Brace Yourself: Game Demand is Growing
While interest, investment, and sales of Nintendo Wii are through the roof, outspoken analyst Michael Pachter says traditional games will still grow, though not as fast as mainstream ones.
"The market for next-gen games is not close to exhaustion," says Pachter, when asked how promising of a future the Xbox 360 and PS3 have in a post-Wii world. "As consoles come down in price, the manufacturers will sell more of them, and the market will continue to expand."
According to Pachter, who in February was rated one of the two most reliable video game analyst by Kotaku, it's all about price. "Around 90% of last-generation console sales were made at the [US]$199 price point or below," he says. "Only wealthy or hardcore gamers have purchased consoles so far, given that the PS3 is still $399, the 360 is still $349, and the Wii is still $249. When prices drop below $200 (probably in 2010), the mass market [for 360 and PS3] will emerge."
That said, the popular analyst expects the quantity of traditional games to remain constant as casual takes off. "The number of next-gen games will likely stay around present levels, primarily because of the cost of development. But I don't think that will impact sales much if we are offered only 200 next-gen games each year."
Pachter's remarks come as Grand Theft Auto IV did little to move Xbox 360 and PS3 hardware in the last two months, leading some to believe that if this year's best-selling game can't increase the sales of cutting edge consoles, the market for said machines may be tapped.
To date, Nintendo has sold an estimated 28 million Wiis worldwide in just 18 months, followed by Microsoft with 19 million Xbox 360s in 30 months, and Sony with 14 million PlayStation 3s in 18 months.