GameStop has already released their sales numbers for the last 9 weeks of 2006, and analysts everywhere are producing expectations for the full year. But how did software fare in December? Well, Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian believes it's going to be about a 5% growth over 2005's December.

The NPD should unveil their end-of-year software sales next week, but for now, Sebastian has issued a preview to investors, predicting the approximate 5% growth. This growth is "driven by incremental sales of next-generation software (Xbox 360, Wii and PS3) and ongoing solid Sony PS2 and Nintendo DS game sales." He also listed some predicted top-sellers, several of which have already been verified by GameStop's numbers: Call of Duty 3 , WWE SmackDown Vs. Raw 2007 , Guitar Hero II , Gears of War , and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess . Sebastian also believes both Resistance: Fall of Man for the PS3 and Red Steel for the Wii will turn in solid showings.

Overall, the analyst says the growth reflects "solid industry sales trends," but that 5% in December still trails the first 11 months of the year, where the industry experienced a 6.7% increase in software sales. For the full 12 months, Sebastian expects to see a 5.5% industry growth.

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