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Nintendo, Wii U are "toast," says Pachter

At the [a]list Summit 2012 in San Francisco, Pachter unloaded on Nintendo and next -gen consoles

The [a]list game marketing summit in San Francisco featured Michael Pachter, Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities, as keynote speaker, and he provided some interesting observations.

"I think Nintendo's in disarray," Pachter said. Regarding the pricing of the upcoming Wii U, Pachter was brutally frank. "I think the idea that we don't know the price point yet, but we do know what the console is, is just sad. I think they've completely blown that. It's gonna launch at $249; because it has to. They're dead if they launch at $259, I think they're toast then. I think they're toast anyway." Why? "I think the Xbox 360 with Kinect will be priced below that by the time they launch."

Pachter went on to talk about the next console generation in general. "I'm a little worried about the next generation because I actually think we've gotten to the point where people don't care any more. Have you played NBA 2K? It looks like a frickin' movie. The facial animation isn't great, but the game looks like a movie. It doesn't get any better than that. I'm actually worried about them in general."

Pricing of next-gen consoles is an important factor, according to Pachter. "Price I think is everything, because I don't think features matter that much. If Microsoft launches at $600 it's over."

Read more about Pachter's observations on next generation consoles, social games, and why the gaming industry is like casino gaming in the full article at the [a]

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Latest comments (8)

Sergiu Badau Wittenberger QA Tester 9 years ago
Seriously? NBA 2k looks like a movie and it can't get better than that? I think over exaggerating is part of his job then.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Sergiu Badau Wittenberger on 3rd March 2012 6:47am

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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago

"the decline in Wii and DS hardware and software sales drove them into generating LOSSES. For those of you who aren't financial analysts, losses mean that the company is worth less than it was before"

Someone feel free to correct me, but that isn't technically true - it just means that a company has lost money over a year. Usually it follows that the stock depreciates because of investor concern, but that's not quite what he said. Whilst it might be he's dumbing it down for the target audience, it seems more likely he's just a) trying to get headlines or b) trolling the internet.

Reading his comments, it definitely feels like a bit of a and b. As an example:

"All the consoles now are running in 1080p, so what are we gonna get? 60 frames per second standard, and 120 frames per second occasionally? Who cares? Have you played NBA 2K? It looks like a frickin' movie. The facial animation isn't great, but the game looks like a movie. It doesn't get any better than that. I'm actually worried about them in general."

60fps in every game ever would be really nice (L. A. Noire has a 30fps lock, even on PC), and animation in games varies enormously - the fact that he doesn't recognize the value of either thing is somewhat shocking. Though technically both of these things are possible now, publishers very rarely give developers time to tweak things, and one of those things is ensuring constant 60fps.

With regards to his comments re: Wii U pricing, given the fact that hardware and chip manufacturers are still recovering from the floods in Asia (HDD prices still haven't settled), I see no reason why Nintendo should tie themselves publically to a price just yet.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 3rd March 2012 11:18am

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Private Industry 9 years ago
Oh pachter. I dont see the Wii U initialy targeting the casual market and I would rather pay 300 to get a Wii U than 150 for Kinect as the games dont appeal to me and I'm quite happy to use a controller to mavigate menus.

Graphics can always get better and sports games like NBA have it is. Its a small playing field with a limited amount of characters and its indoor so no weather effects required. Basketball games where always among the nest looking games due to those limitations. Someone should give him BF3 or Crysis 2 DX11 to play with highest settings if he thinks console graphics cant get any better. You can always make better textures, more improved AI and physics, character models and so on. As example one thing that strikes me always as horrible looking is when somebody poors liquid into a glass and drinks it.

If the Wii U has enough new IPs and Alien really looks a lot better on it I might consider getting one.
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Show all comments (8)
David Doe Secretary, Gamers4Croydon9 years ago
Pachter was the same guy that said Nintendo was finished after they announced the Wii.

Why does anyone still listen to what this guy has to say?
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 9 years ago
Wow. I'm a bit blown away by the idea that a supposed professional games industry analyst thinks that graphic quality is all about pixels and frame rate, and nothing else.

And why does he consider the home console model to have a lot of life left in it due to hard core gamers, but not the portable console model? Because hard core gamers won't flee to Facebook casual games, but they will flee to iPhone casual games?
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Morgan Amelia Bromage Animation Artist 9 years ago
I personlly think he's talking out of his backside. Graphics arent everything in a game, I still play older titles because of the story and gameplay, not because it looks like a movie.
I couldnt give a rats arse if NBA looked like a movie. If i want to watch a movie, i watch a movie. If i want to play a game, what comes first is ENJOYMENT via gameplay, story, concept and THEN graphics. I can guarantee NBA will be dated in a year. This is classic 'Nintendo will fail because their games are for kids' whinging, which I'm fedup of hearing. I can bet my left arm I get more enjoyment out of Wind Waker than NBA. This guy isnt worth the salary he's paid, what a joke.
Apologies for typos, my excuseisI'm onan iPad haha.
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Private Industry 9 years ago
Well graphicsvcan add tovthe enjoyment of a game. Wind waker looks very good and has a great art style. And going back to older games you know they dont look that great and I still play PS1 games, but a RE2 would be more enjoyable with updated HD graphics (and controlls).

Power is important not only for how good something looks, but physics, AI and how many things can be done. Hence you miss out on games like GTA, AC, Batman and so on because you would need to downscale and remove so much that its not worth it. In that way one has to wonder what happens to multiplatform games on Wii U if the next Xbox or Playstation turns out to be a lot better than the Wii U. If its too much work to port it over they are in the same boat as with the Wii. Its not very likely, but you never know. But to find out whatvthe next gen can do we need to wait to see it and same goes for Wii U, they didnt show any playable games yet only tech demos.
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Paul Jones Game Designer, Supermassive Games9 years ago
Quite a shocking read. I think he's missed the point on a lot of the issues raised.

I believe he is accurate in saying that the wii has declined because they haven't updated soon enough. When I look at a wii console being played, it does look very dated. We've all grown so accustomed to HD graphics, standard def just looks shoddy.
Its sad that this has driven people away, because they are still producing some wonderful and innovative games that are only let down by the hardware.

The Wii U is risky, but I don't think the price will be the kicker. A great number of the wii community is comprised of casual gamers, who do not necessarily keep up to date with the latest developments. Many of their community may not even be aware of the existence of a next gen console, and may struggle to understand where the benefit of upgrading lies.
I find myself struggling to see who they plan to target with the new console. Its more powerful, but compared to the capabilities that we will see in the next gen of xbox and playstation, its going to be lacking. This will put off a lot of hardcore gamers.
Casual gamers may not see the benefits. A lot of them won't be so fussed about power and HD, they just want fun and innovation. And a console with a similar name, one new controller and a set of identical controllers may just look like a waste of money for little return.
I hope I'm wrong though :-)

As for Pachters comments on graphical capability and pricing, this just isn't accurate. Eventually you do hit a fps limit, where the human eye simply can't see any improvement. But this is such a small aspect of graphical quality. Games don't look like movies just yet. They look good, but anyone with hands on experience will know that there is a long way to go, and that none of us will ever hang up our boots and say that we've gotten the best we can get.
The power of a console doesn;t just dictate the graphics either. As stated by others, your power gives you greater control over content. We had FPS's in the 1990's that allowed a player to navigate a 3D environment and shoot at things, but no one will say that what we have today is merely an aesthetic upgrade to early FPS titles.

As for pricing of the xbox. Well. The PS3 retailed at close to 600 when it released, and its sold just fine :-) launch prices fall, early adopters will shell out, others will wait a year or 2, everyone will want to buy.
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