With the Nintendo Switch finally revealed and ready to drop on the shelves in less than two months, Wedbush Securities Analyst Michael Pachter weighed in on the console’s present and future in an interview on Gamertag Radio.
Pachter started on a positive note, mentioning that the Switch software lineup is much better than he expected, with much more first party content than he has ever seen from Nintendo at launch. On the other hand, it’s light on third party content, and the price point is higher than he expected, while the accessory price is much higher than he expected.
He thinks that “fanboys” are going to buy the devicebecause there is enough Nintendo content to support the purchase, but families that are looking for a console are going to consider the depth of the software offering that is pretty thin outside of the Nintendo first party content.
According to Pachter, the $299.99 price would have been right in 2013, in a world where PS4 costed $400 and Xbox One costed $500, but in 2017 it’s not the right price, as other consoles are cheaper. He doesn’t think that Nintendo can convince people that the Switch is a better first console in the house than a PS4 and Xbox One that have a couple of hundreds titles on them.
Perhaps more importantly, Pachter continued, most people that buy a console want to play big hitters like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty, and those games aren’t available on the Switch.
Pachter feels that the decision to release in March was “super-smart,” as it allows Nintendo to satisfy the demand from core gamers that will buy the console at launch by taking the Christmas gift-giver out of the equation. Launching in March also prompts people to look at the games all the way up to the Holiday season, and they still feel like part of the launch lineup.
Pachter mentions that if the Switch had been a $200 device, it would have been a Wii situation all over again, with at least half of PS4 owners that would buy the console to play Nintendo games, since they can already play third party ones on the console they already own.
Unfortunately, competing consoles have come down too far in price to allow a $300 Switch to be successful. That said, Pachter believes that Nintendo will still sell six, seven, or maybe eight million units of the device. Due to the “great” Nintendo software lineup, it won’t sell as slowly as the Wii U did.
The question is, though, what will happen beyond 2017. If there won’t be any real meaningful third party support, it will be a problem, and there will be a repeat of the Wii U.
For now, it appears that third party publishers are reluctant to spend money to port recent software from PS4 or Xbox One down to the switch, as it might be too expensive. Only Take-Two was surprising with the announcement of NBA 2K18. That said, Pachter promised that if Take-Two shows up at E3 and announces Red Dead Redemption 2 for the Switch, then he’ll change his tune about it. The same goes for EA announcing Star Wars Battlefront or Activision announcing Call of Duty.
Pachter also believes that Nintendo simply doesn’t understand online multiplayer and online in genral. That’s obvious from the design of the device, as it comes with small built-in storage.
He feels that one of Nintendo’s shortcoming is that they think that they need to change everything and that different is always better. For instance, the conventional game controller, that Nintendo invented, it simply works and makes sense. In the same way as they always try to change controllers, Nintendo seems to think that they have to change the way we enjoy multiplayer, online stores, chat and everything else, and Pachter thinks it’s a “terrible mistake.”
We also hear that while people might diss the 3DS because it has run its course, it’s making a lot of money for Nintendo and it’s still selling super-well. It’s too profitable to be discontinued. It might happen if sales drop to two-three million a year and the Switch sells fifteen million units, but at the current price points, it’ll keep selling.