Halo 3 to Drive Bumper September SalesMicrosoft recently announced that Halo 3 had grossed $300m at retail by early October. Sebastian believes the majority of that figure came from North America and suggests that Halo 3 will be the primary factor in ballooning September software sales. The release of the Bungie-developed shooter, along with prior price cuts to the Xbox 360 range, leads Sebastian to believe that Microsoft’s hardware sales will be up for September. Sebastian’s latest investor note also says that demand for Nintendo’s Wii will remain strong, although sales are likely to be curtailed by hardware constraints that may persist throughout the holiday period. The Lazard analyst doesn’t anticipate a boost in PS3 sales until holiday shopping ramps up, or until a hardware price cut or new SKU are announced. On the publisher front, Sebastian predicts growth of approximately 100 percent in September sell-through for Activision, with its popular series of Guitar Hero games playing a key role. He also notes that the upcoming release of highly-anticipated titles such as Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground, Guitar Hero 3 and Call of Duty 4 are likely to make a big impact at retail. Electronic Arts sell-through is expected to be roughly flat from last year. Annual releases Madden NFL and Tiger Woods PGA Tour, along with new IP Skate, are likely to be the publishers biggest sellers. THQ September sell-through is likely to be down 40 percent year-over-year, largely due to ongoing slow sales in North America of Stuntman: Ignition and Juiced 2, in comparison to strong sales of Saints Row in September 2006.