Music games to blame for weak September sales

While MTV Games may be breaking out the champagne after their isolated victory over Activision in North American September sales, investors and analysts are blaming the music game genre for disappointing September sales figures for the entire industry.

Those investors and analysts held some lofty expectations for both The Beatles Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5, hoping the two high profile titles would push September sales into double digit growth for the gaming industry. According to NPD numbers, September only saw a 5 percent increase over September 2008 figures.

Wedbush’s Michael Pachter weighed in on the underwhelming sales, “We expected far higher sales for the month, as we succumbed to much of the hype surrounding the relatively high-profile launches of The Beatles Rock Band and Guitar Hero 5.¬†We had expected the former to sell 1.3 million units, and thought that sales of the disc would drive sales of older Rock Band bundles; instead, the game sold fewer than half our estimate, and overall sales came in at $73 million, well below our $140 million estimate.”

Guitar Hero 5 also failed to meet expectations despite the free Guitar Hero: Van Halen giveaway. “The game sold fewer than our 700,000 unit estimate, and overall Guitar Hero sales were only $43 million, well below our $75 million unit estimate,” Pachter added.

Although September failed to meet the analysts’ expectations, the setback isn’t going to stop them from making more farfetched predictions for the upcoming months. They’ll be expecting sales to bounce back in November and maintain a steady growth until August 2010 when unicorns that run on rainbows and dreams will deliver Modern Warfare 2 on golden platters.

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