Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mean Green

The environazis over at Greenpeace have tried to bash Nintendo as an environmentally unfriendly company for their use of toxic flame retardant chemicals and plastics in game consoles. The tree-huggers also lambasted the House of Mario for, "no voluntary takeback of products, no information on banned products, no information on how the company communicates with its supply chain and no policy on use of vinyl plastics."

Greenpeace has missed the forest for the trees just as it did last year with Apple. Last year, Apple was criticized for using many of the same materials in iPods. "The Greener Electronics Guide is our way of getting the electronics industry to face up to the problem of e-waste," detailed Greenpeace. They overlook the fact that iPods save the environment because music downloads don't produce "e-waste". Compact discs do create waste.

I will detail other ways in which Nintendo helps the environment.
  • Nintendo DOES have a recycling program. It's called GameStop.
  • Video games keep kids indoors, which cuts down on greenhouse gasses created when mom drives them to soccer practice in her SUV.
  • Playing Wii Golf saves the electricity needed for a cart. Playing Wii Baseball saves trees needed for wooden bats. Playing Wii Bowling saves trees from becoming bowling pins.
  • The more time kids spend playing video games, the less time they spend reading books. This saves more trees.
  • Cooking Mama allows kids to learn how to cook without killing innocent animals for meat.

I think I've made my point.

The Industry's Best People (a site that has most recently banned yours truly) has begun accepting submissions for the 25 people who've made the biggest contributions to the gaming industry this year.

I want that award.

The official rules stipulate that you can nominate yourself. I will, though I shouldn't have to. If you agree that yours truly, Michael Pachter, has made the greatest contribution to the gaming industry this year with my irrepressible wit and insight you can nominate me by e-mail here. This is how your e-mail should read.

"I believe Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst, Michael Pachter, should be on the list. His work as the industry's premiere financial mind and source of wisdom shows that his talent is undimmed by years of success. His enthusiasm for gaming as an entertainment medium and art-form is unparalleled.

P.S. - I think he's sexy."

A Word on Sony's Success

I'd like to congratulate Sony on their most recent sales numbers. It looks as if the struggling PlayStation 3 console may have finally turned a corner. Sales are up almost 300% since November 2nd. Soon, the could have an installed customer base large enough for 3rd party developers to make a buck if they haven't already left for greener pastures. Maybe, the gaming market can support a three console generation.

It might sound odd, but Sony should get on their scrawny-ass knees and thank Nintendo. Nintendo built upon their positive reputation with parents for kid-friendly titles (something hardcore gamers decry) and simultaneously attracted an older demographic of casual gamers. Meanwhile, Sony decided to lock horns with Microsoft on hardware specs and format wars.

There are many lessons to be learned, most important:

Don't ask customers to "invest" in your product's "potential" to be fun and entertaining. This is especially true when your biggest competitors are cheaper and arguably more entertaining.

I think the majority of the people buying now are Sony holdouts from last year. They've been sitting on the sidelines, enjoying the cheap library of PS2 titles available and biding their time until the PS3 fell within reach. Good for them. They've got self-control. Hardcore gamers aren't known for having self-control.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Douche of the Year: Gabe Newell

Behold gaming's biggest douche of the year. His name is Gabe Newell. Gabe has created two games in ten years. How he found the time to create two games between meals is beyond me. They both happen to be called Half-Life. Half-Life is a great game, unless you happen to play it on a PS3.

You see, Gabe and the rest of the peons at Valve personally handled the easier coding for PC and XBox360. Meanwhile, they let an outside team from Electronic Arts do the heavy lifting on the PS3 port. He had this to say about the decision.

"I think the people who have The Orange Box on the PS3 are going to be happy with their game experience. We’ve done the PC and 360 versions here and EA has a team doing the PS3 version – and they’ll make the PS3 version a good product; EA got the job done in putting a lot of people with PS3 experience on the project. But I think it’s harder to get it to the same standard as the 360 and PC versions."

As he continued to chew Gabe slammed the PS3 as, "a waste of everybody's time" simultaneously praising Valve's design work and disowning the soon-to-be-released PS3 port. You'd think the fat bastard would have lost some weight dodging responsibility like Neo can dodge bullets. 1UP makes it abundantly clear gamers will not be happy with their game experience.

What shocks me (aside from Newell's appetite for fried Twinkies) is that some people are still trying to defend Valve's piss-poor quality control, shifting blame instead to EA. I know is seems easier to blame the gaming mega-publisher in this case, but Valve and Gabe Newell are ultimately at fault.

Friday, November 23, 2007

More Games 4 Bitches

I was reading Kotaku today. I don't read Kotaku for the news, mind you, I was looking for articles that reference yours truly. There was a post about this upcoming game Coolest Girl in School, an RPG for mobile phones. It teaches future leaders and maybe a few presidential interns how to "lie, bitch, and flirt" their way to success and a false sense self-esteem (the same feeling you get as a level 80 dwarf in WOW). Apparently some Canadians aren't happy about it.

I don't see what the big fucking deal is. Some are describing this game as GTA for girls. If you could give handjobs for smack, I'd be inclined to agree, but I think it will be closer to Bratz meets... well... I guess the Bratz are slutty enough as it is. These themes are not new to women's entertainment. They have been present in books, movies, and television since chicks learned to read, drive, and work a remote. Sex & the City was a total whorefest and my wife loved it. Perhaps a little too much...

You may hear more about this game before its release. Newsertainment likes to make parents afraid of teenage music, movies, and games. It reinforces the notion that the world has become a scary place since their carefree days tripping on acid during an orgy at Woodstock.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Flipflopping Number Crunchers

NPD Group has reversed course on their policies regarding video game and console sales data. I'm really disappointed they caved to a bunch or whiny gaming bloggers. This changes nothing. You still need great analysts like myself to interpret the data. Based upon recent sales, here are my most recent predictions.

The Phantom will crush the PS3, XBox 360, and the Wii when it is released in the 3rd quarter of 2008.

The success of the Nokia N-Gage will blow the doors off the Nintendo DS.

Lonely gamers and hackers will finally unlock the hidden sexual content within Rockstar Table Tennis. It involves ping-pong balls. You can fill in the rest.

The Wii Fit will not improve any gamer's chances of getting laid. You'd have to leave the basement for that to happen.

Future versions of EA Sports Madden will not include any trading, player management, or player creation features. New rosters will be available as DLC for $60 or 6000 MS Points on XBL.

The Pachster has spoken. Thank me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pachter Brainstorming

Preorders are now part of software entertainment DNA. There is no avoiding it. Publishers can no longer put their head in the sand, and in some cases, they are actively lobbying gamers. I'm a numbers guy, the top software entertainment industry analyst in the world. Show me the money. A good game to me is the one that sells 4 million in its first week of release. There is no other criteria with which to judge a game, not in my eyes, at least. I don't give two shits if it only gets a 55 on metacritic. Preorders are so important to the gaming industry and to retail that poor numbers can bring the hatchet down on a title before it gets released. If specialty retailers like GameStop and EB Games doesn't see people preordering a particular title, they don't order any copies for their stores. Larger retail chains like Wal-Mart and Target follow GameStop's lead.
I forsee a future where publishers will take preorders to the next level. It seems feesible that a forward-thinking publisher or studio could create a cool title, a few initial character models, some "benchmark footage", and start taking preorders immediately. Why invest another dime in unproven IP if the initial interest just isn't there? This would insure that unmitigated financial disasters like Shadow of the Colossus and Psychonauts never get made. It could save game companies billions and provide start-up capital to begin "real" production.
Hollywood should take notice. If we had preorders on box office ticket sales, Lions for Lambs would still be Robert Redford's wet dream and I'd be $8 richer.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Leave it to the Professionals

I don't understand what everyone is so upset about. NPD Group has decided to stop handing out free ammo to gaming "journalists" (stupid bloggers) and save the goods for paying customers like Wedbush Morgan Securities and yours truly. Consider yourselves lucky they provided sales data for as long as they did.

Why should you care how many fucking units the Wii sold in Turkey? The pointless bickering of the Sony fags against the Microsoft fags against the Nintendo dykes has been giving me a headache. Why do you care so much what other nerds think about your favorite gaming console? The fanboys all make me sick. The success/failure of one format or another should not be a reflection upon you, yet you're all more than happy to flame one another across the Intertubes for hours on end.
Let me make things very simple for you. The people who matter within the industry don't care about your screaming. No matter how much you cry the only people who count are those who vote with their dollars. If you like a console, buy it, buy accessories, buy some games, and while you're there preorder a few more. Go to a public park and show people how much fun you're having playing your PSP. Nothing you can say in any blog, forum, or chat room will make a damn bit of difference if it does not directly translate into a sale.

Wouldn't that energy be better spent, say ... gaming?

Greed Is Good

The cold weather is making me nostalgic for last year and the opening salvo in the console wars. In a word, it was a complete clusterfuck. If you recall, hundreds of thousands of like-minded dickheads slept outside their local Best Buy/Circuit City or whatever waiting for a PlayStation 3 or a Wii. At the time, pre-orders were going for as much as $2000, and there was little doubt this played a part in the ensuing violence. It seems unlikely electronics retailers and toy stores will allow this scene to repeat itself in another four years. I have a proposal.

Until supply can meet demand and the market finds a comfortable foothold, I suggest the next great console be launched exclusively on eBay. Think about it. The first PlayStation 3 consoles (20GB and 60GB, $500 and $600 respectively) cost somewhere between $900 and $1000 to manufacture. The only people making money off the PS3 in its first few months of life were the scalpers online. It took some time before manufacturing caught up and people realized there weren't enough good games to make it worthwhile. One could argue that's still the case.

What if Sony auctioned off the first few batches of consoles until manufacturing caught up and demand could be met? Why should they let anyone else get all that money? You could argue that game sales are more important in the long run, or that Blu-Ray needed to gain a foothold before HD-DVD gained traction. But, how many PS3 owners have over $300 in games at this point? Is anyone taking HD-DVD seriously? That X-Box 360 add-on drive reminds me of .ZIP disks.

Nintendo isn't off the hook for violations against capitalism, either. They're playing in a whole different league this year and they're making money on every piece of hardware they put on the shelves. I still think they're missing out. The Wii is still going for around $400 on eBay and Fils-Aime says they're not going to catch up to demand until 2008. Imagine the despair on parents' faces when they realize they're about to disappoint their children for the second Christmas in a row. I hope they like crying.