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Lazard: U.S. November Game Sales Up 10-15%?

Lazard: U.S. November Game Sales Up 10-15%?

December 6, 2006 | By Simon Carless

December 6, 2006 | By Simon Carless
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In the latest round of predictions before Thursday's crucial November NPD video game charts, Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian is predicting a 10-15% year-on-year software boost, thanks to "improved retail sales trends" after a "soft patch" in October.

This is in the range of Wedbush Morgan's 10-15% prediction for the month, and the analyst thinks that the increase will be driven by "incremental sales of next-generation software (Xbox 360, Wii and PS3), ongoing solid Nintendo DS and Sony PS2 game sales, and a relatively easy year-over-year comparison (-18% [from Nov. 2004 to Nov. 2005])". He also noted that the company's retail checks throughout the month have been positive compared to the previous month.

According to Sebastian: "We believe top console games for the month included Need for Speed: Carbon, Madden NFL 07, Call of Duty 3, Guitar Hero 2, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007, Gears of War and Final Fantasy XII." Lazard also predicted the top-selling titles on next-generation consoles, including Legend of Zelda and Red Steel on Nintendos Wii, Resistance: Fall of Man, Call of Duty 3 and Madden NFL on Sonys PS3, and Gears of War and Rainbow Six Vegas on the Xbox 360.

The report also referenced software-to-hardware attach rates for the newly launched consoles, commenting: "We believe the PS3 TIE ratio was between 1.0x and 2.0x for the month (1.5x according to GameStop) and 2.0x-3.0x on Nintendos Wii."

Finally, publisher-specific data was added for the companies that Lazard covers, with Activision predcited to be "...flat to up slightly in
November data despite a tough year-over-year comparison (+54% in November 2005), with strong initial sell-through of Guitar Hero 2 and Call of Duty [3]."

For Electronic Arts: "We expect Electronic Arts sell-through to be flat to down slightly in November data, with recent release Need for Speed: Carbon and catalog EA Sports titles key drivers of 3Q (December) sales, but no Harry Potter this year."

And for THQ: "We expect THQ sell-through to be up in the 20-30% range in November data, driven by strong sales of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007, catalog sales of October releases such as Destroy All Humans 2, and seasonally stronger holiday titles such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Cars."


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