When NPD results for the month of January come out this week, expect year-over-year sales for U.S. retail game software to be down 2 percent, says Cowen Group analyst Doug Creutz -- who, like many analysts, pegs the coming March as the month the industry will finally see a return to growth thanks to core releases.
"We expect industry software sales to return to year over year growth during Q1, most likely in March, due to a strong release slate of core gamer titles and vastly easier comps," says the analyst.
Even though it only saw five days' worth of sales in January, Mass Effect 2
should come out as the month's top seller, says Creutz, predicting 825,000 units sold at U.S. retail.
Creutz adds that he expects 430,000 units for THQ's Darksiders
, and 300,000 units each for Electronic Arts' Army of Two: The 40th Day
and Sega's Bayonetta
-- the latter has sold 1.1 million units worldwide to date, according to Sega
Although EA recently saw its revenues decline on a quarterly basis, Creutz expects the publisher to be a January winner, with 20 percent year over year growth.
In addition, THQ is expected to see the best comparison, says the analyst, predicting a 99 percent year over year sales increase for the Darksiders