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Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One in high demand, says analyst

Despite some initial hiccups, game console titans Sony and Microsoft are preparing to launch their next-generation systems to a very receptive market, according to Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia.

Bhatia attended this week's GameStop Expo in Las Vegas and recorded his impressions of the buzz building around the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as some thoughts about upcoming game titles set for a holiday release.

"Feedback at the conference continues to suggest strong demand for PS4 and Xbox One," the analyst wrote. Bhatia also pegged Titan Fall, a title from EA and Respawn set for release in the spring of 2014, as the demo hit of GameStop Expo 2013.

"All of the key holiday titles such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag, and Watch Dogs generated strong interest at the Expo. However, EA/Respawn's Titan Fall ... had the longest lines to play the demo," Bhatia wrote.

"We see strong potential for this new first-person shooter from the makers of the original Call of Duty. While [Grand Theft Auto V] did not have a playable demo at the conference (as expected), GameStop managers we spoke with suggested extremely strong pre-orders for this title," he added.

One game that might not make the cut, though, is Madden NFL 25. In a separate note, Bhatia described initial demand for game as off the pace from last year's update to the long-running pro football franchise.

"Our store checks indicate this year's Madden NFL 25 may currently be under-performing versus last year, although it is too early to quantify the trend. That said, this was already expected as management of EA had indicated a high likelihood of a [year-over-year] decline due to the ongoing console transition. We expect sales to pick up once the next-gen consoles are launched in November this year," Bhatia wrote earlier this week.

Sterne Agee's position on the latest Madden title runs counter to Amazon's recent revelation that a special 25th anniversary edition of Madden NFL became the number one selling pre-order sports video game of all time on the site ahead of its 27 August release.