As part of his regular analyst preview of NPD's North American charts, Lazard Capital's Colin Sebastian estimates Nintendo's Wii beating his earlier 1.2 million estimates, while Sony's PS3 may sell just 700,000.
In his analyst note, Sebastian comments: "Our checks indicate that Nintendo’s Wii console continues to sell well, while Sony PS3 supplies improved somewhat towards the end of the holiday period. We believe Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is on track to reach our 2006 sales estimate of 4.5 million units in the U.S., while Nintendo’s Wii will likely exceed our original 1.2 million-unit target. Our estimate for PS3 sales in the U.S. for 2006 remains 700k units."
Elsewhere in his report, Sebastian estimates December NPD game sales, which will debut formally on January 11th, commenting: "On a year-over-year basis, our “back-of-the-envelope” analysis suggests that software sales increased approximately 5%, driven by incremental sales of next-generation software (Xbox 360, Wii and PS3) and ongoing solid Sony PS2 and Nintendo DS game sales." He also notes: "Year-to-date through November, software sales increased 6.7%, slightly ahead of our 2006 growth estimate of 5.5%."
The Lazard Capital analyst believes that the top titles for the month included Call of Duty 3, Guitar Hero 2, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007, Gears of War and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, adding: "We also believe that Red Steel (for Wii) and Resistance: Fall of Man (for the PS3) were among the top sellers on the two new console platforms."
Sebastian then specifically covered the publishers whose shares he helps make predictions on, starting with Activision: "We expect Activision sell-through to be flat to up slightly in December data with ongoing strong sellthrough of Guitar Hero 2 and Call of Duty 3, along with sales of the latest iterations of Tony Hawk, and catalog titles such as Marvel: Ultimate Alliance."
For Electronic Arts: "We expect Electronic Arts sell-through to be down approximately 10% in December data, with Need for Speed: Carbon and catalog EA Sports titles key drivers of F3Q (December) sales. We note that EA does not have a new Harry Potter title this holiday, and we believe there was a limited contribution to sales from Superman. We note as well that several EA titles sold well internationally during the quarter, notably FIFA 07 and Need for Speed."
For THQ: "We expect THQ sell-through to be up approximately 20% in December data, driven by strong sales of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 and seasonally stronger holiday titles such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Avatar and Cars."