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Pachter predicts market rebound

Wedbush positive on E3 showing but wary over Kinect and Move pricing strategies

Wedbush analysts Michael Pachter and Edward Woo have given their verdict on the new hardware unveiled at last week's E3, describing Kinect, Move and the 3DS as having "great potential to reinvigorate the video game market" and push future growth.

Reporting their findings in a new industry note, the pair reserved the most praise for the 3DS and described it as the most "impactful" new announcement of E3 and the "must-have consumer electronics product over the next few years".

"The 3DS was truly impressive, and although we expect it to cost upwards of $250, we are confident that Nintendo will sell many millions of them in the first full year of production," said the pair.

The analysts also expect Kinect and Move to "meaningfully impact the market", but voiced concern over pricing for both systems. Discussing Kinect, they claimed that Microsoft "is struggling with a pricing strategy," suggesting that one camp within the company would like to charge a lower price of around $99.99 but others a higher price of $149.99. In the analysts' opinion a price point over $100 "would severely limit sales".

The pricing for the PlayStation Move was described as having "the potential to confuse consumers", due to the various different configurations in which the controllers and camera can be used, and the fact that to buy all the necessary accessories would cost in the region of $180.

"We think that Sony’s Move is truly impressive, but remain concerned that initial sales could disappoint", commented the two analysts.

The note also describes "few surprises on the software front, with most of the publishers showcasing games that had previously been announced".

The note depicts Electronic Arts' software lineup as "solid", but Ubisoft's as "uneven", with titles such as Innergy, Battle Tag, Michael Jackson: The Game and Shaun White Skateboarding described as having "uncertain prospects".

Activision was criticised for not showing games on the E3 show floor, with the analysts suggesting that focusing purely on a high profile celebrity party "was a missed opportunity".

Pachter and Woo were apparently most impressed by software titles Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Crysis 2, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Gran Turismo 5, Halo: Reach, Killzone 3, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Medal of Honor, and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The note predicts "modest share price appreciation" for many major publishers after E3, recommending investment in Activision, Electronic Arts and GameStop specifically.

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David Jenkins

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