If all goes according to plan, the video game industry could see its first positive sales growth since March in September—but in a year that has been filled with disappointing results, game publishers and developers know any plan is tentative at best.
Analysts expect software sales to be up slightly in September, largely on the strength of Microsoft’s “Halo: Reach,” which took in $200 million in its first 24 hours. No one is expecting a blowout month, though. Wedbush Securities is forecasting a rise of just 2.4 percent compared to last year’s $649 million.
Others are even less optimistic. Kaufman Brothers' Todd Mitchell agrees that software revenues will rise—he’s predicting a 4 percent jump—but notes that hardware sales could be hit hard, leading to an 8 percent decline overall. (Sony cut the price of its PlayStation 3 console last September, leading to a sales rush.)
If software sales do beat the 2009 numbers, it will only be the third time this year the industry has managed to do so. And even then, it could be the last time that happens in 2010.
“Unfortunately, we do not see many catalysts for the software publisher group over the remainder of 2010,” says Michael Pachter of Wedbush. “We think that console and handheld software sales in 2010 will end up in negative territory, offset by an increase in PC software from the launches of ‘StarCraft II’ in July and ‘World of Warcraft: Cataclysm’ in December.” ...more at CNBC