In a report released by SG Cowen & Co., analyst Lowell Singer has predicted a 20% decline in game software sales for the period of 2004 through the end of 2006, due to a lack of installed users for the impending next generation of consoles.
This console transition, he said, is "far worse" than that seen from the years 1999 through 2001. Additionally, Lowell points fingers at the increased popularity of online games, a general lack of creativity in game development, and "no Halo
or Grand Theft Auto
-type blowout titles launched in 2005," echoing the sentiments of many other analysts.
Interestingly, when analyzing the four major game publishers - Electronic Arts, Take-Two, THQ, and Activision - Lowell does not specifically recommend against investing, remaining neutral on Electronic Arts, Take-Two, and THQ, and even going as far as to recommend Activision:
"We believe that Activision’s focus on building high-quality franchises, sustaining above-average operating margins and ROIC, and aggressively participating in the expanding handheld market have positioned the company for industry-leading growth and market share gains throughout the next-generation console cycle," said the report.
"Although we believe that the video game stocks could be volatile over the next few months due to the ongoing console transition, we continue to have a positive long-term view on the group."