Analysts expect April sales surge

Grand Theft Auto IV launch projected to spike retail software numbers; Sebastian pegs growth of at least 70 percent, Pachter predicts whopping 113 percent.

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It's not uncommon for industry analysts to disagree when it comes to monthly NPD predictions, but they're usually in the same ballpark. However, when assessing numbers on the scale of the blockbuster release of Grand Theft Auto IV, those small disagreements get amplified.

Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian and Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter have released their NPD predictions in investors' notes this week, and the pair's growth prognostications vary by 43 percent. While Sebastian predicted software sales growth of "at least" a sky-high 70 percent, Pachter projected growth of 113 percent.

Both analysts noted the obvious Grand Theft Auto IV as the primary sales driver, as well as Mario Kart for the Wii. Pachter also pointed to the two new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games on the DS as strong performers in the new release category, while Sebastian expected the PlayStation 3 retail-or-downloadable racer Gran Turismo 5: Prologue to turn out a strong performance in stores.

The strength of Grand Theft Auto IV wasn't the only topic on which the pair agreed. Both analysts also expected dueling rhythm games Guitar Hero III and Rock Band to continue lighting up the sales charts. On top of that, Sebastian said the next few months looked promising for the industry, but added that growth comparisons will get more difficult later in the year. Pachter likewise warned investors to expect more modest growth levels later in the year.

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