Price cut won't help Wii U, says Pachter

Analyst Michael Pachter says price drop won't be enough to spur sales, predicts Nintendo's home console sold 55,000 in March.


A price cut will not help accelerate Wii U sales, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. In a note to investors today ahead of the NPD Group's March sales report Thursday (via Games Industry International), the industry diviner forecasted Wii U sales at 55,000 units during the month, a 16 percent decline over February's reported haul of 64,000 units.

This downturn will continue, Pachter said, even if Nintendo decides to cut the Wii U price.

"The only key hardware device to underperform our expectations was the Wii U numbers and its fortunes appear unlikely to improve for several months, even if Nintendo decides to drop price, as there are an insufficient number of core titles that are generating interest in the console," Pachter said.

The Wii U starts at $300 for an 8GB version, jumping to $350 for the 32GB Deluxe model that includes a copy of Nintendo Land.

Like Pachter, GameStop chief financial officer Rob Lloyd said in February that the platform needs a blockbuster to spark sales.

Significant first-party titles for the Wii U are on the way, including a brand-new Wii U Legend of Zelda game and a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker high-definition remake. Other Nintendo-produced Wii U titles revealed recently include new Yoshi, Mario, and Mario Kart offerings.

Pachter said core gamers are "far more likely" to turn their attention to the PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox, which is believed to be unveiled next month and on sale alongside the PS4 this holiday. Moreover, the long-term appeal of the Wii U will be "severely limited" by the perception that the PS4 and next Xbox will be more capable devices, he argued.

On top of this, if Sony and Microsoft decide to sell their next-generation platforms on a price-competitive level with the Wii U, this could spell even further trouble for Nintendo, Pachter said.

"Should the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft be price competitive, we think that Wii U sales may continue to stagnate," he said, noting that Microsoft and Sony may offer subsidized systems that could be introduced at lower price points than any other console in history.

Overall, Pachter said he expects March industry sales for the United States to be up 1 percent thanks to the release of a handful of high-profile games like Gears of War: Judgment, Tomb Raider, and BioShock Infinite.

[CORRECTION] An earlier version of this story failed to mention Pachter's comments about the potential for Sony to offer a subsidized PlayStation 4. GameSpot regrets the error.

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