Ahead of U.S. sales data group NPD's April report, expected May 15th, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has predicted a windfall sales rise of 113 percent to $830 million for the month, on the back of Grand Theft Auto IV, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
and Mario Kart Wii
Combined sales for April were at $389 million in 2007. Pachter says the estimates account for $765 million in next-gen platform sales, and $65 million of current-gen, including the PS2.
Software sales, of course, are expected to be driven primarily by Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV
on PlayStation 3, which has already reported record breaking sales
around the world, some 3.3 million units in its first six days, by Pachter's estimates.
Pachter says Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness
for the DS and Mario Kart Wii
will also lead sales, as well as continued strong sales of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wii Play, Guitar Hero III
, and Rock Band
On the hardware side, Pachter has predicted the Wii and DS to lead for the month, with, for another month, the PlayStation 3 scraping the lead over the Xbox 360:
Wii - 600,000
DS - 550,000
PS3 - 290,000
Xbox 360 - 275,000
PSP - 235,000
PS2 - 160,000
Pachter also released the following estimates from theSimExchange:
Wii - 734,000
DS - 609,000
Xbox 360 - 381,000
PS3 - 363,000
PSP - 282,000
"April has been among the hardest we have had to forecast," said Pachter. "In addition to the ever-changing Wii supply situation, we are faced with the launches of three phenomenal sellers in April," referring to GTA IV, Mystery Dungeon
and Mario Kart
, which he estimates moved respective unit sales of 3.3 million, and 1.25 million for the latter two.
Turning his attention to Wii supplies, Pachter added that while Nintendo has traditionally been manufacturing 1.8 million Wiis a month and shipping an average of 600,000 to the U.S., the company has recently announced its intention to raise the manufacturing number by a third to 2.4 million in July, for a yearly total of 25 million shipped.
"Because the U.S. has received only around 1/3 of total Wii production to-date, instead of a more normal 40%, there has been a severe shortage of Wii supply here that has as yet to let up," he added. "We believe that U.S. supply should have been somewhere between 720,000 - 900,000 units per month (40 - 50% of total units produced), and expect supply to grow to over 1 million per month in August and beyond."
Pachter stated that while he believes the balance has shifted back from diverting supplies to Europe to recoup funds from a weakening dollar, April saw a full month of its "fair share." However, he says, "we continue to expect Nintendo to continue to supply the U.S. at the low end of its historical market share until supply and demand are in balance in Europe (which saw the launch of Wii Fit
at the end of April), but we expect the supply situation will begin to improve over the next several months" -- with potential for as much as 900,000 Wiis to ship in May.