Analysts expect modest growth for June

A trio of industry watchers offer their expectations for the NPD Group's US retail sales tally; software sales expected to grow between 8 and 20 percent.


The last few months have been a bit of a retail roller coaster for the game industry, with domestic game sales actually declining year-over-year in April, followed by a 33 percent sales surge in May, according to the industry-tracking NPD Group. With NPD set to release its US retail sales data for June 2007 on Monday, a handful of analysts have made their predictions on the results, and it appears they expect the roller coaster to even out somewhat.

In a note to investors, Pacific Crest Securities' Evan Wilson pegged software sales to be up about 10 percent over last year's $444 million take, bringing the total close to $490 million. Wilson names Transformers, Harry Potter, Pokémon Battle Revolution, and Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition as the best-selling new releases, with the DS and Wii leading the hardware pack with up to 425,000 and 400,000 systems sold, respectively. He expects the PlayStation Portable to have sold around 225,000 units, with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 topping out at 175,000 and 100,000 respectively.

Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter was slightly more pessimistic on software sales growth for the month, telling investors to expect a tally of $480 million, up 8 percent from the year before. He also warned that gaudy growth rates will be harder to come by, given that strong sales in the back half of 2006 will make for tough comparisons. As for the console wars, Pachter predicted Wii sales to have totaled 435,000, while the Xbox 360 will have sold 200,000 systems compared to the PS3's 100,000.

Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian was more upbeat than his peers, predicting a software sales bump of 15 to 20 percent. While his numbers skewed higher than consensus expectations, he acknowledged that hits from June 2006 like THQ's Cars and Take-Two Interactive's Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories made for a tough comparison. As for hardware sales, Sebastian said the Wii and DS remained in strong demand, while the PSP is expected to see a bump in units sold.

The NPD Group released its Canadian retail game sales data yesterday, reporting a 31-percent jump in software sales, and a 60-percent spike for industry sales when factoring in accessories and hardware.

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