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Pachter Says “Casual Gamers Are Never Buying Consoles Again”

Gamasutra has written an interesting article regarding the decline of the video games industry. It’s well documented that sales of video games and hardware are down 42% from their best showing in 2008. Industry analyst Michael Pachter believes that the people who contributed to the industry’s substantial growth in 2008 simply won’t be coming back to consoles, and have subsequently moved onto iPad and Facebook games.

So the middle of the market has fallen out, and that’s consistent with the flight of the casual gamer that is a common theme among market watchers.

As Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said to me in a recent email, “casual gamers are never buying consoles again.” If true, that would signal a sea change in the balance of power in the video game industry. No longer would companies like Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo hold the reins of power.

While he and I have had our disagreements, I think I can agree with Pachter that the casual gamers are gone for good — at least from the traditional business model. The industry giants are still largely focused on packaged game software for dedicated game hardware, and that simply does not make sense in the face of ubiquitous mobile devices and web-based free-to-play entertainment.

132 thoughts on “Pachter Says “Casual Gamers Are Never Buying Consoles Again””

    1. It really is. I only have 5 paid apps ($1) on my iPhone. And I have NEVER, EVER, played a Facebook game. So I don’t know where they get their info from but I’m not one of those gamers. I still prefer console gaming (and my 3DS)

    2. Definately BS. Even casual gamers are still gamers. Ipod/Iphone for the road, and a console for the home. For an analyst, he sure doesn’t seem to understand the public. And I’m not speaking for just Nintendo, Xbox live arcade, PSN, PSP, and 3DS/DSi. Saying never is too bold a statement for any analyst to make. Just ask any analyst in 1983 that said Video Games were dead and never coming back.

      1. Gamers? really? youre saying people who barely play videogames and only know the names mario and master chief are gamers? 5 years ago there was no such thing as “casual gamers”, there was only gamers and the rest of the people who maybe play videogames, but now they gamers just for playing fifa and simple games? No way.

        I hope he’s right and developers notice, I’m tired of getting no new decent games for my xbox and just casual easy and simple stuff.

        1. Tru that. Casual gamers should just stay away from the consoles and keep their Angry Birds crap and leave Mario, Master Chief, and Nathan Drake to us real gamers, imo.

        2. a person who plays a game is a gamer, anybody can be a gamer, if u have picked up a game and played it, u are a gamer. period. Try not to change it around just because you are more into games than another person.

        3. I disagree. Anyone willing to pay to play a game and enjoys it is a gamer to me. Not maybe a hardcore one, one who knows the latest and greatest, or an old school gamer like me, doesn’t mean that they cant be called a gamer. All these “labels” just suck anyway, I say just play some games, no matter what they are, and enjoy them, no matter what other people try to say. Thats my motto anyway.

  1. and pachter also said “i give up, i’ll never try to get a woman again”

    this faggot needs to seriously keep his goddamn mouth shut. he has literally, no idea what he is talking about and he looks dumb.

          1. wy the hell would u spend time on this comment feed to troll ur not changing anyone’s point of veiw. its futile, like ur chance of getting laid

    1. Microsoft have already stated that They will be targeting casual gamers in the future with Kinect

      I doubt many people will take a Kinect over a Ipad though

  2. For a change, Pachter is right. Casual gamers won’t be buying consoles so soon. Right now they feel betrayed by Nintendo. Wii U and 3DS are big slaps on casual gamers, not to mention how they abandoned Wii and DS on their last years. Casuals expected more from Nintendo, which failed to deliver.

        1. ^Example of mindless bitching.

          Anyways, I think “casual gaming” on consoles was/is a fad. I don’t think “casual” felt betrayed or anything like that, the hype is just dying down. I think casual gamers will still buy/play on consoles, but just not as big as it once was.

      1. lols ikr i hate the flame wars on this comment feed, anyway Patcher maybe wrong, but ppl need to look and see that the 60 dollar hit block buster game isnt really worth it. Becuase big name producers like treyarch, ea, and ubisoft have some of us unsatisfied with the work and on top of that DLC. if game companies start treating the consumers with better quality products den Patcher wounldnt need to write lame articles about video games, and cry in room reading all the comments about his dick it the size of a neutrino

    1. Nintendo did not abandon shit. Wii and the original DS hardware are OLD. WTF are you talking about?

    2. I really don’t think a casual gamer would feel betrayed, I’ve met tons of older people that bought the Wii simply because of Mario, and then there are some that bought it for Wii Sports. I don’t think they’ll feel betrayed, heck I don’t think they’ll even care at all. As long as they have the first party titles that interest casual gamers come back, they’ll get it. New Super Mario Bros. Mii would most likely get some of those casuals back, not at launch, but later down the road.

    3. casuals arent feeling betrayed by anyone, as they are only casuals and aren’t as invested in this than us, but one thing i do know for sure, is that casuals go after the newest things, always have, and the wii U is about to be the newest thing.

  3. You do realize that Pachter has pretty much been wrong about everything he’s ever said right? Well except for not being able to get a girl. But why do people even give a crap about him? He’s an idiot so just ignore him and then he loses his job and we never have to listen to his bull again.

      1. He’s an alleged industry expert who “predicts” industry trends. In the past he had a decent track record, but lately it just seems that he wants to piss on Nintendo for very little reason. It seriously can’t be because he plays the games, his job is just to look at market trends and predict accordingly, so I’m guessing that a few companies have pushed a lot of money his way to name trends in their favor while predicting ones that are unfavorable to the competition. After all, as I said, he was once well respected and had a decent track record, so investors are inclined to listen to him. I hope that helped clear some things up for you, happy gaming :)

    1. No, have to defend him. He has been right on many things. BUT all of them are related to x-box and PS and not Nintendo.

  4. I’m a casual gamer and even though I play facebook and iPhone games, I still enjoy going back to my PS3 and Xbox. Currently I can’t go out and buy a console because there isn’t any new ones except Nintendo’s, and Nintendo’ consoles are crap.

    1. Then you’re NOT a casual gamer, you’re a gamer for say the least. You like games on any platform, then you’re a gamer, if you don’t want to buy consoles, that’s another business. You like games so you play them.
      A real casual gamer it’s one who will like to play something, anything, just for be entertained some minutes. That’s the difference.

      1. You know, you really cleared that up. I am still trying to understand where these terms come from. What is a core gamer, and what is a casual gamer?

        Hell, what am I… which category do I fall in?

        1. A core gamer is say your Zelda, Uncharted, Halo crowd while a casual gamer is more of a “pick up and play for a few mins” type of gamer. A casual gamer would be someone that would prefer, say, short iPhone games or games like Wario Ware. Quick, easy, never-ending fun. A core gamer likes to play for extended periods of time, long quests missions, games with a story or goal, and with an ending. Hope that helped clear things up for you, happy gaming :)

    2. He IS “casual”, he is the kind of guys who surely enjoy buying every iteration of MADDEN and FIFA, only because it has better graphics and a slightly better physics system.
      Don’t you get it? this “casual” and “hardcore” thing is way more complicated to use than people think

    3. If Nintendo’s consoles are crap, why are you here? Like, why do people who supposedly don’t care about Nintendo keep coming to this site just to inform us of their dislike of Nintendo? Apparently, something about the upcoming Wii U brought you here and it appeals to you in some way, unless you’re just aimlessly wasting space here.

  5. I can honestly see where Pachter is coming from, BUT he always makes these concrete statements… He’s such an Idiot it’s hard to think he’s completely right…But we can ALL agree he’s an ASS, right?

  6. I just try to pretend that Patcher isn’t there. Like that guy in the corner of the room on his own at a party

  7. You know, for an analyst, you’d think he’d know that it’s totally naive to think video game consoles can sustain consistent sales throughout their entire console cycle.

    The Wii sold nearly 100 million units; of course demand is going to be low within months of the launch of its successor.

    1. Exactly. The reason why console sales are down is because virtually every gamer owns one, and we’re embarking on a transitional period toward the next-gen. Console sales would eventually go down for every end of the generational period.

      The reason why smartphone/tablet sells more because the companies that make them keep releasing them on a more frequent basis. If you ask me, it won’t last long. Take a look at “Draw Something.” It lost over 5,000,000 users in one month, and caused Zynga (which owns the OMGPOP, the makers of the game) to lose 50% in stock. Casual games inherently don’t contain enough content to sustain gamers’ interest (not even Angry Birds’ expansions would keep it afloat for long). It is ironic that analysts are shaking their heads over the Wii’s decline when exclusively pandering toward the casual crowd was the main reason for it. What makes them think smartphone/tablet/Facebook/freemium games when all of them rip each other off, and gamers start to realize it.

      1. I think Angry Birds was just an anomaly in the mobile game market and just happened to cause a mobile game boom as other developers tried/are trying to repeat its success. Whether or not that boom will sustain itself into a successful market or pop like a bubble remains to be seen.

        Honestly, the fact that Angry Birds was able to build a video game merchandising ploy with that almost rivals Nintendo’s is nothing but a complete miracle for Rovio.

  8. this dude is the same asshole who ripped mark zuckerberg for showing up to wall street in a hoodie and jeans as “immature”. you know, the guy who only started the biggest social media site that is potentially worth billions in its IPO. I wish I could be that “immature” Proof Pachter needs to remove his head from his ass.

  9. 2008 was just after all three consoles had been out a couple years, so I don’t think you can compare today’s sales with 2008 sales, simply because you can’t sell me 2 Wiis – (I mean unless one breaks) Everyone is now waiting for the next consoles to come out – so I think the overlapping life span will be much shorter though. There might be some casual gamers now limited to Facebook / Ipad apps, but that just means it’s the developer’s jobs to create games that people want to play.

  10. Games today are already being catered to the casual gamers. Look at the games we have now. The Ninja Gaiden 3 is much easier than the last 1. The newest Prototype that game was horrible it was so easy to fly through that game. Look at fighting games you can spam special attacks to win and just know 1 main combo with your character to win. Look at ultimate marvel vs Capcom you get caught in 1 combo put your controller down cause you will be caught in a infinite combo and theirs nothing you can do. Even in the UFC and Marvel Vs Capcom they have a mode called simple mode. Which allows you to flick 1 button so you can do a transaction or a mean combo. I can just go on and on how these developers just make their games now for the casual gamer. Sure it may help their sales abit but it’s ruining gaming. Not to mention developers now do not even finish ther games. They release a half ass product that is not complete and try try to patch it as they go on. It’s really awful. Plus we are even the game testers now. People are just lazy these days to properly test out their games so they get the general public to do it.

  11. And guys Nintendo are the few companies that atleast finish their product before they release their games to the public. This is why I have a lot of respect for Nintendo

    1. exactly this is why casual move away and sales go down because most companies rip up there own costumers. plus $60 for an UNFINISHED product (game) common you got to see this coming.

  12. The real question is: repeating what a troll says is trolling? ‘Cause that’w what this site does all the time

  13. The real question here is: isn’t repeating the bs of a troll trolling as well? ’cause that’s what this site consistently does

  14. And also, it doesn’t even make sense that mobile phone gaming would harm the home console market when we have clearly seen that it hasn’t even hurt the handheld gaming market (at least for Nintendo).

    The fact of the matter is, there is absolutely no replay value for mobile phone games. They are short, linear, and very repetitive… a flaw that would inevitably doom most console game to complete and utter failure.

    Most of the developers/publishers rely on in-game advertising to make a profit, so there is really no point to making quality games. They just need to make them addictive enough so people will play them on-the-go when they have nothing else to do (until they get bored with it, which is always very quick), and bam, money made.

  15. one, you don’t classify as a gamer if all you play is facebook games and two people who buy iphones and whatnot don’t buy it to play its 99c games they buy it for other capabilities of the iphone/ipad so they aren’t gamers either. so really this fool has no point.

  16. Bullcrap. People who want to play games in the long run will still continue buying console games. I never got all the halibalu about angry birds. I played it one time and haven’t played it since.

  17. Pachter says
    Pachter says
    Pachter says
    Pachter says
    Pachter says
    Pachter says
    Pachter says
    Pachter says
    Pachter says

    What the **** is with this blog?

      1. Nah. It just reports on any news out there related to Wii U. Is it MyNintendoNews’ fault if Pachter has a secret crush on the Wii U but denies it often in public?

  18. The reins of POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I quote He-Man: “I HAVE THE POWERRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  19. this will be really good for the Wii U considering that it’s a return to the standard game controller format (with a twist of course)

  20. mmlol family guy online

    patcher don’t knows a thing ipod/ipad/iphone etc games are so gay and ugly and stupid they are fun for 5 minutes then it’s gay…..LOL i don;t know why ppl even callthem game devices are they mentally ill?cough retardpatcher can suck my balls all day.

  21. Yeah so according to this guy, people are gonna abandon, games such as Mario and Zelda in favor of Farmville and Angry birds? Yup he’s had way too many shrooms.

    1. That’s not really what he’s saying. He’s saying that for most people who are content with their Angry Birds on iPad and Farmville on Facebook, even if they might have bought a Wii console before with a few games, they’re probably not going to buy any of the upcoming consoles. I don’t think that’s necessarily true, but I don’t think Pachter’s crazy to assume that. It’s a fair assumption.

  22. i think console gaming (including handhelds) are doomed even if they are the best. its because of those idiots always buying ipods. i hate those ios devices. consoles are much better but no one cares that they are better

  23. Oh, Pachter. If only he knew he was wrong. XD He probably lost his virginity so much, that his sperm level is at negative 9001. And, in Jacksfilms’ words, sorry to be a BICH. “I know how to spell, I’m just too lazy to do it right now.”

  24. ipods and there vigger cousin ipad like most things when its a new fresh idea people won’t them. but what people have faild to see here is the console market has dubbled each susesive generation. while ipad lost out masively in sales over the chritmas period, to cheaper markets. in the end there is only so many ways you cand sell an eletronic PA to people. they are not gameing devieses they are a jack of all traids and a master of non

  25. I honestly don’t think this guy really knows what he’s talking about. Consider this, all three consoles have been on the market for a number of years, why would anyone expect sales to be all that high? Most people who want one, have one already. I don’t know anyone who actually plays any phone games for more than a day, and they only play free ones. I don’t see where there’s all that much money from them.

    They can say smart phone games are the future all they want, but gamers will always buy the consoles to play real games on. If I ever see a full-on LittleBigPlanet title run on a smart phone, I might be a little more accepting of the shovelware infested market of the iPhone, Android, and Windows phone markets.

  26. Pachter’s said the same thing for years now. Heck, he predicted the same thing would happen in regards to the Wii.

    Don’t take him seriously.

  27. He’s still going on about this? I wonder, did the PS 2 got the casual audience and never came back? How about the NES and SNES? We are talking about big numbers for those consoles, and they seem to be there all the time. Nobody has moved on to phones or social games. The growth to those audiences has to do with people “bumping up” with those items. My parents play iPhone games like small children, and the same goes for my brother and sister, yet they themselves have never owned a gaming console before. They don’t play those game.My brother and sister have played them because I’ve bought the system, but it’s only a few times. They don’t buy games for them, and they don’t really care if they can play the games or not.

    The audience supposedly “moving to iphones/tablets/social” was never there to begin with.

  28. I seem to recall a comment from someone saying “Facebook gamers aren’t real gamers!”

    The comment is true, they aren’t

  29. I think Pachter is actually making a fairly reasonable argument there, but here’s why I don’t necessarily agree: People love convenience and novelty. It’s two of the very reasons why mobile and Facebook game got popular in the first place. They appeal to people’s interest for novelty and convenience.

    You think after seeing that controller on Wii U, that a lot of “casual” gamers aren’t going to want to have that experience? Also, even in the face of iPad and Facebook games, I think that Wii U will actually find success, proving the opposite effect with “casual” gamers. Why? Four reasons:

    1. Wii U will allow people to buy and download games online, games both great and small, even using NFC technology and an app store, thus cutting in on mobile’s quick-and-easy digital distribution market.

    2. Kids still want consoles for birthdays/Christmas/etc. and will be a big reason for Wii U consoles being in many homes. Casual-gaming parents will likely find some Wii U games interesting and playable similar to how Wii was appealing because of its intuitive playability.

    3. Wii U will allow console MMO and virtual world games on an HDTV–given the explosion of interest in “freemium” MMO and virtual world games, even in casual gaming, that’s huge.

    4. Wii U is designed to be an entertainment hub (gaming, movies, music, photos, communication, and web) that can work even away from the TV, thanks to its unique controller and design philosophy,

    Nintendo is wise to address a common issue (families fighting sharing an HDTV in the living room), instead of trying to chase and keep up with mobile/online fads like Angry Birds and Farmville, Instead, they’re offering a richer experience than anything mobile and small free-to-play Flash Facebook games can offer. The console will be diverse in content, the controller is universal, and the price will be much cheaper than a new iPad. I think Pachter’s underestimating the power of appealing novelty.

    Casual or core, games are becoming the biggest form of digital entertainment, and Wii U is touching digital entertainment in all the right places. Wii U has the potential to appeal to any kind of gamer. If Nintendo broadcasts this potential with Wii U well next month at E3, Wii U will be hard for people to ignore, “casual gamer” or “core gamer” alike.

    1. The only reason I buy Nintendo consoles is for Mario, Donkey Kong, and a few other first-party games. If the WiiU for some reason isn’t as powerful as a PS3/360 when it’s displayed during E3, I would honestly NOT be surprised…

      1. There has already been confirmed by several big-name developers that the Wii U is more powerful than PS3 and Xbox 360. Don’t know how much more, but it’s been said as noticeably more. Why is this doubt still floating around?

  30. Logically this mans argument is sound, but not well thought out. In my opinion the cost of an iPad or iPod/ iPhone ( the later having a monthly bill) really out weighs the benefits of the supposively lowere cost game. I think gamers even casual gamers have grown wise and realize a 2 dollar game is not really a 2 dollar game if you need a 500 dollar device to play it, and then have to buy coins and such to get the full experience. At the end of the day I get more out of my 3DS which was cheaper to buy, allows me to change my own battery n add memory if needed. And games that are in my opinion of a bit more depth, and feel of a finished product. I know other games like infinity blade n such exist but its a pretty simple game of just swiping on a screen. It looks amazing, but to me that is not enough.
    As for the person saying the nintendo users got cheated with wii u and 3DS?! The argument lacks logic being that the 3DS is selling so well. Wii users got a long stint out of the wii and some great games for the price point. And ds users..seriously they make more ds games still than 3DS games so far. The ds, ds lite, dsi, all all pretty much the same system.. so it was about time to upgrade it completely. The argument is like trying to say that playstation or nintendogen 1 consoles were cheated n still are by 360 or ps3.

  31. This is where he is wrong. All gamers start off as “casual” gamers. No one starts off as a gamer. There will always be someone new to gaming. This is always the way the industry grows. Will the new gamers stay should be the question. Will the Just Dance, Cooking Mama, and etc. group turn into Assassin Creed, Xenoblade, Battlefield, and etc. type of gamers. I believe people forget about that aspect in the gaming world. You have to start somewhere in gaming and then you move into more advance games, stay at beginning games, or you move out of gaming.

    1. When I was a kid, I didn’t need shitty casual games to eventually become a hardcore gamer. Why do they need those shitty games today?

      1. so you think back in the day people played street fighter hardcore when they just learned about it. Everyone was a casual gamer at first. This is when you learned about video games and then you transition up to an experienced gamer.

      2. Back then it was harder to transition into a hardcore gamer because there were almost only “hardcore” games. You either were a gamer or not. Today the casual games make it easy to get into gaming and then look beyond, but it’s very easy to stay in there…

  32. Pingback: “Casual gamers are never buying consoles again”, says Michael Pachter

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  34. Pachter being an idiot again. It looks like he expects a console to sell consistantly well through all of its’ years, even after they announce it’s successor. LOL. The Wii has sold over 90 million units, how is that a failure. He needs to stop talking just for the sake of talking. He’s hasn’t been right about anything in a long time, especially anything relating to Nintendo.

    Leave luck to heaven.

  35. Not sure if he can rule out them buying consoles ever again completely, but he’s probably right about them not buying consoles for the foreseeable future because they now have easier and cheaper ways to play games with devices they already own. *Insert here another rant about everyone ignoring everything Patcher says even though it makes perfect sense*

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