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Analyst expects "most successful hardware sales periods ever" this holiday season

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter believes the holiday sales season will be a banner one for US hardware, and Microsoft will lead the fray as it celebrated the one year anniversary of Kinect.

Speaking with IndustryGamers, Pachter said he expects Microsoft to lead the media charge for consumer's wallets as it tries to pull attention away from Sony and Nintendo.

"We see a console battle heating up this holiday, with Microsoft celebrating the anniversary of its Kinect launch with a media blitz," he said. "We think that Sony will respond in kind, and expect Nintendo to follow with advertising of its own. This holiday may be one of the most successful hardware sales periods ever (in terms of units) given appropriate pricing for the three consoles and recent discounting for the handhelds."

Pachter is also of the opinion that solid holiday hardware sales will "lead to sustainable software growth throughout 2012" and an 8% growth in software.

"We expect October sales to be up in the solid double-digits, and think that November and December sales will be up as well," he said. "Rolling into 2012, we think that games like Darkness II, Mass Effect 3, Max Payne 3 and Ghost Recon Future Soldier have the potential to drive solidly positive sales growth in the early part of the year.

"Once new hardware launches (the PS Vita in March and the Wii U later in 2012), we think that continuing declines on Nintendo platforms will be fully offset with software sales from the new platforms. Overall, we expect 8% software sales growth in 2012, which should allow for publisher multiples to expand."

Pachter said combined hardware sales hit 9.4 million units in the US during the October – December period last year. He expects unit sales for PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 to be even greater during the same period this year.

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