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Spore expected to sell 2 million in US in September

Colin Sebastian predicts EA title to post strong initial sales

Lazard Capital Markets senior VP, Colin Sebastian, has stated his belief that September will be an important month for Electronic Arts, as it releases two key long-awaited titles - Spore, which he expects to sell 2 million units in the US, and Warhammer Online, which he's anticipated around 650,000 sign-ups for in that territory.

However, he did warn of a difficult year-on-year growth comparison for the month ahead due to the skew last year of the Halo 3 release - although "generally positive industry sales" are expected.

Meanwhile, he's also outlined "solid" expectations for the August NPD results: "Despite a seasonally slower August release calendar, we believe that retail activity in the videogame segment remains solid, with increased mall and specialty retail traffic over the back-to-school shopping period," he said.

"Based on our checks with 20-plus stores and industry contacts, we believe top titles include Madden NFL, Mercenaries 2, Soul Calibur IV and catalogue sales of Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit."

However, while the software sales outlook remains strong, Sebastian believes the hardware side of things is less optimistic.

"Our checks through late August and early September indicate console hardware supplies are spotty, with Nintendo's Wii in strong demand, and the transition of the PlayStation 3 to a new 80GB SKU creating some lag in supply," he said.

"We expect August NPD data to reflect lower hardware unit sales with Nintendo likely stocking units ahead of the holidays, Microsoft phasing out of the 20GB Xbox 360, and the PS3 unit transition."

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