Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter has predicted a modest 3 percent rise in game sales for March's upcoming NPD U.S. charts to $515 million, on sales of GRAW 2 and God of War II, with Wii sales far outpacing PS3 at 400,000 and 165,000, respectively.
Ahead of NPD's results expected April 19th, Pachter estimates that $305 million of game sales will come from new platforms (PS3, Wii, 360, PSP and DS) and current generation software sales of $210 million.
The $515 million total reflects only a small 3 percent rise over 2006, though, Pachter notes, March of last year saw three highly anticipated releases -- Kingdom Hearts II, GRAW, and Elder Scrolls IV that make strict comparisons "tough."
Despite this, Pachter says sales growth over the last nine months has "averaged a robust 16%," and adds that Wedbush expects "contribution from next generation software sales to grow on a year-over-year basis throughout 2007, more than offsetting modest declines in current generation software sales."
Breaking down individual publisher contributions, Pachter expects EA to take in the largest amount of sales at $90 million, followed by Ubisoft and Activision at $45 million each. Take-Two is expected to receive $38 million in sales, followed by THQ at $28 million, Atari at $6 million, Midway at $5 million, and Majesco at $4 million.
Looking specifically at hardware, Pachter assumes Wii will be leading the pack at 400,000 units sold, followed by the Xbox 360, PS2, and DS at 250,000 units each, followed by the PSP at 210,000, and, interestingly, the PlayStation 3 and Game Boy Advance tied at the end with 165,000 units each.
Inspecting the strong PS2 sales further, Pachter puts PS2 software sales at $155 million. "We expect the recent sales strength on the PS2 to continue beyond March," says Pachter, "given strong sell-through performance over the past nine months and a phenomenal lineup of mass-market games expected in April-July."
"We note that positive comparisons for PS2 software sales begin in April," he continues, "making continued sales strength more difficult. However, we expect a high level of software support for the PS2 platform for the foreseeable future, and expect only modest year-over-year declines (approximately 20%) for the first half of 2007."
"Over the next four months," Pachter concludes, "we expect the PS2 versions of Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Ratatouille, Transformers, The Simpsons and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to sell more units than on any other platforms. The degree of decline in the second half of the year will depend upon next generation console sales, as most next generation consoles are likely replacements for current generation consoles."