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Analyst: Wii U 'Two Years Too Late,' Has 'Dumbest Name'
Analyst: Wii U 'Two Years Too Late,' Has 'Dumbest Name'
June 13, 2011 | By Mike Rose

June 13, 2011 | By Mike Rose
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    34 comments
More: Console/PC, E3, Business/Marketing



Michael Pachter, games industry analyst at Wedbush Securities, gave his verdict on last week's E3 in his latest investor note, stating that the show was a great success, and an event that "continues to get better and better."

He also explained, however, that he believes Nintendo's Wii U "is arriving two years too late," while Sony's PlayStation Vita has "the second-dumbest name for a device after Wii U."

"We were once again impressed by this year’s E3, and the show continues to get better and better," said Pachter. "The hardware displayed was impressive, and each of the console manufacturers showed many core games for their respective systems."

He continued, "The most impactful 'reveal' at the show was the Wii U, which, in our opinion, is arriving two years too late. Depending on pricing, the system will be either a phenomenal success or a phenomenal failure, as competitive bundles for Xbox 360 with Kinect and PS3 with Move are likely to be priced below $300 by the time the Wii U launches."

Of Microsoft's E3 showing, Pachter noted, "Microsoft appears to us to be making several sound business decisions that will position its console with Kinect as the media center in the living room. While the company’s game lineup was not particularly surprising (only Halo 4 and a handful of Kinect games were 'reveals'), its integration of Bing search into Kinect was perhaps the most impactful announcement of the show."

"As we see a migration from traditional television delivery to over-the-top TV services such as Netflix streaming and Hulu, the discovery features of Kinect with Bing search demonstrates the potential for Microsoft to become a meaningful participant in the delivery of OTTTV."

Turning to Sony's keynote, he explained that the Vita is likely to take a solid portion of the handheld market come the end of the year. "Sony’s presentation was solid, and the pricing on PlayStation Vita (the second-dumbest name for a device after Wii U) was quite a surprise," he noted.

"We expect the 3DS to sell well at holiday, due to a phenomenal lineup of content, but think that the PS Vita will capture some share early next year. Solid sales of each device should bode well for GameStop, which will likely receive preferential allocations. Sony also continued to try to integrate its other consumer electronics products into its E3 presentation by announcing a 3DTV PlayStation-branded bundle priced at $499, which we expect to sell exceedingly well."

E3 saw impressive game lineups for the next 12 months, said Pachter. "While there were few surprises, the software lineup at E3 was once again quite impressive. We think that the biggest problem faced by gamers this fall is where to find enough money to buy all of the high-quality shooter games, with Gears of War, Call of Duty, and Battlefield each quite impressive."

"We think that this year’s Need for Speed is the most polished version ever," he gushed, "and several titles planned for next year (including BioShock Infinite, our personal favorite) also appear destined to be huge sellers."

Wrapping up his analysis, the industry veteran concluded, "In all, we think that the new hardware introductions have some potential to reinvigorate the video game market, and think that the core games scheduled for release later this year and early next are sufficient to allow the industry to again begin to grow."

"We expect investors to remain on the sidelines until they see tangible evidence of industry growth, but we are confident that this will occur over the next several months."


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Comments


Jamie Mann
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"Depending on pricing, the system will be either a phenomenal success or a phenomenal failure."



That's an amazing piece of CYA hedging ;)



Personally, I think it's likely to be a mediocre success: most of the use-cases proposed by Nintendo for the touchscreen don't have the ease-of-use that led to the Wii being such a success. As such, I'd expect the casual market to not buy into the Wii U in the same way as they did with the Wii.



(I'm also intrigued by his belief that the Wii U is two years too late. Aside from the business merits of releasing a new console when your existing console is still turning over a significant profit, there's also the question as to technology: I very much doubt that Nintendo would have been able to produce the Wii U at a competitive price point: in very crude terms, we've had two iterations of Moore's law since 2009, with the concurrent drop in component prices for non-cutting edge technology.)

Eric Geer
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" its integration of Bing search into Kinect was perhaps the most impactful announcement of the show."



Do people really use their gaming console to search the web? I find the whole process much more fickle and annoying than just standing up and walking over to my PC.



Only two things that I truly agree with Patcher on--are Wii U and PSVita are the two dumbest names of gaming consoles in...well...the history of gaming.

Dave Smith
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ditto.

Chris Liguz
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The Bing search on the console was to find music / games / etc that you have downloaded or can download. I dont think there was any mention of it being able to search the web.

Dave Smith
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why do i need that?

Sylvester O'Connor
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Agreed. I understand the point of searching for games/music/etc. that you have downloaded or can download, but imo, I don't use my console for that. Aside from hooking up with friends and family to play online, my computer is the best source of searching.



And all the ways that they are trying to make Kinect relevant might explode on them. I won't criticize them because I don't use their features to the fullest extent. But as a fan of gaming overall, I have seen no need to use such functionality.

Bob Johnson
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@D Smith



Because the 360 UI isn't organized very well. :)

Steven Wade
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I personally found the Bing announcement to be initially confusing, but after watching several explanations I did have that "oh yeah" moment.



The Bing search is not meant to search the internet. It is meant to enable the consumer to find the content they want faster. Search a term and find all Xbox related content.



It is also meant to help developers make their content easier to find. No matter how hidden your content is a consumer can find it by searching a simple term. Instead of advertising detailed instructions on how to find your content in the marketplace you can tell the consumer to search a key term instead. A useful feature that I'm sure will help generate sales for all developers.

Steven Gregory
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The Bing voice search makes the content on Marketplace, Netflix, Hulu, etc. far easier to discover. This should increase sales of on-demand games, DLC, and videos considerably. Searching for content on Xbox Live is a chore as it stands. Now when you go looking for one item like a movie or game you may discover other content you didn't even realize that was available. It is a brilliant move by Microsoft.

Cody Scott
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well at least Vita has a meaning..... U is just a random letter from the alphabet.

Fiore Iantosca
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Exactly, VITA means life in italian. what is U????

Eric Geer
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Wii---We

U-You

Cody Scott
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but "We, You" together doesn't make any since.





Its about like naming the console "Ball Elephant" What does it even mean



I mean sure X-box is similar but It literally was a Box with a giant X on it, so it was ok.

Harlan Sumgui
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Im not sure about ball elephant, but I'd buy a console named elephant ball.

William Collins
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To me it has a "university" feel to it because it sounds like a college abbreviation. It's almost as if Wii adopters have "passed" the introductory stage of gaming and are ready to "graduate" to the next. Honestly, I don't know what kind of name for future systems would sound cool anymore. I just want some killer software.

Prash Nelson-Smythe
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I posted this comment:



"Where did this information come from?"



But it was deleted. Why?



Also, where did this information come from?

Jamie Mann
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Prash, the source for this information (or more precisely, "analysis", though it seems to be much more about speculation than analysis) is listed in the first sentence of the article:



"Michael Pachter, games industry analyst at Wedbush Securities, gave his verdict on last week's E3 in his latest investor note, stating that the show was a great success, and an event that "continues to get better and better.""



Admittedly, I don't know how you get access to the investor note but I'd assume it's distributed to people who have registered with Wedbush Securities...

Prash Nelson-Smythe
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Oh I see, Gama changed the first sentence and deleted my comment. There was no mention of an investor note when I first read it.



I have to wonder, though, why "investor notes" like this are released to the press. I take it they are for investors. But if investors pay money for valuable analysis, why do we all get to see this free analysis or cut-down analysis/speculation? It just seems like an easy way for Wedbush to get certain headlines to appear all over the gaming press. It seems like articles parrotting this free gift of an "investor note" just give the company some control of the gaming news cycle.

Vin St John
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The vast majority of all news cycles, but especially niche/ special interest ones like gaming, are determined by what press releases are sent out by companies with a vested interest in getting that story published. In this case, at least the story actually has industry-wide relevance.

Prash Nelson-Smythe
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I don't doubt it. But do we have to keep playing along with this BS forever?

Christopher Williams
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Hmm I seem to remember a few years ago analysts were crying about a system being stupid and having a stupid name and that it was going do horrible in the market. Oh yeah that was the Wii. These analyst have done this before and just like then they are going to be wrong. They are assuming way too many things when we know very little about the console.

Gary Beason
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While they are dumb names, since when are names a factor in purchasing game devices? Everyone thought the Wii was an incredibly bad name. Does anyone not remember the relentless beating that iPad took? I guess Pachter was just making a joke, but twitter has scores of better ones.



More significantly, how can the announcement of a console that's 2 years too late (i.e., why didn't they release it when I said they would?) be the most "impactful" announcement of E3? He's suggesting it's too late to have an impact, so what the heck is he trying to say with that non-existent word?



My $0.02 is that pricing won't be nearly as important as the game lineup at launch. If it is one of the best we've seen, with a lot that's NEW for the "hardcore" gamer, then it will probably do well. If it's a lineup of tricked up ports, then I think it could be in trouble because those aren't enough.



As a 360/Wii owner, I need to see some game differentiation before picking up the Wii U. Even then, I think I will need to see if friends get it.

Eric Geer
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http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/39/2010/01/500x_ipadpicfanc
y12710.jpg

James Kyle
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The great thing about "dumb" names is that they get people talking and keep the product in the public eye far more than "good" names. If anything I expect these names will increase the consoles' sales rather than hamper them.



You'll see "dumb" ideas and names used all across product advertising and marketing. It's quite a common practice as far as I'm aware, as it generally works very well.

Kelly Kleider
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Releasing anything two years ago was a terrible idea. Every title struggled to get some traction in the

market, let alone a new console.



There has been a huge narrowing in the market going from top 5 genre titles making money to THE top title

making money and the rest scraping by. The majority of publishers saw red ink at least once or twice over

the last couple of years...how would a new console fare?



Better name? I have some snarky suggestions...



Wii -n- us

Wii Also

Wiidoo



Nintendo is not known for their awesome naming skills... NES, SNES, Gamecube etc...

Hasn't really hurt them.

Harlan Sumgui
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wiiu will be here proly xmas 2012 (2013 for all intents/purposes). He is saying it should have come out this year.

Lo Pan
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Wii U fails on the TV screen and for the (super weak) iPad wanna-be. Fail!

Brian Canary
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As much as I dislike the circus acts of Pachter, I understand why Gamasutra covers him, but could you please refrain from calling him an "industry veteran"? That kind of genuflecting is patently offensive to those of us that actually work in this industry.

Jane Castle
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Perhaps an "industry hanger-on" would be more appealing? ;)

Brian Canary
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Industry Parasite is much more accurate.

Jed Ashforth
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I think 'Wii U' is a pretty clever name - as James above points out, 'Wii' got people talking. It also said to casual gamers about how family-friendly and inclusive the system was ('We'). The name was on the lips of both gamers and non-gamers, young and old in no time at all - EVERYBODY knew what the Wii is.



So here comes Nintendo with the extension of this - but they're gently suggesting a focus shift back to the solo, core player ('You'). This is the master controller, this is what you want if you're the smart, leading gamer of the house. The rest of the family can still play with the existing Wii controllers but YOU (U) are in control. This has 'Dad Gadget' written all over it. :)



The 'U' to me also has the suggestion of 'University' - as a controller, and as an experience, it's the next step up; gaming has graduated to 'Wii U' - for the smarter, older Wii player. I'm sure that can't be coincidental.



And as a fun word to roll around the mouth - yep, just as silly and fun as 'Wii' was. Lets see if it catches the cultural zeitgeist like it's predecessor.

warren blyth
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Agreed.

I'd note WiiU sounds like WiiTwo, while also suggesting "WiiUpgrade"



I think the goal is to position this new system as both:



1- a WiiHD for the casual

(for current owners interested in HD, but not interesting discarding all the Wii game's they already own. I'm very curious how many households will get the WiiU and use the peripheral INSTEAD of buying a big HDtv. How many will keep their old crappy tvs? this is a stat i crave.)



2- a unique new approach to gaming for the hardcore

(unbalancing the multiplayer game proposition should be more appealing to entrenched gamers than casual gamers. It's a sad sign of the times that so many internet mouths are disgusted at the prospects. Poor Nintendo. Supporting one person having a touch screen, vs. everyone else using established controls - and making that the default experience for the system from day 1 - is a pretty exciting move).



I think the seemingly negative backlash on various websites will evaporate when the product is available for real people to enjoy.

jayvee inamac
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its a terrible sounding name, but its a very practical choice for nintendo.



i hope nintendo will push the WiiU as an "always-on device". tons of possibilities with its new controller.



i expect WiiU to be a hit next year, especially for couples/families.

Joe McGinn
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Is this the same Michael Pachter who was still predicting failure for the Wii two years after it shipper? Alrighty then, nothing to see here folks, move along.


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