Pachther Says Wii is "Fast Food"

Pachther Says Wii is "Fast Food"

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Industry analyst Michael Pachter says the Nintendo Wii has become "fast food" that appeals to a wide but less sophisticated range of gamers based on its great concept, presentation and strong brand recognition.

Pachter said that while game quality is important, concept and recognition are even more vital in determining how successful a console will be in drawing an audience. Wii owners are less likely to own other consoles and, generally speaking, aren't "sophisticated enough" to know, or even care, how a game they're interested in compares to hit titles for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.

"They buy the Wii games that they buy for the same reason that people go to McDonald's. McDonald's doesn't win a lot of restaurant critic awards but they are approachable, they're consistent, and you know what they're going to serve you," Pachter told Gamasutra. "I mean, who sells more food - McDonald's or Ruth's Chris Steak House, which certainly serves better meat? Nintendo has become the fast food machine. Sony is very much the high-end restaurant. And Microsoft is somewhere in between."

Case in point: de Blob, which Pachter called a great Wii game, and which was outsold by both The Price Is Right and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader: Make the Grade. "That's sad," he said. "But it tells you who the audience is."

"If the concept is right, if the recognition factor is there, if you 'get it' from what's on the box, sometimes the game doesn't even have to be that good in order for it to sell," he continued. "When a housewife is in Wal-Mart and sees Jillian Michaels' face on Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009 for Wii, nobody has to explain it to them. They recognize her from TV's Biggest Loser, they know they have a Wii Fit Balance Board at home, and they buy the game. Do they know whether it's a good game or not? Doesn't matter."

Reminds me of an old saying about steak and crap. But Nintendo appears to have found the Grail of gaming and while it may be accurate to refer to mainstream Wii fans as unsophisticated when compared to the hardcore, it's also rather silly to rail against the system's success as some people tend to do. Begrudging the mass market is a waste of time.

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Sony's a high end restaurant? With the staff of the movie Waiting apparently. I think Sony would have to be a family meal prepared by your cousin who graduated from culinary school. Fine, Pachter has a point, but really, it's just a way to ingratiate himself with Sony and Microsoft. They'd love to be fast-food, they're dying to be fast-food, but Nintendo is fast food. I think that they've both come to grips with that fact. But I don't think that Pachter has.

Oh Pachter, the laughingstock of the game industry.

It's fascinating that he's finally getting a glimpse at how disruption works over two years after the Wii came out and many more years spent in his profession. You'd think he'd get around to catching up with business strategies in all that time, especially when Nintendo itself keeps repeating the names of their strategies and even Wikipedia could tell him the basics. There are books written about it, you'd think a high profile analyst would actually read them. Then again, analysts don't analyse, they just quack.

Also the sales of those titles tell you less about who those people are than what they want. They don't want fantastic journeys, they want to do more mundane things. My mother doesn't want to be a veteran in WW2, she wants to be a candidate in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or play an interactive whodunnit in the form of the Ace Attorney games.

Interesting point. But the other two console are hardly gourmet cooking (what with their straight from the mould FPS/TPS lines and I can't believe it's not Gran Turismo racing games).

I think the analogy fits PC vs Consoles better, Consoles being more approachable, but not nescessarily offering the best experience. Whilst PC's take more investment in time, money and learning, but offer a deeper experience overall.

I'd also say if the Wii is McDonalds then the Xbox is Burger King. Quality is neither awful nor great and the pricing appears reasonable, but the reality is filled with hidden costs and liable to give you food poisoning...

HobbesMkii:
Sony's a high end restaurant? With the staff of the movie Waiting apparently. I think Sony would have to be a family meal prepared by your cousin who graduated from culinary school. Fine, Pachter has a point, but really, it's just a way to ingratiate himself with Sony and Microsoft. They'd love to be fast-food, they're dying to be fast-food, but Nintendo is fast food. I think that they've both come to grips with that fact. But I don't think that Pachter has.

I agree actually, Sony is the high-end overrated restaurant that serves tiny, over-hyped meals with snooty waiters. Microsoft is like the not as fancy place that has 'the best burgers in town'. Great...I want a hamburger now. (Have not eaten yet today)

I love everyone complaining about the quality of any of these consoles. The graphics are amazing, the game play although not new is the same old stuff we've come to love and at least story lines are cool enough (or just reused enough) that people are still shelling out over $50 a pop. If its that bad, or mediocre then why play at all? Go back to the SNES where we had "great" games and stay there.

Wii's a McDonald's equivalent and Sony's an expensive restaurant?

Why do they cost roughly the same then? >.<

LiquidForce:
Wii's a McDonald's equivalent and Sony's an expensive restaurant?

Why do they cost roughly the same then? >.<

Uh... PS3 costs about $150 more.

fix-the-spade:
I think the analogy fits PC vs Consoles better, Consoles being more approachable, but not nescessarily offering the best experience. Whilst PC's take more investment in time, money and learning, but offer a deeper experience overall.

It's a sliding scale. Last gen PC gamers were calling console gamers as a whole casual, now the console gamers themselves have someone to call casual and the PC gamers just complain that all the games they get are casual console ports. Sean Malstrom argues that the Wii is to the HD consoles what the NES was to the old computers: Technically inferior, ignored as casual but loved by the masses who find the "high brow" stuff too complicated to be fun.

I staunchly believe the Wii's success is owed in great part to a brilliant marketing campaign and the legions of fans Nintendo built up during their golden age. I don't doubt that there are a good number of people who bought the Wii for their kids, whos first system was the original Nintendo.

Well he has a point.

Bash it all you like, but (continuing the analogy), Nintendo and Microsoft have something in common:

They're both very, very successful.

Well if we're gonna compare game consoles and companies to restaurants...

Nintendo: Average Fast Food
Microsoft: Chain dine in resteraunt (Chili's, TGI Friday's, Outback Steakhouse, ETC)
Sony: Olive Garden... Average food that isn't bad but isn't spectacular, but it terribly over-priced

So Xbox is TGI Fridays?

WHERES MY LOADED POTATO SKINS!?

UltimatheChosen:

LiquidForce:
Wii's a McDonald's equivalent and Sony's an expensive restaurant?

Why do they cost roughly the same then? >.<

Uh... PS3 costs about $150 more.

Not where I live... I've checked prices on eBay-like auction site before posting and they were pretty damn close.

KDR_11k:

Also the sales of those titles tell you less about who those people are than what they want. They don't want fantastic journeys, they want to do more mundane things. My mother doesn't want to be a veteran in WW2, she wants to be a candidate in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or play an interactive whodunnit in the form of the Ace Attorney games.

To an extent that does tell you who those people are - folks who prefer prosaic gaming experiences and also watch Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. If cheap cash-ins are out-selling the quality titles, that tells you the primary audience likes cheap cash-ins, and that frankly says a lot right there.

Maybe this is the reason I have had a Wii and have a 360, but have never had a PS3. Hm.

I'm too poor to have a ps3. ;_;

Gildan Bladeborn:

KDR_11k:

Also the sales of those titles tell you less about who those people are than what they want. They don't want fantastic journeys, they want to do more mundane things. My mother doesn't want to be a veteran in WW2, she wants to be a candidate in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire or play an interactive whodunnit in the form of the Ace Attorney games.

To an extent that does tell you who those people are - folks who prefer prosaic gaming experiences and also watch Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. If cheap cash-ins are out-selling the quality titles, that tells you the primary audience likes cheap cash-ins, and that frankly says a lot right there.

Not at these sales levels, the cheap cash-ins sell badly and some of the good games sell even worse. Just shows you that they may have gameplay quality but completely lack appeal to most people. As always you get the most sales if you make a good game that appeals to people instead of skimping on either part.

I see Nintendo as Burger King (which occasionally releases something totally awesome like Cheezy Fries), Microsoft as Outback Steakhouse, and Sony as Devil's Kitchen. But enough with the restaurant analogies.

It's not a completely flawed analogy, but to be honest, who cares about Pachter? Sure, he's the biggest industry analyst out there, but damn, does he say silly, outrageous stuff at times.

 

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