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Analysts predict drop in April software sales

EEDAR's Jesse Divinch and Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter predict a 17 per cent decline from last year

Ahead of the NPD Group's official sales figures, EEDAR and Wedbush Morgan analysts are predicting a 17 per cent software sales decline in the US for April.

EEDAR's Jesse Divinch is predicting US software sales for the month to reach approximately USD 548 million, a decrease it attributes to an overall weak retail environment and a software release schedule that is not as strong as that of last year.

"We believe that April's low sales are mostly the result of a weaker release schedule and it is not likely an indication that the industry is contracting," said Divinch.

"If April sales exceed USD 550 million, we believe it is a positive sign for the industry and an indication that sales may remain robust for the rest of the calendar year," he continued. "Sales below USD 510 million would be an indication that consumer spending in the video game sector is beginning to contract over last year and could impact sales in the summer months."

The firm also anticipates hardware sales to increase 10 per cent, driven by the Nintendo DSi. It also believes the Xbox 360 will show "mild growth," while the remaining consoles will show a sales decline.

Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter concurs with EEDAR's figures, adding that "We continue to believe that the videogame software sector remains highly recession-resistant, but expect more modest gains in 2009 due to a weak start and continuing difficult year-over-year comparisons."

April of 2008 saw two titles - Grand Theft Auto IV and Mario Kart Wii - reach sales of 1 million units. Neither firm is predicting a million-seller for April 2009, though Divinch is predicting that 21 titles will sell over 100,000 units, compared to 11 titles in the previous year.

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