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Barren January release lineup hindered U.S. game sales, analysts agree

In anticipation of tomorrow's NPD report on January video game retail sales in the U.S., analyst firm Sterne Agee reported that it expects software sales to decline, thanks to the barren release lineup for the month.
In anticipation of tomorrow's NPD report on January video game retail sales in the U.S., analyst firm Sterne Agee reported that it expects software sales to decline year over year, thanks to the non-existant release lineup for the month. The firm said it expects software sales to drop 15 to 20 percent, since January saw no major new releases, and sales will be heavily dependent on 2011 titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Just Dance 3, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Analyst firm Wedbush Securities made similar estimates previously, noting that it expects year over year software sales to decline 12 percent to $505 million, with the decline primarily driven by the lack of new releases. Technically, two big titles, Soul Caliber V and Final Fantasy XIII-2, debuted on January 31, but the impending NPD report will only cover games released on or before January 28. Sterne Agee also offered predictions based on individual publishers, and said that Take-Two sales could drop as much as 30 percent, as the company has very few recent titles on the market to rely on. EA could also take a 25 percent hit, as last year the company enjoyed additional sales from Dead Space 2. Wedbush added that it expects hardware sales to fall by 18 percent, since the current consoles on the market are "showing signs of age." Keep an eye out for Gamasutra's full coverage of The NPD Group's January report, which will go live Thursday afternoon.

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