For those of you who remain blissfully unaware, there is one among us who considers himself the sage of all video game futures. His analysis has been sought by numerous news media outlets who have shown they ALSO do not know anything about video games. His predictions, while invariably wrong, are still discussed with serious consideration. I am, of course, referring to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, host of Pach Attack, and one of the foremost minds in video game futures analysis, as long as you want that analysis to be wrong.
While most of you will need no introduction to this man or proof of his idiocy, here are a few gems of his wisdom.
Predicting the death of Nintendo
Michael Pachter first predicted the death of Nintendo as a gaming console producer in 2006, just before the Wii launched. Pachter famously declared that the Wii’s motion controls were a gimmick, and that the gaming community would recognize it as such and not buy it in droves.
Yikes, what a bad call. The Nintendo Wii would go on to sell over 100 million units worldwide, making it easily the best selling console of the seventh generation. Of course, with the sales piling up year over year, nothing would stop Pachter from declaring Nintendo was a failing company:
Over, and over, and over again…
So yeah, Pachter blew the call on the Wii. Three guesses as to what he had to say about the Wii U:
“It is clear to us that the old Nintendo model of proprietary hardware supported by compelling proprietary software is broken… Nintendo’s proprietary software continues to be first rate, but its console hardware is not competitive; the Wii U is under-powered relative to next generation offerings from Sony and Microsoft, and is not competitively priced (priced similar to current generation offerings from the competition). We don’t think Nintendo should exit the console hardware business, but think it should consider getting out of the Wii U business, and consider going back to the drawing board on consoles. Nintendo has a console in the marketplace that isn’t working, and if it continues to tilt at windmills, its software sales will suffer.”
In the same article, Pachter also claimed that Nintendo should start making software for smartphones because of their “handheld woes.” Mr. Pachter, allow me to introduce you to the 3DS, the most successful handheld of its generation (to be fair, Pachter ALSO predicted the death of the Vita, and that’s still around too).
Regardless, Michael Pachter made these remarks on January 17th, 2014. Guess what happened after that? The release of Bayonetta 2. And Hyrule Warriors. And Mario Kart 8. And Super Smash Bros for Wii U. All of which sold well into the millions, all of which were system sellers. All of which helped Wii U maintain second place in the eighth generation of consoles. That’s right—Wii U is ahead of Xbox One in sales, but you don’t hear Pachter talking about the death of Microsoft. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Predicting surging sales for the Xbox One
Citing a bundle in which the Xbox One included Madden 15, Pachter predicted that the sales numbers for September 2014 would shift in favor of Microsoft—in fact, he predicted that Xbox One would outsell the PS4 by 75,000 units. This despite the fact that the PS4 had outsold the Xbox One in every single month prior to his prediction. You can imagine the surprise of absolutely no one when the NPD Group released the official sales figures for September 2014. PS4 topped the sales chart again, actually tripling it’s sales from August and pulling down just over half a million units sold, more than twice the amount Pachter predicted Sony would sell. Perhaps he failed to take into account a little known game called Destiny.
And still he’s considered an “expert”
If you think all these wrong predictions (only a few of which I have listed to keep this article shorter than The Iliad) might have impacted Pachter’s reputation and led to the media looking for real experts, you’re wrong. As much sense as that would make, Pachter is still a sought-after expert in the game of predicting video game sales, though he’s still bungling it badly by his own admission. Take, for instance, this quote from USA Today, dated December 11, 2014:
Nearly half of all consoles sold in November (49%) had one or two games included in a special bundle, he said. Focusing on the newer systems — the Wii U, released two years ago, and the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which passed their one-year anniversary in November — he found that 70% of them had one or two free games included. “That’s way higher than I expected, and impacted the physical sales figures by 10% or more,” Pachter said.
Beyond that, digital downloaded games — not counted by NPD’s monthly report — can account for 10% to 20% of sales. “It’s really hard to figure out,” Pachter said.
Ugh. When your expert quotes cite things that are “way higher than I expected” and that it’s “really hard to figure out,” you’re not a fucking expert. You’re a professional incompetent.
The gaming industry badly needs analysts who can routinely make predictions that a) don’t defy logic, and b) are correct from time to time. Everyone gets one wrong, sure. But when your sole purpose in life is to analyze and interpret data to predict future sales and you consistently get it wrong? Find a new job, Pachter. Please. Something far away from the world of video games, for all our sakes.