Michael Pachter, the analyst watching the video game industry for Wedbush Morgan, believes that the NPD Group compiled sales data for the month of December in the United States will show an industry-wide decline of 11 percent.The main reasons for the continuing decline for the month that includes the strong Christmas sales period is the lower than expected performances of the new Wii U home consoles from Nintendo and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the first-person shooter from developer Treyarch and publisher Activision Blizzard.
Pachter says that the Wii U launch has been underwhelming, but he estimates that the device has delivered 675,000 units to gamers during December.
The analyst also says that Black Ops 2 is down 20 percent when compared to Modern Warfare 3, which launched in 2011, and Halo 4, the new Master Chief title from Microsoft, is also far behind expected sales.
Despite the poor performance of home consoles and big hits, Pachter is optimistic about the future prospects of the industry.
He tells GamesIndustry.biz that, “It is clear to us that those companies who primarily focused on traditional gamers were largely unscathed by the declines over the last few years, and those same companies will disproportionately benefit once traditional gamers drive industry sales into positive territory in 2014 and beyond.”
Apparently, major publishers have big new intellectual properties lined up for the next generation of home consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
At the same time, the analyst expects to see strong sales from Dead Space 3 from Visceral, BioShock Infinite from Irrational Games and Grand Theft Auto V from Rockstar, all coming in 2013.
Neither Microsoft nor Sony has yet officially announced their new console projects, but industry watchers expect to have news by E3 2013 and sales going by the end of the year.