Analyst sees solid September stats

Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter expects September 2006 sales tally to exceed last year's figures by nearly 20 percent.


The steady stream of double-digit year-over-year percentage increases in US software sales will continue through September, according to Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter. After June, July, and August all ended with annual percentage increases in the high teens, Pachter expects September figures to be up 19.6 percent over the figures for the same month a year ago.

In a memo released today, the analyst said he expects console software sales in the US to tally $415 million for the month, a figure that roughly matches up with Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson's overview, which he issued last week. Wilson predicted an increase of $412 million in sales, or 19 percent over 2005. The industry-tracking NPD Group's numbers for the month are expected to be released later this week.

Like Wilson, Pachter expects September revenue totals to rest on two new releases: THQ's Saint's Row and LucasArts' Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. He said the fresh-faced pair will share the spotlight with steadfast EA Sports titles NBA Live 07 and the ever-popular Madden NFL 07. According to Pachter, 10 games will move more than the 100,000 units for the month of September, a significant increase over the seven that topped that figure during the same month last year.

According to Pachter's report, $168 million of the predicted $415 million total revenue for the month will come from new platforms (Xbox 360, PSP, Nintendo DS), a sector of the industry that has shown year-over-year growth of $130 million. Sales of previous-generation software, however, are on the decline; Pachter expects sales for the aging consoles to be down 20 percent from September 2005, bringing in $247 million last month.

In Pachter's view, the overall picture for the industry is stable and, in fact, fairly healthy. The new arrival of the PS3 and the Wii will help fuel the industry's growth, with Pachter expecting the pair to bring in $432 million in software sales from their respective launch dates through the end of the year. For the full year, he expects overall game sales in the US to be up 4 percent over 2005. The full-year growth was one point where Pachter and Wilson diverged, with the latter analyst revising his growth expectations from 3.7 percent to 9.6 percent.

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