BMO Capital: Consumers Holding Back in Oct. In Anticipation of Next-Gen Consoles

In a note to investors today, BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Williams called October's video game retail numbers (NPD Group on Thursday said U.S. retail sales of new videogame hardware, software and accessories rose 5 percent to $791.1 million) a "video game sector reset" and said that the transition to next-gen systems beginning today with the launch of the PS4 and next week with the Xbox One brings promising growth and more than a little uncertainty for investors.

Retail video game software sales grew for the third consecutive month, up 12 percent in October, with total industry revenue up 5 percent. Much of that growth was driven by sales of Take-Two’s Grand Theft Auto V on multiple console platforms and the strong launches of Nintendo’s Pokémon X and Y for 3DS.

"The transition is here, and along with it, uncertainty," Williams wrote. "Although industry software sales were robust, new launches seemed to reflect consumers holding back. We believe a portion of gamers have held back purchasing recently released titles until their next-gen SKUs are available – starting with the launch of the PS4 on November 15, followed by the Xbox One on November 22."

For the full BMO report, which includes the latest top sellers on various platforms including mobile and social games, check out this PDF.

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