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Analysts: June NPD To Show Fourth Straight Decline

Challenging year-over-year comparisons are expected to hamper the NPD U.S. console game retail results for the fourth month in a row, say analysts, with a more than 20 percent decline predicted.
Challenging year-over-year comparisons to last year's record-breaking releases are expected to hamper the industry's monthly NPD U.S. console hardware and game retail sales for the fourth month in a row. In June 2008, sales grew a whopping 61 percent over 2007 thanks to the launches of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Rock Band on Wii, which Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter says combined for $87 million and ten percent of 2008's total sales. That performance will naturally be tough to beat this year, and Pachter expects June software sales to come in at $670 million -- a 23 percent decline. Both Pachter and EEDAR's Jesse Divnich foresee a decline in hardware sales in the low thirty percent range with all platforms posting a decline -- except the Xbox 360, which has seen, according to Pachter, a 23 percent boost in sales over the year. "The Xbox 360 continues to appeal to consumers, likely due to a higher perceived value proposition," says Pachter. "Wii hardware supply is no longer a concern, and we expect year-over-year sales of Wii hardware to be down for the next several months (down 5 percent so far in 2009). The recent PS2 price cut to $99 from $129 should prop up unit sales." Pachter also expects sales of portable platforms to flatten out as consumers await the Fall season, when the analyst expects a reduction in the price of the core model DS alongside the launch of the PSP Go.

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