The video game industry is poised to make a rebound, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter wrote in a note to clients on Thursday. The analyst also predicted that it will be Sony's PlayStation 3, and not the Nintendo Wii, that will lead console sales for the month, when NPD releases figures next week.
"After six consecutive months of double-digit declines, we expect a return to double-digit sales growth (on video game software)," Pachter wrote to clients. "We forecast sales of $750 million, up 21 percent, compared to last year's $618 million."
It's a good sign that after months of decline, the video game industry is finally rebounding. That said, overall sales are still far behind 2008 figures.
But it's Pachter's next topic that might easily attract the most attention. According to the analyst, he estimates that September's NPD figures will show a "sell-through of 390,000 Wii hardware units (down 45 percent from last year), 350,000 Xbox 360 units (up 1 percent from last year), and 410,000 PS3 consoles (up 76 percent year-over-year), as the price cuts for all three consoles spurred demand."
Although Pachter said he thinks console sales will be "relatively flat for the balance of the year," he did say that the price cuts could "benefit the PS3 the most in coming months." Not only does Pachter believe Sony's console will outsell the Xbox 360, but he contends that it's possible that the PlayStation 3 will lead Xbox 360 sales for the rest of the year.
Another Xbox 360 price cut?
Pachter isn't convinced that the price cuts are over. He wrote to clients that "Microsoft has the ability to lower price yet again," but he cautioned that a more likely scenario would see the company offer a "more feature-packed Xbox 360 in early 2010 (likely with a 250GB hard drive) at the same $299 price point." It could cut the price of its console if "it begins to lose significant market share to Sony."
As interesting as they might be, Pachter's comments are purely speculation at this point. Look for the official sales figures to drop next week, when NPD makes them available.