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Double-digit declines for retail game sales to continue through May, says analyst

U.S. retailers suffered a double-digit decline in game revenues last month, and will likely continue to suffer slumping sales through May, according to Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz.
U.S. retailers suffered a double-digit decline in game revenues last month, and will likely continue to suffer slumping sales through May, according to Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz. Ahead of The NPD Group's release of March 2012's game sales data later this week, Creutz agreed with fellow analyst Michael Pachter's prediction that retail revenues for software fell significantly last month, despite the release of Electronic Arts' Mass Effect 3. While Pachter forecasted a 23 percent drop in software revenues to $565 million compared to the same period last year, Creutz expects console and handheld game sales to have fallen by only 22 percent. He points to March 2011's selection of major releases like Pokemon Black/White, Homefront, and Dragon Age II as the reason for that slide. And though Pachter believes that software sales will pick up in May thanks to Diablo III and Max Payne 3, Cruetz argues that double-digit revenue declines will likely persist in April and May due to continued Wii weakness, as well as tough comparisons to Xbox 360 and PlayStation's 2011 release slate. Looking at March 2011, Creutz predicts Xbox 360 and PS3 software sales were only slightly down year-over-year, while Wii game revenues dropped by 50 percent. For the entire calendar year, he forecasts a 24 percent year-over-year decrease in packaged console/handheld game sales, and a 53 percent slip for PC game sales.

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