News Article

Pachter Pours Scorn Over Wii U Sales Projections

Posted by Damien McFerran

"Disappointing and unrealistic"

Whenever there are Nintendo-related sales figures to be discussed and dissected, you can almost guarantee that games industry analyst Michael Pachter will have some wisdom to impart. Nintendo recently proclaimed that it intended to shift 5.5 million Wii U consoles before April 2013, along with 24 million units of software - projections which Pachter predictably doesn't agree with.

In a note to investors, Pachter stated:

Wii U guidance is both disappointing (for hardware) and unrealistic (for software). [The projection data] implies an attach rate of over four games per console, which we view as highly unrealistic given the steep price of both console models (which will limit the applicable gamer’s ability to purchase additional games), 23 launch-day releases (with some likely to slip), a somewhat murky launch window that boasts many big names but lasts 4.5 months, and compelling competitive devices.

In our view, Nintendo was smart to introduce the Wii U at higher price points in order to maximize initial sales from its core audience...demand will probably wane once Nintendo’s core fan base has purchased the first 5 – 6 million units…we believe the console’s popularity will be somewhat limited beyond Nintendo’s core fan boy audience.

It wasn't all bad, however. Pachter - who, it must be remembered, was speaking on behalf of his employer, Wedbush Securities - had glowing praise for the recent announcement of the Skylanders: Giants Wii bundle, due to retail for a very reasonable $150 and packed with the console, Skylanders: Giants game and three Skylanders figurines.

We view the Skylanders Giants bundle as particularly compelling from a value perspective given that a stand-alone starter pack for the game…retails at $75, meaning that the consumer is paying only an incremental $75 for the Wii console and a number of accessories.

This positive news has led Wedbush to raise its fiscal year sales expectations for the Wii from 3.8 million units to 5 million.

Pachter's comments have a habit of triggering some pretty heated debate, but do you think he has a point here? Nintendo's projections are very optimistic indeed. Can the company really achieve that high attach rate with the Wii U? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

[via wired.com]

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User Comments (74)

kyuubikid213

#3

kyuubikid213 said:

Pachter...I don't even... What? The high price of the system? The "core fan boy audience?" Just stop.

GazPlant

#5

GazPlant said:

As much as I hate to say it, he is right again. 4 games per console given the games at launch is a bit unrealistic...

kyuubikid213

#7

kyuubikid213 said:

@GazPlant Perhaps for you, but not many other people. I myself plan to get Assassin's Creed III, NSMBU, ZombiU, Batman Arkham City, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, and Lego City Undercover by E3 next year. That's 6 games for me.

PeterW77

#8

PeterW77 said:

The way I see it is that this pachter chap works for a company and says things that are deemed controversial so that (a) it becomes a talking point and (b) keeps the company and himself in the news.

TrueWiiMaster

#10

TrueWiiMaster said:

I think he fails to realize that the "somewhat murky launch window that boasts many big names but lasts 4.5 months" has around 30 more games coming out for a total of about 50 games. With 50 games, Nintendo's hoping to sell 24 million copies (and that's probably including Nintendo Land btw), not to mention that they're getting the month before Christmas. It doesn't seem like an outrageous expectation to me, but hey, this guy's an analyst. He's always wrong, but he went to college.

SuperKMx

#11

SuperKMx said:

I'd say he's absolutely right on the money. I've not heard many folks saying that they'll be buying four or more titles at launch. Nintendo are putting far too much stock in the likes of Batman: Arkham City and Assassin's Creed III when not many folks will be swayed to spend another £45 for the "extra content" in Batman, and AC fans will have purchased the game a month before for whichever console they've played all the games in the series so far on. Same goes for FIFA 13.

I have preordered four games, but I'd be hard pushed to find another title that I'm genuinely looking forward to in the ridiculously long launch window. It'll feel like the Dreamcast UK launch all over again, I think. Plenty of excitement, then a whole bunch of downtime where every single release is scrutinized to death. Unlike the Dreamcast though, the games will turn up in time.

Aviator

#12

Aviator said:

Extra content being everything that is already avaliable in the game but being outsourced to the gamepad.

He is right. But hey, the fanboy's ain't gonna listen, so what's the point.

(Also, I have two games for launch, NL and Mario, but other than that it's bare bones until Monster Hunter).

OorWullie

#14

OorWullie said:

Well most of the core audience which he puts at 5-6 million are likely going to buy before April and most will buy more than 4 games in 6 months for their new console,even though some of you say you wont,you will.Then there is the extra sales they are going to pick up from the holiday period from unaware parents and the Just dance crowd and so on,so I don't think their predictions are that optimistic at all.

Sun

#15

Sun said:

Why do you Nintendo Life keep on writing pieces of news about everything that this so-called analyst Patcher says, when it is proved that he is not serious at all? Actually I think he earns more money with advertising related to his controversial sayings and you are making him richer with this free and undeserved advertising.

Araknie

#16

Araknie said:

Perfect Patcher, Nintendo just said they preview just 5 milion sales in that launch windows so it's totally perfect.
Be late as always. wink

Wowfunhappy

#17

Wowfunhappy said:

He's a respected Analyst in the industry, so what he says IS news.

Anyway, I do think four games per console is a bit ridiculous. Sure, many of the people on this site may buy that much, but we're (mostly) hardcore Nintendo fans...

asbel

#18

asbel said:

Those predictions sound quite realistic to me. Some of us might not be getting 4 titles AT LAUNCH true... but most Wii U owners should have that amount of games by April. Plus, like someone has previously mentioned, there are more titles coming out before then.

angelwhispers_

#19

angelwhispers_ said:

He isn't 'respected'. A lot of people laugh at him, but still quote him for those laughs and hits. Never mind. Truthfully, He's a failed c***ish politican who should be treated with the contempt he deserves.

As for the 4 launch titles? I doubt that, too, but it's not so unthinkable that Wii U owners could buy a game or 2 from the Wii back catalogue. I know I will :).

Chunky_Droid

#20

Chunky_Droid said:

I don't know about many other people (other than Navi, who's said he's getting two games) but I think I'll be purchasing roughly five games with my console, Nintendo Land, ZombiU, Mario, Scribblenauts and maybe either Assassin's Creed or Just Dance 4.

I honestly don't see where he gets off saying that the consoles are expensive, it's one of the cheapest launches we've had in Australia (for the basic pack, it's 50 bucks less than what the Wii started at, and the additional cost to get the premium pack is 80 dollars, which is less than what some people are selling Nintendo Land itself for).

Other than that, four at launch is a big ask, 4 during the first 6 months to a year might be more realistic.

ajcismo

#23

ajcismo said:

Damien, I bet every time Pachter opens his pie-hole you sit back in your office and giggle, cuz you know that story is gonna get hits. And flamethrowers.

angelwhispers_

#24

angelwhispers_ said:

@ChunkyDroid Too true. Also, $599, then when you consider that PS3 has been relaunched a second time, and they even INCREASED the price - I think he would do well to shut up.

Re: the 4 launch titles. I think it would be more accurate to say there are at least 4 games that everybody wants or wants to play in the list, but they won't have all at the same time.

MAB

#25

MAB said:

I predict this 1 litre bottle of Jack Daniels will definitely be finished by tomorrow... And I will have about 10 Wii U games within the first 2 months of release :) is another thing I can guarantee ;)

erv

#26

erv said:

Four is a bit much I think, if that is within the month. If it counts eshop stuff with that though, it's sceptical, as I'll buy two of those right from day 1. Also, if 4 games in the 4.5 months or so will do, than I think it is too conservative - it'll probably be more than that :)

SuperMinusWorld

#27

SuperMinusWorld said:

Actually, I think the 4.5 month long launch window would maintain momentum and interest for the Wii U. If all those games were released at the same time, there would doubtlessly be titles that would not find as much success as the titles that might overshadow them would. Also, considering the impressively long list of release titles for Wii U and the amount of people interested in buying several of them, I think the attach rate of 4 per console is more realistic than the pessimistic and arrogant Pachter is leading us to believe.

SuperMinusWorld

#28

SuperMinusWorld said:

Also, just saying, I plan on buying Pikmin 3, NSMBU, ZombiU, Rayman Legends, and Nintendo Land (if I can't find a copy of the Premium Edition).

Mk_II

#29

Mk_II said:

Im getting more & more convinced the guy either has a hidden agenda (Microsoft share-holder?) or just likes to troll to get more attention.

Haxonberik

#30

Haxonberik said:

I cant see where this price criticism comes from. But anyways the software aprox. IS pretty unrealistic.

Void

#31

Void said:

Well, I'm going to own atleast 5 games by the end of the launch window, probably one or two more, but the 4 games sold per system seems a little unlikely to happen.

adrenochrome

#33

adrenochrome said:

poor pachter who seems to ignore that everyone will be able to extend the console storage with external hd
hey mr pachter ! the wiiu design allow unlimited additional games purchases

hydeks

#34

hydeks said:

Pachter is saying what everybody that's not a Nintendo diehard has already realized :P

Personally, I have a PS3 and see no reason to get a system that is selling year old games for $59.99 at launch (Ninja Gaiden 3, Batman Arkham City, Mass Effect 3) and PlayStation said there commited to the hardcore, while Nintendo is airing "I'm not a gamer..." b.s commercials :P Yaaa.....Nintendo doesn't even seem to know what there doing anymore -_-

Burning_Spear

#36

Burning_Spear said:

I think four games per console is about right. Figure most people will buy a couple at launch, maybe get another for Christmas and buy one more after a couple of months. But I do share Pachter's disappointment with the hardware projection.

chiptoon

#37

chiptoon said:

I would take this very, very seriously if I were Nintendo. If anyone is an expert in disappointing and unrealistic statements its Pachter.

rjejr

#38

rjejr said:

@LittleIrves My thoughts exactly.

And on the subject of choice of words, who's idea was it to write -
"Nintendo recently proclaimed that it intended to shift"

Why use the word "Shift" rather than "Sell"? If Nintendo said "shift" to me that means 'get on store shelves' but if they said "sell" that means 'customers are buying them'. That's not just semantics, it's 2 completely different things. Especially in light of it being almost impossible to find a Wii on a store shelf for TWO FULL YEARS after it's launch in the NY metro area.

4 games sold in Nintendo's overly generous "launch window" seems realistic to me. The bundled Nintendo Land, NSMBU, Pikmin 3 and a game from a genre of your choice - ZombieU or Rayman or Skylanders or Just Dance or sports.

WingedSnagret

#39

WingedSnagret said:

It was only a matter of time before that obnoxious excuse of a life-form showed up. But at least he said one thing positive for once.

Edwrd

#40

Edwrd said:

I think early adopters are the people most likely to buy more games, then there is the crowd that waits for hardware price drops (myself included), who probably typically buy less games than early adopters. But I'm not buying the console, as much as I want to, it'll cost double the US price when it reaches here, and then I have to mail order games from overseas, WTF ... why can't Nintendo be like Samsung or Apple or even Sony and Microsoft and do true global roll outs? Sigh ...

LavaTwilight

#41

LavaTwilight said:

He gets too many things wrong too often for me to care what he says and for such large investment companies to listen to him. I previously noted I might no longer purchase a Wii U day 1 for various reasons and even if I did, it'd be just the sole bundle with Nintendoland. After this guy's 'projections' I might return to the original plan of buying the console with 4 games extra!

Wonder_Ideal

#42

Wonder_Ideal said:

Pachter is entitled to his opinion (right or wrong), but I don't see why a professional analyst is using the term "fan boys."

Ryno

#44

Ryno said:

I'm sure I will have at least 4 games for the Wii U games by Christmas

Daisaku36

#45

Daisaku36 said:

Well, using the term "fan boy" probably doesn't make him seem any more credible, but he MIGHT be right, with that being said, I don't see why at least 3 titles per console isn't feasible...especially considering a little game called Monster Hunter will be out in Japan. That's relevant because from day 1, one of the biggest system sellers in that region will be available, anyone asserting that that isn't at least marginally important for sales (notice how Nintendo isn't specifying a region) is more or less lying to themselves. That is all.

AVahne

#46

AVahne said:

Don't know, I intend to get 4 retail games at launch and 3 eshop and digital games. Then grabbing MH3U during the launch window.

Rect_Pola

#47

Rect_Pola said:

Huh, I must admit that I wasn't feeling much energy for this one, but I question the doom and gloom he's shoveling here.

GameLord08

#49

GameLord08 said:

Pachter may come off as an ignorant sharpshooter at times, but he does state some pretty insightful points at times (aside from sales projections and comparisons, IMO). I should know, I've interviewed him.

He said some okay stuff from what I just read. But here, he seems to forget that the Wii U's launch line-up isn't mainly composed of old ports, and besides that, developers are obviously not going to be willing to output their next-gen titles right now on only one console that can't be guaranteed maximum exposure; it's the consequence of Nintendo having the advantage as the next-gen starter. They currently still need to output all current-gen hits on the Wii U to ensure complete coverage for adopters of their platform, else they're inadvertently giving in to the competition (for now) for the sake of being 'next-gen'. Nintendo knows their game. Plus, Nintendo's also obviously keeping their bigger guns (first-party hits) in their arsenal for E3, so as not to be overshadowed by the alleged revelation of the PS4/720.

I'd say with a launch/launch-window line-up of about 50+ games, Nintendo's going good for a system's initial launch - the best it's ever been, in fact. And there are more games lined up for it than many currently care to realise, aside from ports and the obvious AAA titles.

As for price, I couldn't care less to comment on that. I think that's a matter of opinion, especially seeing as it doesn't seem to hinder compulsive buyers (hello there, Apple). For a next-gen console with presumably advanced hardware, £200/250 sounds delightful to me.

SCAR392

#50

SCAR392 said:

I don't know. I think he's kinda right on the game selling front, unless they count smaller eShop purchases as software. I mean, they are selling full retail downloads online, and that still counts. There will also be non-retail games like Trine, and other eShop games when it comes out, so actually, 4 games won't be an unrealistic number in those terms. Did they say that the Wii U Deluxe Nintendo Land game counts? I'm counting it as a game, so I'll have Nintendo Land, NSMBU, ZombiU, and/or Epic Mickey: The Power of Two. I'll have 4 games in one form or another is what I'm trying to say I guess.

Tate24

#51

Tate24 said:

i think there some truth to statement=/

am struggling to save enough money get wii U premium. Its very expensive in my opinion.

specially in ages were money tight.

No way i afford more 3 games! not when there all probably gonna be priced £39.99.

Am not millionaire nintendo =(

Neram

#52

Neram said:

Every time he uses the word "fanboy" he loses all credibility. Stop being such a jaded a**hole Pachter, grow up.

As for his point, I agree to an extent. I think he's forgetting the people who just want the latest and greatest tech toy, there will be a few hundred thousand of those as well. It's clear that Pachter has a grudge against Nintendo fans simply because he gets scorned by the loud mouth, immature ones all the time. I think he needs to learn to stop generalizing Nintendo fans.

SomeBitTripFan

#55

SomeBitTripFan said:

So, this is either a reasonable or pessimistic goal and the Wii U will have sell at least 5.5 million units along with 24 million units of software by April 3013. I should buy some Ninty stock!

Yee

#56

Yee said:

Many here are missing one key point, people won't buy 4 games at launch, that is quite obvious, but they'll probably buy 1 game per month, that doesn't sound unrealistic at all, specially with games like Wii Fit (44 millions copies sold) and Mario (I think I don't need to give any number here) in the launch window.

Bankai

#57

Bankai said:

Pachter: <Statement about the gaming market>
Nintendo Fan: "WELL I PERSONALLY DON'T MATCH WHAT PACHTER SAYS SO CLEARLY HE IS WRONG.

Sounds legit.

gundam00

#58

gundam00 said:

@Yee Agreed! When I get around to buying a Wii U (probably after the holidays for me), I'll only be getting two games at most. The Wii U and two games are gonna cost $500.

Gamer83

#59

Gamer83 said:

Pachter is and always will be a complete joke. It's pathetic how badly he wants to see Nintendo fail.

Bankai

#60

Bankai said:

Just like all those analysts that are telling people not to buy stocks in European banks "badly want to see all the banks fail."

Analysts find it funny when people lose their jobs and fortunes, see.

GreenDream

#61

GreenDream said:

Well, now we know the Wii U will be a succcess. Pachter has officially given Nintendo his "blessing in disguise". ;P

GreenDream

#62

GreenDream said:

So I guess he's also saying every console's appeal is limited beyond their core fanboy audience... and he thinks "higher" price points have lowered from $600 to $350... boy, is he in for a surprise when the neXtBox and PS4 get announced...

Where are his Vita criticisms?

Oh, and if I get a Wii U, I would get Nintendo Land, Game and Wario, Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for sure. So that meets his attach rate criteria.

Rekiotsu

#63

Rekiotsu said:

This time he is not being hugglebunny, I think he has a point. I am Nintendo core fan and I will buy Wii U no matter what. But will everybody buy Wii U no matter what? I sure hope so but I doubt it.

TheAdza

#67

TheAdza said:

He probably is right. The only games i will be buying are NSMBU and Scribblenauts Unlimited. I get Nintendo Land as a pack in. That's all i can afford right now. I would love to get Mass Effect 3 as I havent had the chance to play any of that series, but seeing how the trilogy is coming out soon for the other HD consoles, the Wii U version will seem lacking. Not really interested in anything else right now. But I will have a good collection in the coming years I can guarantee that. I did have 40+ Wii games at one stage. All bought new. I think that's down to just over 20 now.

edhe

#68

edhe said:

It's funny how the word "Troll" is now banned on this website, but people are still free to throw around the word "Fanboy" to shame people into stopping their discussion.

WolfRamHeart

#69

WolfRamHeart said:

There are all types of "fanboys" out there. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, PC, etc. It is funny how some people use that word as if it only applies to Nintendo fans. People are going to like what they like. No point trying to change their opinion when it doesn't match your own. Instead try to focus on what makes you happy.

Moshugan

#70

Moshugan said:

I've already pre-ordered four games along with my Wii U. So THERE Mr. Pachter!

Sean_Aaron

#72

Sean_Aaron said:

I've pre-ordered the Deluxe model, but I have to confess no software. Partially this is down to finances (I'm expecting some big OT money at the end of November so I think I'm covered) and partially I just need to see what's coming up. At ~£50/game I definitely won't be getting four titles before the end of the year. The only thing that's a must-have for me near launch is Zombi-U.

On the flip side my daughter is playing games more now and the asymmetric multiplayer has me strongly considering titles I wouldn't bother with if I was the only one likely to play them: Mario Bros and Rayman being the main ones as I'm not a platforming fan.

I might not buy four titles before the year is out, but if the quality is there I could well fall into my old Wii buying habit of a title every month so who knows what the picture will look like if others are also taking a wait-and-see attitude?

Slapshot

#73

Slapshot said:

I have a lot of respect for Pachter and his recent interview we ran with him he was quite optimistic about Wii U's future - compared to all the "doom and gloom" you typically hear about after many journos snippet his words to death.

Thanks Damien for the non-biased write-up! Pachter was very genuine in his statements and his reasoning behind them. :)

Minny

#74

Minny said:

For every person that purchases 1-2 games, there is some spoiled child or insane adult who will get 7-9, so it evens out.

I personally have purchased 4 titles for the Wii U. I plan on purchasing several from the eShop. Once the first round of price cuts happens on the games ported (out on other consoles for more than 6 months) to the Wii U, I will pick up some of those. Lastly, after giving Rayman Legends a play today, that game made it back on my "to buy" list. . .

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