Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has sure had a hot streak of comments lately that have managed to start more than a few fires beneath the gaming community’s collective backside. Whether it’s been pointing the finger at the industry for not monetizing multiplayer or preemptively calling the PSP2 dead on arrival, the polarizing pixel prophet’s proclamations have certainly been entertaining at the very least. Now, Pachter has his all-seeing eye fixated on Nintendo and the follow-up to the Wii. Prepare for some mind-blowing insight:
“I think that their next console will be on par technologically with the current PS3 and Xbox 360, and don’t expect them to advance technology at all with their next offering. They will undoubtedly advance game play, and are likely to further innovate there, but I don’t think that the classic term ‘generation’ can be applied to that, if there aren’t more pixels and a faster frame rate offered up.”
Wait, that’s it? That was the big prediction? Nintendo is going to make innovating gameplay a higher priority than seeing how much technology they can cram into an overpriced box? Maybe next he can drop a press release to let everyone know that Santa will be going with the red suit this year, or that Game Rant will continue to be an awesome gaming website.
All kidding aside, this is about as no-brainer as it gets. Nintendo has firmly stood by the ideology that better tech doesn’t necessarily mean better games. With releases like Super Mario Galaxy 2, Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Metroid: Other M receiving praise from both gamers and critics, it’s difficult not to see where they are coming from. Meanwhile, both PlayStation Move and Kinect, packed to the gills with all the tech and high definition bells and whistles one could hope for, have yet to release — or even announce — an intriguing piece of software that screams “killer app.” There is obviously huge potential for the two motion control systems, but neither of them jumped out of the gates and into the lead based solely on what’s under the hood.
However, even with the current state of the motion market, Pachter is still convinced Nintendo will be behind the game:
“The point of this long diatribe is that Nintendo now finds itself in a position of having to play catch up. Kinect and Move will have an installed base of 8 – 10 million by the end of 2010, and a base of 20 – 25 million by the time Nintendo launches its ‘next’ generation console.”
Declaring that Nintendo is going to have to play catch-up is like saying that once a first place runner has lapped the other runners, then they are behind. With Sony and Microsoft both racing to get their motion tech to market, it seems rather absurd to not view them as the ones trailing behind.
However, the point that Pachter fails to understand is that motion gaming is still basically a separate market from traditional gaming. Motion based inputs have yet to firmly take hold of or insert itself into regular gaming in any sort of meaningful way, leaving the two, for the moment, totally different experiences. In that regard, Nintendo isn’t behind anyone simply because they aren’t putting themselves in the same battle.
To play devil’s advocate, it is truly tough to say what Nintendo will do with their next home console? Who’s to say they won’t dump some serious hardware into their next box? They are releasing a handheld, the 3DS, that will be competitive on the hardware side. Not to mention, it will likely be priced a fair bit higher than what casual gamers and parents are used to when it comes to handheld gaming. Perhaps Nintendo will throw caution to the wind and do the same with the Wii 2.
No one can say what Nintendo will do. That’s what makes them Nintendo. That’s what makes them an innovator. And that’s what makes them so fun to watch. Will the Wii 2 be a technological marvel? Will it even use the same type of remote? Is Pachter right, and will the Wii 2 just be a slightly beefed up model of the current version that will harm Nintendo’s grip on the market? We’ll just have to wait and see on this one.
Source: Industry Gamers