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Michael Pachter Predicts Doom for the Wii U, Likes Casual Games

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Michael Pachter, Managing Director of Equity Research at Wedbush Securities, had a few things to say about the future of the industry at the [a]list game marketing summit in San Francisco this past Thursday. While Pachter briefly talked about social games, the bulk of his presentation focused on the Wii U – which he doesn’t seem to have much faith in.

When asked about the likely price target for the next generation of consoles, Pachter tore into Nintendo’s fledgling game machine:

I think Nintendo’s in disarray. 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.

He continued, stating that he doesn’t believe someone would spent the extra money for a Wii U over an Xbox 360 with Kinect. Pachter doesn’t just take issue with the Wii U, however, as he believes the entire next generation is in danger of hitting a wall. He drew a comparison between the console industry and the TV industry, noting that no one is willing to buy new technology anymore because it’s hard to see any real improvement:

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.

But what about social games? While Pachter slammed the Wii as a “bubble,” he gushed all over Zynga and the casual and mobile gaming markets. Using the analogy of a casino, Pachter pointed out that while hardcore games and MMOs are like poker, casual titles are more akin to slot machines. “Everyone can figure them out, and they’re really mindless,” he said. He also defended Zynga against arguments that all of their games are the same, noting that “you could absolutely say that about first-person shooters. You could. They’re all the same game. Except they’re not. I would say that about Hidden Chronicles and Gardens of Time. I love Zynga games, and I get why they’re doing them.”

That isn’t to say Pachter doesn’t see room for improvement in the social arena, especially in regards to free-to-play titles. “Free to play should not be free. In Western cultures, we get nothing for free. It’s ad-supported if you don’t pay for it,” he said. The goal, according to Pachter, is to figure out a way to pick the pockets of the 98 percent of people who aren’t paying to play.

Regardless, he doesn’t seem to believe that free-to-play and casual games will destroy the AAA-title focus of the industry:

People are going to have that $60 – soon to be $70 – game play experience as long as there’s somebody who has a vested interest in making sure that happens.

Your Comments

  • avatar
    piemonkey said Feb 27th 2012 3:45 PM

    I like how is argument for Zynga games being similar is “You can say things that aren’t true.” Sounds like his entire career.

    Reply
  • avatar
    Steven said Feb 27th 2012 5:41 PM

    This guy is completely clueless, all you have to do is look up all his pass predictions which are wrong 99% of the time, why is he still in his position?

    Reply
  • avatar
    grimueax said Feb 27th 2012 5:52 PM

    Michael Pachter is the Harold Camping of video games.

    Reply
  • avatar
    Michell said Feb 27th 2012 10:39 PM

    “All the consoles now are running in 1080p”
    32 ps3 games… 80% 720p.

    Many people said the same about xbox graphics – that they had reached a level that wouldn’t be vastly updated. Personally, i’m still disappointed by the overall graphics produced by consoles (some racing games do fine), and i think that if the next gen do a similar leap in graphics as the last – we’ll be seeing what should be somewhat future proof.
    Besides, “graphics” as this douche claims seems to be nothing more single character polys. Real graphics would be HD images for every item in a game, running native 1080p+ (remember UHHD TVs are coming out), and always at at least 60fps.

    This generations consoles are done – the company claims they have more power – but they dont. The next one will be where its at (as long as they give it real ammounts of ram this time round).

    This guy is a joke. Wii-u will sell because its wii, and the touchpad will sell because people are retarded sheep who like new stuff.
    And i’ll buy it because i like zelda!
    Internets says almost every 1080p game is just upscaled.

    Reply
  • avatar
    Kelsey said Feb 28th 2012 9:41 PM

    I wish ALL sites would just stop running stories on this guy. He won’t go away as long as he gets all this attention. You’re telling him that what he’s saying is worth writing about. He’s just going to keep on doing it, and sites that write about him are just going to keep on looking like they themselves are desperate for comments/attention. Just please, ignore him. How anyone can call him an analyst is beyond me. He’s stirs up shit for a living. Nothing more.

    Reply

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