Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aren't You Tired of Always Being Wrong?

Wedbush "analyst" Michael Pachter proclaims that, once again, the Nintendo Wii iz dooomed!:

“…the Wii appears to be suffering from console saturation and fatigue despite the recent launch of the Wii SportsResort/Wii Motion Plus bundle. Unfortunately, Wii software sales were down significantly in July, driving overall software sales into negative territory… It is easy to say that the decline in Wii software is due to a lackluster lineup of games; we think that is largely true, but note that the PS3 and Xbox 360 lineups were also relatively light. Year-to-date, Wii hardware sales total 2.7 million, compared to 1.8 million PS3s and 2.4 million Xbox 360s, so it is difficult to blame the year-over-year Wii software sales decline on poor hardware sales. Instead, we think it is becoming apparent that the average Wii owner is just buying less software than his PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts."

I added the bold to highlight some of the text, if only to show how absurd this is.  It's astonishing that game industry analysts have been so wrong about the Nintendo Wii, but what's really odd is how they never change their tune.  They only double down on the stupid.  The Wii is always a fad, it's always declining, it's always run out of "casual" customers (the notion of the "casual gamer" is a fallacy), it's solely responsible for the decline in the software market.

You can amuse yourself with a simple Google search.  It's easy to find many examples of prophets and magicians proclaiming that Nintendo has failed, despite all evidence to the contrary.  They sound more like jilted fanboys on internet message forums than serious thinkers.  This isn't something you would expect from educated adults.  Goodness knows, I make plenty of mistakes, and my ability to predict the future is, frankly, terrible.  The only time my predictions are right is when it's patently obvious, like tomorrow's sunrise.  But at least I try to learn from my mistakes, and educate myself.

Here are a handful of headlines pushing the "Wii is Doomed" meme from the past few years.  I just grabbed these quickly from Google as an example:

2007: Is Wii a Bubble?

2008: Will the Wii Bubble Now Finally Burst

2009: The Wii Bubble Has Burst

2009: Nintendo Profits Fall as Wii Hits Saturation

2010: "Wii appears to be suffering from console saturation and fatigue..." (Pachter)

Okay, okay, I get it.  A lot of gamers are not fans of the Nintendo Wii.  This is nothing new; back in the 1980s, the NES drew the same fire from the hardcore gamers of that day, which were Home Computer Era gamers.  Nintendo disrupted their market just as the Wii and DS has disrupted the Cinematic Games market.  And there has always been a "family friendly" image to Nintendo that a lot of older gamers could never deal with.  It's alright.  Not everyone has to like the same kind of ice cream.

When we're talking about industry analysts, however, it is a different matter.  I've aired my criticisms of Mr. Pachter numerous times, so there's little point in repeating everything one more time.  The industry soothsayers have an agenda to push, and to a great extent, that involves pushing back against Nintendo's disruption.  A paradigm shift is never welcome to the older generation whose values and rules are being dislodged.  Thomas Kuhn argued that a paradigm shift only really occurs when younger generations are won over; the older generation must fade away.

The paradigm shift is here and it's not going away.  If Nintendo is not the engine of disruption, then it will be Facebook and Twitter, it will be Apple and Google.  The Cinematic Games Era has given way to the Social Games Era.  For this very reason, talk of Nintendo's decline and fall are nothing less than willful delusion.  It is a fantasy spun by illusionists and fools.

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