Industry Analyst Declares Wii U "Two Years Too Late"

Video game industry analyst Michael Pachter has a reputation for accurate sales forecasts and an ability to predict changes in console pricing. That said, Pachter may have gone a bridge too far with his bifurcated discussion concerning Nintendo's Wii U. While he praised the Wii U as "the most impactful reveal of the show," Pachter has declared the Wii U brand unimaginative and implied it qualified as a "worst ever."

The real criticism, however, is reserved for Nintendo's hardware decisions. "We think that Wii U is arriving two years late, given that the other HD consoles already have peripherals for movement," said Pachter, reasoning that since Nintendo didn't get specific about tech specs, the Wii U "is unlikely to provide greater power than the current HD consoles." His argument is that Nintendo is giving up a massive 'first mover' advantage, and handing whatever power it might have garnered back to its top two rivals. MS and Sony, he figures, will have cut prices on the XBox 360 Kinect and PS3 Move to the point where they'll undercut Nintendo's 2012 Wii U launch.

Two Sides To Every Story

We're not convinced Pachter's tea leaves are all that clear. Both Sony and MS have gone on record as stating that their full focus remains with the PS3 / XBox 360 respectively. While it's reasonable to think the two companies have begun evaluating their next-generation prospects, new consoles are likely at least three years away.

Unlike Sony and Microsoft, both of which initially lost money on every console they sold, the Wii is thought to have made money since day one. The Wii U could easily do the same at launch, which would put Nintendo in a very different position than its competitors. Sony and Microsoft need a console to live long enough to recoup and then surpass its initial production costs. Nintendo isn't necessarily chained to console sales in quite the same way.

The Wii proved graphics aren't the determining factors in a console's sale. The Wii U should be able to match existing solutions for the XBox 360 and PS3, if not surpass them. The R600 at the heart of the XBox 360 is a first-generation HD Radeon part that was notoriously slow, hot, and inefficient compared to the HD 3000, 4000, and 5000 series that succeeded it. There's no reason to think the Wii U's solution won't blow the pants off the XBox's chip in terms of pure GPU performance, particularly if Nintendo keeps the vastly upgraded tessellation hardware that's now incoporporated into the Radeon HD family.

Pachter is right when he says Nintendo may squander its first move advantage, but that's an inherent risk any time a company does anything that doesn't lock-step with its competitors. We're not convinced that Nintendo avoided talking about the Wii U's specs because it would look bad compared to the PS3 or XBox 360. The fill rates and performance levels of both systems are downright lousy by modern standards; a modern Radeon HD solution offers a higher clockspeed and substantially more texture filter units and render outputs.

We suspect Nintendo has avoided talking hardware precisely because the company made a name for the Wii by avoiding specs comparisons and emphasizing gameplay. That strategy worked stupendously well for Nintendo five years ago; there's no overriding reason why the company should abandon it now.
Via:  CNET
omegadoom13 3 years ago

Will the Wii U attract the attention of hardcore gamers like the Xbox and PS3 usually do? Will the Wii U offer titles that will appeal to these hardcore gamers as well as titles that appeal to Nintendo's main customer base, namely familes with young children and teenagers? I think the recent criticism concerning the Wii U has less to do with hardware specs and more to do with software, that is, can Nintendo convince developers and publishers to create new games for the Wii U that will get the attention of hardcore gamers.  I don't see why not.  From what we know so far, the Wii U can match or even outperform current Xbox and PS3's.  This fact alone should convince developers and publishers of games catering to hardcore gamers to consider the Wii U.

AKwyn 3 years ago

[quote user="omegadoom13"]think the recent criticism concerning the Wii U has less to do with hardware specs and more to do with software, that is, can Nintendo convince developers and publishers to create new games for the Wii U that will get the attention of hardcore gamers.[/quote]

Yes; I'm sure that game developers will go nuts over the fact that they both have graphical power and a second screen to program secondary stuff to it.

Also graphics are not essential to a hardcore game, the fact that you can use both a motion controller and the Wii U controller proves that there can be an audience for both hardcore and casual gamers. I don't see what these investors are all worked up over.

MLawson 3 years ago

Michael Pachter is a cnut. And he's rarely accurate. Statistically less than 1/3 of the time. Why he still has a job, I don't know.

MangaFox 3 years ago

What a moron! How is this guy an "industry analyst"? Seriously, Pachter--did you see Microsoft's "Kinectmania" presentation at E3 this year? THAT was two years behind! What Nintendo is doing is actually better timing that you credit them for.

They were PURPOSELY waiting for the HDTV market to rise, for technology for better graphics than PS3 to become more efficient and cheaper, and for a time where they could sit comfortable with that for about 10 years. I say 10 years because we're about 10-15 years away from hyperrealism on home computers, and probably longer for gaming consoles. Whatever PS4 and Xbox 720 offer, it won't be much more significant than Wii U, or else it will be expensive overkill. We haven't even used more than half the PS3's total power yet for a game--the Wii U will be plenty for many years.

Nintendo waited, which is better management, and shows wisdom and character about them that Sony and Microsoft could learn a thing or two from. BOTH Sony and Microsoft put themselves at huge initial profit losses with their consoles (in fact, with every gaming system they've both ever produce) all in efforts of being the cutting-edge technology first. Sony did it again with PS Vita, as they announced they are at a three-year-loss in profits with Vita. It's their only strategy in this gaming industry, really. Wait to see what the "innovative" ones do, and then adopt their concept with more debt-inducing hot-off-the-presses technology.

Sony and Microsoft could not possibly offer anything significantly stronger than a Wii U that'll get reasonably utilized. Most companies couldn't at all afford to develop games for any "significantly more powerful" console than Wii U that would really show their major difference--if Sony and Microsoft could even afford to market the cutting-edge technology themselves--and even then, any noticeable difference wouldn't be SO wide and impressive that they totally overshadow Wii U's higher-end of graphics.  These two companies would either have to settle for being a slight bit stronger than Wii U, or risk super-expensive console trying to totally surpass them, but still falling well short of hyperrealism.  But neither Sony or Microsoft have even mentioned PS4 or Xbox 720 yet. They're still pushing their products in which BOTH rather recently started producing positive profits with--remember all that initial loss of profits just to have it all now?

But now Nintendo has a product that will both outperform these two consoles, have a head start in the next-generation of gaming, and last for many years to come (even in the face of a PS4 or 720), offering both innovation to gaming and advanced HD graphics.  Not to mention, they STILL get to be true to their vision of being inclusive with their product, as Wii U is easily for both "hardcore" gamers and families on family night alike.  PLUS they make all  of people's Wii peripherals useful to Wii U (thus many gamers already have extra controller options for Wii U).  By the time PS4/720 finally reveals, Wii U will still be comfortably advanced, incredibly unique, and ready for a price drop to compete with their competitors, who will surely imitate Wii U. That's having your cake and eating it, too! That's not being two years behind--that's being about 8-10 years ahead!

So go smoke THAT in your pipe, Mr. supposed "Industry Analyst"!

omegadraco 3 years ago

Great comment MagnaFox I completely agree and I think this guy is a moron. There are plenty of hardcore gamers that even bought the Wii. I love the fact that Nintendo is making the new console so that all existing controllers are compatible and the games are backwards compatible so they already have a game library.

Developers of course will be attracted to the console since it is just about guaranteed to be more powerful than all current generation consoles.

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