, Wedbush expects 360 sales to increase by 100,000 units from its 179,000 July tally as a result of the August price cut. The firm also sees Wii and PS3 sales dipping slightly from their July high marks.

Wedbush hardware estimates for August:

Wii 420,000
DS 400,000
Xbox 360 240,000
PS2 225,000
PSP 210,000
PS3 150,000
GBA 75,000

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