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GamePro's 2009 December NPD Predictions

By Alex Wawro, GamePro
January 13, 2010 06:41 PM ET

GamePro - After we teased you with Wedbush-Morgan's forecast for December NPD numbers on Monday, we thought it only fair to share our own predictions on the financial state of gaming at the end of 2009.

Prediction #1 -- Xbox 360 wins the price cut war.

Nintendo said it sold over 3 million Wii consoles in December based on internal sales data, and Wedbush agrees. The September price drop and aggressive holiday marketing in retailers like Wal-Mart might explain those numbers, but we're not sure that Wii sales will meet Nintendo's end-of-year estimates. Meanwhile, the PS3 price cut and competitively-priced holiday console bundles suggest sales of the two competing consoles will be neck-and-neck at the close of 2009, but ultimately the 360 sales juggernaut that is Modern Warfare 2 will give Microsoft the edge in the console war.

Prediction #2 -- Hardware Sales for December '09

1. Nintendo Wii - 2.9 million

2. Nintendo DS - 2.6 million

3. Xbox 360 - 1.5 million

4. Playstation 3 - 1.45 million

5. Playstation Portable - 600,000

6. Playstation 2 - 300,000

Prediction #3 -- Goodbye, music games!

Wedbush says that in general software sales were weak in 2009 compared to the previous year. However, they say music games in particular sold very poorly. Looks like both the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises are absent after having held a spot on the holiday NPD charts for the past two years.

Prediction #4 -- New Super Mario Bros. a Wii-nner, Mario Kart Wii not so much.

We're inclined to agree with public expectations that place New Super Mario Bros. Wii as the most popular game in December. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks should also leave a mark on the sales charts thanks to an early December release. Add that to sales of casual mainstays like Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus and we're pretty sure Nintendo will dominate end-of-year game sales whether or not Modern Warfare 2 hit $1 billion in retail sales all by itself. More importantly, though, we think December 2009 will be the last time we'll ever see Mario Kart Wii in the NPD Top 10, what with everything Nintendo's come out with this year. Frankly the end of Mario's kart-based reign of terror can't come soon enough.

Prediction #5 -- Software Sales for December '09

1. New Super Mario Bros. Wii - 2.5 million

2. Modern Warfare 2 (360) - 1.6 million

3. Wii Sports Resort - 1.4 million

4. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - 725,000

5. Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) - 710,000

6. Assassin's Creed 2 (360) - 650,000

7. Wii Fit Plus - 645,000

8. Left 4 Dead 2 - 590,000

9. Assassin's Creed 2 (PS3) - 425,000

10. Mario Kart Wii - 310,000

Prediction #6 -- We could be wrong about a lot of things, but we're not wrong about this:

Too many games got delayed to 2010; that explains the poor software sales in 2009. The plus side, though, is that the delays put the gaming industry in a great growth position for the coming year. We've got a number of new console owners looking forward to big Q1 releases like Heavy Rain, BioShock 2 and Mass Effect 2. It could quite possibly be the best Q1 ever.

What do you think? December NPD numbers are due at the end of this week, so get your predictions in now and come Friday we'll see who really knows their stuff!

Additional reporting by AJ Glasser.

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