Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter believes that the PS3 outsold the Xbox 360 in the US during April, while monthly software sales hit $830 million, up 113 percent on last April’s total.
Ahead of the NPD Group’s April videogame sales data release, expected this Thursday after market close, Pachter forecast that Nintendo once again came out on top in terms of hardware sales, shifting 600,000 Wii consoles and 550,000 DS systems. He cited greater Wii and DS availability in his investor note as contributing factors to the systems’ sales success. He also said he expects the PS3 to have outsold the Xbox 360 by 290,000 units to 275,000.
Wedbush estimated April console sales (simExchange predictions):
Wii: 600,000 (734,000)
PS3: 290,000 (363,000)
Xbox 360: 275,000 (381,000)
PS2: 160,000 (n/a)
DS: 550,000 (609,000)
PSP: 235,000 (282,000)
Pachter noted that the US has been receiving around a third of the total monthly Wii units produced (1.8 million) to date, but that the figure is likely to increase from 600,000 to one million units in August and beyond.
“We believe that Nintendo has diverted a significant portion of its available supply to Europe since April 2007, as the weakening dollar has made US sales less profitable for the company… We expect the supply situation will begin to improve over the next several months. We expect a surge in supply in the US for Wii Fit’s May 21 launch here, and believe we could see as many as 900,000 Wii units show up at retail this month (May).\"
Console and handheld software sales growth during 2008 ( 11 percent in January, 47 percent in February, 63 percent in March) is expected to continue, primarily due to “three phenomenal new releases” in Grand Theft Auto IV, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness and Mario Kart Wii. Pachter predicted monthly software sales of $830 million, up 113 percent on last April’s figures, illustrating that, “thus far in 2008, the sector appears highly recession-resistant.”
“It is clear that April sales were driven by the highly anticipated new release Grand Theft Auto IV (360, PS3), which we estimate sold 3.3 million units in its first six days in the US.
“We note that there were 31 games that sold over 100,000 units in March, and we expect 20 in April (compared to 9 last year).”
For April, Pachter expects the following publisher revenue results based on retail sales:
• Activision - $70 million, 13 percent year-over-year.
• Atari - $3 million, -4 percent y-o-y
• Electronic Arts - $105 million, 177 percent y-o-y
• Majesco - $4 million, -7 percent y-o-y
• Midway - $4 million, 26 percent y-o-y
• Nintendo - $170 million, 36 percent y-o-y
• Take-Two - $250 million, 1165 percent y-o-y
• THQ - $20 million, 49 percent y-o-y.
• Ubisoft - $50 million, 105 percent y-o-y.
“We recommend that investors accumulate Activision, Electronic Arts, Nintendo, THQ, and Ubisoft shares at current levels.\"
Pachter noted that Wedbush Morgan’s forecasts are based upon “a combination of channel checks, company press releases and intuition, with the greatest dependence upon intuition.”[/td][/tr][/table]