Michael Pachter, infamous crystal-ball-gazer of the video game industry, had plenty to say at the Game Monetization Summit, and none of it was very nice.
Pachter didn’t hold back, laying down his candid and current assessments as well as predictions for the future.
“We’re going to see non-traditional forms of gaming proliferate, as they have been for the last ten years,” said Pachter. He backed up this statement with a lot of numbers showing the growth of digital sales alongside the decline of regular packaged games. He proceeded to predict, “I think probably within three years every game made will be offered as a digital download.”
However, he did also note that “overall, the game industry is really healthy.”
For those on the fence about whether or not to buy into Nintendo’s Wii U – Pachter had some not so encouraging words for the newly launched console.
“I think you’re going to see now with the Wii U, notwithstanding its early launch support, nobody’s going to support it,” Pachter claimed. “I don’t think we’re going to see every game on the Wii U next year. I think when next-gen consoles come out they’re going to be better than the Wii U. Call of Duty is amazing on the Wii U this year. The problem with playing Call of Duty online is it’s a community and if there’s only four people playing it on the Wii U it’s no fun. Nobody in their right mind would buy a Wii U and say ‘I’m going to play Call of Duty.’ That’s like saying ‘I gave up Facebook, and it’s Google+ now’.”
Pachter was a lot more optimistic about next-gen offerings from Sony and Microsoft however.
“Next-generation consoles are going to have big hard drives, they’re also going to have disc drives,” predicted Pachter. “I would guess that the PS4 and the Xbox 720 will have 2 TB hard drives. That pretty much means you can download anything you want and never get rid of anything. You’ll have room for a couple of hundred games, no problem.”
And perhaps his most controversial analysis was on Call of Duty, which he called a “failure” – an interesting outlook on a game which has made over a billion dollars in two weeks.
“I know the game sells billions of dollars. Activision did a bad thing with Call of Duty from a profit perspective. They trained gamers that you can buy a game and play it all year, ten hours a week, forever, and you never have to pay again. You just wait for the next Call of Duty. I promise you there are plenty of people, numbering in the millions, who play one game, which is Call of Duty, and they never stop. That’s just like the people who play World of Warcraft and never stop, yet the World of Warcraft guys are paying $180 a year, and the Call of Duty guys are paying $60. So who’s got a better model? This multiplayer thing being free was a mistake. I don’t think anybody ever envisioned it would be this big. It’s a mistake because it keeps those people from buying and playing other games.”
Pachter then set his sights on Zynga, the onetime social gaming giant that has been on a steep decline for the last year.
“Zynga lacked profitability. I have never seen anything like this; like watching a train wreck. The darling of Wall Street, the best company ever, in the course of about two months became the worst company ever, completely hated by Wall Street. Zynga launched at $10, rose to $15, and sank to $2. They have $2 per share in cash. The equity value, the value of the business, is 25 cents per share. The company was worth $12 billion, down to $250 million; that’s how far it dropped.”
Finally, Pachter had some bleak words for Nintendo’s future. “I think Nintendo becomes completely irrelevant,” Pachter claimed. “They have their niche, Nintendo’s first-party content is great content, and hardcore people will keep buying their consoles, but they’re not going to only play with Nintendo consoles.”
What do you think of Pachter’s analysis? Hard-hitting wisdom or sensationalist hot air? Tell us your views in the comments.
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