Ahead of U.S. sales data group NPD's March report, expected April 17th, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has predicted sales will rise 47 percent to $850 million for the month, driven by Super Smash Bros Brawl and the Wii and DS, and the PS3 to again outsell the Xbox 360.
Combined sales for March were at $579 million in 2007. Pachter says the estimates account for $705 million in next-gen platform sales, and $145 million of current-gen, including the PS2.
Software sales, apart from Smash Bros., are expected to be topped by Army of Two, Rainbow Six: Vegas 2, Major League Baseball 2K8, and continued sales of Wii Play, Guitar Hero III, and Rock Band.
On the hardware side, Pachter has predicted the Wii and DS to lead for the month, with the Xbox 360 again to be outsold by Sony's PlayStation 3:
Wii - 700,000
DS - 700,000
PS3 - 365,000
PS2 - 320,000
Xbox 360 - 310,000
PSP - 300,000
Pachter also released the following estimates from theSimExchange:
Wii - 593,000
DS - 593,000
PSP - 327,000
PS3 - 301,000
Xbox 360 - 296,000
"The Wii supply situation has made forecasting unit sales quite difficult," noted Pachter. "Since April 2007, Nintendo has manufactured 1.8 million Wiis per month, implying that U.S. share should be somewhere between 720,000 - 900,000 units per month (40 - 50% of total units produced). We believe that Nintendo has diverted a significant portion of its available supply to Europe since April, as the weakening dollar has made U.S. sales less profitable for the company."
He added that Wedbush believes the U.S. has got its "fair share" of Wii supply in March, with European supply catching up with demand, and extra shipments diverted to support the Smash Bros launch.
His 700,000 unit forecast, he explained, assumes that Nintendo will "continue to supply the U.S. at the low end of its historical market share," but adds that the supply situation will improve in coming months.
"We expect a surge in supply in Europe during April," he concluded, "in order to meet expected demand for the Wii Fit launch late in the month, and expect a similar surge in the U.S. for Wii Fit's May 19 launch here."