February software sell-through is expected to see a year-on-year decline in North America, according to market research firm EEDAR.
Ahead of NPD’s market results for February, EEDAR believes that software sales will arrive at $659 million, a 2 percent decrease from last year’s results. This slight drop is equally split by a fall in sales as well as reduced average selling prices.
“We believe the weak but aggressive retail environment is to blame for the year-over-year decrease in ASPs,” says EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich. “Furthermore, weak sales from the music genre, which typically carry high price points, are also to blame for the weak February sales and lower selling prices.”
EEDAR adds that March and April could also record annual sale declines, though this will be largely attributed to the inordinarily high number of major releases in the same period last year, from Super Smash Bros Brawl to Grand Theft Auto IV.
If the analyst projections are correct, it would mark the first time monthly software sales have taken a year-over-year drop since October 2008. Prior to that, the last negative month was during April 2007.
EEDAR also expects the PSP, Nintendo DS and Playstation 3 sales fall over 10 percent from last year.
However, strong sales of the Wii will almost singlehandedly turn the hardware decline into growth, as Nintendo’s home console is expected to sell 725,000 units; a 68 percent increase over last year. Sales of the Xbox 360 are expected to climb too; up 18 percent from last year.
Wii and DS software, meanwhile, is expected to account for 49% of all software sales, while Wii Play is set to surpass 10 million units life-to-date; a feat achieved across 25 months.
Sony Must Cut
EEDAR projects that the PS3 will record its fourth year-on-year sales drop in a row, and the analyst says it is “concerned with its position in the market.”
“Even a price drop, which is expected to happen before June 2009, is unlikely to propel sales ahead of last year for the first half of 2009,” says Divnich.
However, Divnich added that the PS3’s 10-year support cycle will allow the console much opportunity, despite short-term concerns.