Game sales expected to slide for seventh straight month

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter predicts NPD numbers for June will show US software sales down 34%, blames "lackluster release lineup."

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The NPD Group is expected to release its US gaming retail sales data for the month of June on Thursday, and Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter expects the news to be bad. Pachter today sent a note to investors saying he expects US software sales to total just $305 million, down 34 percent from June 2011.

Pokemon Conquest is expected to top the charts, but it won't exactly be a glorious victory.
Pokemon Conquest is expected to top the charts, but it won't exactly be a glorious victory.

The "lackluster release lineup" was Pachter's prime culprit for the decline. Pokemon Conquest and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes were called out as the month's biggest new games, with late May's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier also sitting near the top of the charts. However, Pachter also named a few likely disappointments in June. The analyst said Spec Ops: The Line posted modest sales, while Lollipop Chainsaw and Max Payne 3 underperformed.

NPD monthly software sales figures have been down at least 20 percent every month this year. They haven't posted a positive month since November, when the record-breaking release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 helped push them up 15 percent year-over-year.

"In this unprecedented eighth year of the console cycle, we believe there are few new intellectual properties to reinvigorate interest in the games sector," Pachter wrote. "Consumers have been offered a never-ending series of sequels, and have been offered fewer choices each year for the last several years, with the result being waning interest in new software purchases and an unprecedented three years of software sales declines. The poster children for limiting consumer choice are Activision, Electronic Arts and THQ, with each company offering 50 percent as many titles as they offered several years ago, with only one new intellectual property launched among the three companies over the last year."

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