Pachter: Nintendo NX Can Compete Against Modest Mid-Cycle Upgrades


Wedbush Securities research analyst Michael Pachter has indicated that Nintendo NX can be “a solid, competitive console” against “modest” mid-cycle upgrades that Microsoft and Sony have positioned in the year ahead.

After swooning over Nintendo’s impressive E3 2016 booth, Pachter responded to a question that asked whether The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be enough of a draw to carry the Nintendo NX launch with PlayStation 4 Neo, Xbox One S, and Project Scorpio on the horizon.

While once again scorning the path that Nintendo took with Wii U, he indicated his belief that if the company can regain third-party support there’s every chance that they can “get their mojo back.”

“The answer is, the Wii U has sucked,” he explained on Siftd’s Pachter Factor. “It’s a complicated, hard-to-use console because the GamePad just adds a layer of complexity that’s not intuitive and people didn’t like it. It wasn’t well designed, the GamePad didn’t have a battery life that was efficient for people who play more than an hour at a time. And, they didn’t have third-party support.

“They really lost third-party support. EA supported the launch and then stopped making games for it after a year. If you don’t have third-party support the only people that end up buying a Nintendo console are fanboys, who only want to play Nintendo games. Now, flip that over. If you are not a Nintendo fanboy but you love Nintendo games, the cost of playing them is you’ve got to buy a second console. Because, you’re already playing GTA or FIFA on your Xbox One or PS4. So, just to play Nintendo games, it’s hard to justify a console. With one exception, Zelda. I totally get why people would buy an NX to play Zelda. It’s a frickin’ great game.

“I don’t know if Nintendo is telling me the truth, they’re not liars. But I don’t know if Nintendo is exaggerating for a fact, but they told me that the map in Breath of the Wild is 12 times the size of the map in Twilight Princess. Like I said, I don’t really know what that means but it sounds like there’s 12 times as much to do.”

He continued, “The point is, it sounds like a much, much bigger game. And, if the game is as big as they say, that’s enough. You will buy a console just to play that game. Obviously they are going to have other games coming up behind it. I think that they recognised a year or two ago that the Wii U was kind of over. I think they probably diverted all of their development efforts to support the NX. Zelda is going to be essentially a launch title, it will be the biggest game out.

“So, I think the NX kind of quickly sells the same install base as the Wii U and, assuming the NX is not as complicated as the Wii U. Assuming that they’ve sold the GamePad problems, whether it’s just a conventional controller or they’ve fixed the battery life, made it more of a tablet, and there’s more to do with the NX. If they can get third-party support, I think they’re going to be competitive again.

“I frankly think that they’re benefitted by the Xbox One S not being an upgrade over the Xbox [One], it’s just thinner and lighter. I think they’re benefitted by the PS4 Neo and the Xbox Scorpio essentially being mid-cycle, modest upgrades intended, I think, to support VR, and all fully backward compatible. Maybe the NX is coming at the right time.

“It looks a lot to me like the NX is going to be essentially a PS4 in a Nintendo case. If it’s that powerful, if it’s easy enough architecturally for all the publishers to support, so FIFA, Call of Duty and Battlefield are on the NX, then absolutely I think this thing is going to sell really well. Let’s hope Nintendo get their mojo back, let’s hope they get third-party publisher support. If they do, I frankly think it is enough to carry the NX launch. If they get third-party support, it will sell 20 – 50 million units and be a solid, competitive console.”

It has been confirmed that Nintendo NX is scheduled to release worldwide in March 2017.

Comments 5
    1. @Brian Mazzeo
      You mean trash he talked about Nintendo or trash in general?

      If the first, I can hardly disagree. At E3 2004 Reggie basically announced, in damage-controlling terms, that Nintendo was fully intending to stop catering to their most hardcore fans, and was instead looking to capture their so called blue ocean. We ended up with two underpowered dust-collectors. One did well financially (due to misleading TV ads), the other was a disaster.

      Reasoning was as follows. Nintendo innovated with shoulder buttons. Nintendo innovated with analog sticks. Nintendo was the innovator, so they had to keep innovating. Hence motion control. But motion control did not outlast its generation. It was a financially successful, critically unsuccessful gimmick, intended to trick a generation of buyers into paying too much money for an underpowered system.

      From a business perspective, it was clever. But if this is how you want to play the game, it will hurt your integrity, and it will come to bite you in the end.

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