Analyst Pachter Thinks Nintendo President Iwata Should Be Fired
Yesterday marked Nintendo president and CEO SatoruIwata's 54th birthday.
A member of the Nintendo ranks since 2000, Iwata's illustrious career has taken him from part-time programmer at HAL Laboratory in the early 1980s to company president in May 2002. The fourth in Nintendo's legacy, Iwata is the first president unrelated to the founding Yamauchi family through either blood or marriage. He was named one of the world's top CEOs in 2007 by Barron's Magazine, largely thanks to the Nintendo Wii's record-breaking sales numbers.
And Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities analyst, thinks he should be fired.
Earlier this week, Pachter spoke at the Game Monteization USA Summit in San Francisco, predicting this future of this generation of consoles and the video game industry.
"I don't think you're ever going to see 500 million consoles out there," he said, noting that while more people are playing games on more devices than ever, it doesn't look like the market for console gaming is going to continue to grow apace.
Much of his doom and gloom prophesying were levied against the console race between the PlayStation 4 (predicted to sell 100 to 120 million units throughout the generation's lifetime) and the Xbox One (expected to sell 90 to 110 million units).
Who does he think will win?
The reason Sony beats Microsoft is solely the price," Pachter noted. "Microsoft loses the next generation unless they cut price. If Microsoft drops its price to $399, I expect the sales to be equal to the PS4."
His numbers keep apace of the current sales for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 at about 80 million units each, but does not even compare to the hundreds of millions that others have estimated for the new console generation.
For these two console giants though, Pachter had a few positive things to say:
"Sony thrives, Nintendo doesn't" - saying it's impressive as a game playing device. "The graphics are phenomenal, and the huge RAM makes future innovation likely," Pachter pointed out. He noted that the multimedia features remain unclear, but the CPU power of the PS4 allows the potential for huge improvement in the future.
As for the Xbox One, Pachter noted it's impressive as a multimedia device, and the added features of Kinect and Skype give it additional value. "We're sticking with our prediction of a built-in TV tuner" for the Xbox One, Pachter said, which would simplify the ability of the Xbox One to control your television viewing.
But the darkest news was saved for Nintendo and the future of the Wii U, estimated at selling 30 million "or fewer" consoles.
"I don't know why [Nintendo President] Iwata is still employed."
Pachter argues that Nintendo is missing out on a huge opportunity, and advocates porting Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS titles to mobile phones and tablets - the real future of mobile gaming. He believes doing so will yield massive profits and draw millions of new fans to its systems.
The Wii U has long been lagging last in the great console run, seemingly unable to duplicate the worldwide smash success of the Wii. Iwata himself has admitted that a distinct lack in game titles for the Wii U is the key factor behind poor sales. But while others insist that the introduction of top Nintendo staples (Mario, The Legend of Zelda, etc.) is all it will take to rejuvenate the Wii U's sales growth, Pachter consider it possible "but unlikely."
And what about the industry as a whole?
"The next generation of consoles is probably the last," says Pachter. "We expect frequent model updates instead of new consoles."
Instead, interest is going to turn back to the PC. "I think the PC is going to make a comeback, the PC will be the hub of all this stuff."
To be fair, the PC could certainly use a revival in quality. The gaming industry of late has been in a console-centric slide for years, with new PC titles appearing as almost an afterthought - all ported over from their intended console audiences.
Such titles have varying degrees of success with their control integration, but the virtual disappearance of quick-saving, pages of menus that should otherwise fit on a single screen, and confirmation pop-ups remain an unpleasant reminder that PC gaming has come off second best in game design for far too long.
Still, here's what I want to know... a full speech and diatribe later, Pachter has absolutely nothing to say about the insane success of the newest Nintendo handheld. As Destructoid puts it, "the Nintendo 3DS continues to print money."
Much better to focus on the Wii U, evidently.