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GDC: This is the last console generation, says Pachter

Wednesday, 25th March 2009 14:06 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter told a panel at GDC last night that he believes this is the last of the console generation.

“I think we’ve seen the last generation of consoles,” he said.

“[Third party publishers] are not going to support a PS4 or Xbox 720,” he added.

“The content is not going to change in any meaningful ways because the publishers can’t afford it.”

Pachter’s comments resonated with the general overriding theme of GDC so far, that of console-less Cloud gaming.

He went on to say that companies like Sony simply aren’t in a position to launch new machines.

“Sony is not going to put out a console until they make a profit on this generation, and my math puts that at around 2015,” Pachter said.

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54 Comments

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  1. Syrok

    PC gamers rejoice \o/

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    I think he may have a point.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Blerk

    I can’t say I agree – his theory is that next time around we’ll see a ‘single platform’ situation and I just don’t think we’re at the stage where such a thing will be possible yet.

    That said, I get the impression that this generation may well turn out to be much longer than people were initially expecting. I’m calling 2012ish for the new wave of the new wave.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. jnms

    I agree with him. Though I don’t see cloud gaming taking off quickly.

    I see us having many iterations of Ps3 and the 360.

    Also the Depression is a major factor; so no new consoles until 2015 at least. Plus fewer and fewer big budget games. This current time period will be seen as the second golden age of gaming, and it is now near its end…

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Patrick Garratt

    I don’t think we’re going to see new console hardware even announced before 2012, and I think Pachter does make a very valid point. The current publishing model’s failing essentially.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    I bet Iwata goes and announces Wii 2 now.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. G1GAHURTZ

    I think Pach-Man is wrong.

    The simple fact that people will want to play PC games doesn’t really allow the console market to disappear.

    All the current generation of consoles are, are PC’s without the hassle anyway…

    And I certainly can’t see the likes of Rockstar, Bungie, EA, Activision, et al just deciding to forget about the billions that they turned over last year and try something new just for the sake of it.

    Real business isn’t that fickle.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Blerk

    A lot of the fault lies with the model itself, though – not just the machines. There are too many machines with almost the same capabilities, the default game price point is $60 and nobody dares break that so ‘less than AAA’ projects get shitcanned or fail at retail because they’re not ‘worth that’, the best-selling platform is only truly successful for the platform creator, reviewers punish more unusual projects for lacking top-notch graphics or multiplayer even if those things aren’t required, the media are basically in the pockets of the publishers and therefore held to ransom on what they can and can’t cover, etc. etc. etc.

    Moving to a full-download system and allowing smaller developers and publishers to get the same exposure and distribution as the big players would probably help a lot more than a single platform, tbh. Not every game in the world has to be AAA or mass market, but the current practises only really encourage that sort of development. And it’s so costly that it’s killing all but the biggest and the blandest.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. No_PUDding

    Wii 2? At GDC? Naw!

    I disagree with him on many counts. Although not that the content won’t chnage, he’s right, games are insanely expensive, and it just isn’t viable to get anymore detailed until some streamlining development is done.

    Even then, it may be difficult.

    But cloud gaming just isn’t viable. Think about the number of online LIVE/PSN accounts in a ratio to the hardware counts. Not everyone can do cloud gaming.

    I reckon desktop gaming will take over before cloud gaming does. And I reckon that is possibly the biggest hurdle for developers to face; browser games.

    And suggesting third party’s won’t support a PS4 or 720, is absolutely ridiculous. All it needs is to be proven a viable platform to sell and profit from software on, and they will support it.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Patrick Garratt

    I think the Cloud stuff will change everything. I’m just not sure it’ll change everything quite yet. To be honest, I don’t want to buy “consoles”. I just want to play games sometimes.

    You’re right though, Blerk. The whole model as it stands is completely broken.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Tonka

    He’s not counting hand helds right? Nor set top boxes with controllers that access clouded games. Or any other game playing device that might contradict his claim.

    Cockmuncher

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Robo_1

    I think we’ll see moderate updates to each console, Wii HD, 360+ and PSthree over the next five years. Each will be compatible with current software, with some sort of added functionality, which new games can choose to take advantage of.

    But yeah, when you see some of the sales big name games are getting, and the general financial pickle everyone is in, I don’t think anybody in the industry (save for journalists :)) will be happy with a new console to support.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. wz

    World is gonna end in 2012, so he might be right.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. No_PUDding

    Agreed Blerk about the final point.

    The only publishers not at risk are creating the most generic games out there.

    Outside of that the only thing actually advancing the medium is coming from first party’s/second party’s or publisher’s who set themselves up for an inevitable fall.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. TheDeadBoy

    yep patcher microsoft, sony and nintendo will just pack up there bags move to the costa del sol and sell time shares for a living instead. do you really think after all the billions and billions spent and earned they`ll just give up because of the cloud gaming system. i think not. i for one will still buy consoles and the games. and as someone else stated on this thread the 720 and ps4 not profitable you need a new job because you analictical skills are beyond shite.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Blerk

    Of course, the ideal solution for the next-gen would be to ‘do a Nintendo’. The PS4 and Xbox 720 essentially being ‘overclocked’ versions of the current platforms, with the same capabilities, dev kits and tools, but just… beefier. More power, cheaper hardware, no need to retrain everybody. And backwards compatible by default. Everyone wins.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Patrick Garratt

    Well, the most innovative games, arguably, are emerging from the indie space, precisely because they’re not bound by the shackles of the “traditional” publishing model.

    It’s a similar situation to the one facing book publishing at the moment. Getting a “novel” published it nigh on impossible, but it’s likely that a proliferation of e-book readers will mean a huge amount of material “not fit” for publication will be made available.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. Tonka

    FFS. Enough with the “generic bland” shit.

    Tell me what’s safe about “Brain Age” or “Wii Fit”. Then we can talk “only generic safe games sell”.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    Yeah, I don’t think that cloud gaming will have such a significant impact on consoles any time soon. If they do disapper, I’d say that it’d be through their own fault, rather than being succeeded by an online only service.

    Right now, if you’re a console manufacturer, you have a market for that is split into people with the internet, and people without it.

    That’s a whole lot of people who simply won’t be able to play cloud based games, whether they want to or not.

    As long as these people exist in the huge numbers that they do, there will be a market for offline gaming.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Patrick Garratt

    That is true, but Nintendo basically created its own model, innit, with unique, motion-based hardware. Pad consoles are stuck in a rut.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. Syrok

    Mind control! It’s the future.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. Patrick Garratt

    Mind control in the Cloud. Bet Iwata announces it.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. Blerk

    For the most part I was talking about the hi-def model, Tonka.

    But seeing as you mentioned them, both of those titles are games which only Nintendo could sell. If EA (say) had invented them they’d have completely tanked. Nintendo are in a unique position which is what makes their platform dominance so dangerous in many ways – like I said above, it’s Nintendo themselves who actually reap the majority of the benefit.

    #23 5 years ago
  24. No_PUDding

    Blerk, I kind of expect that to happen if I was going to put money on any which one. Unless the next generation has ready-made engines to develop in, if you know what I mean. That’s one other option. Even then though, it’s the assets of a game which take the most time and money, and they’d still be there.

    Patrick, well yeah that’s true apart from on consoles. The most innovative or more to the point – niche console games are coming from the aforementioned parties. I hadn’t even considered the PC market.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. deftangel

    He’s wrong, and largely for one reason. Nintendo.

    Nintendo have been making money off of selling hardware for years. They aren’t about to change a successful business model because everyone else is struggling with it. They like money, remember.

    Blerk has got the right idea. Complete wholesale change of console hardware is completely flawed but the Nintendo approach combined with pure digital distribution easily has enough money it to be appealing to publishers. This time around, there won’t be a move to HD meaning console hardware should be capable of kicking out 1080p natively with more processing power for pretty physics and graphics at relatively cheap prices. Given that we aren’t getting that now, it’ll be a reasonable enough upgrade for most “core” gamers to get it off the ground.

    To top that off, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sony & Microsoft collaborate on such a thing with one doing software and the other doing hardware.

    Everybody seems to be drunk on this OnLive malarkey. It’s simply not going to scale to mass market levels by 2012.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. G1GAHURTZ

    Yeah, seriously…

    “Generic” games are supposedly so, because millions upon millions of gamers enjoy them.

    #26 5 years ago
  27. No_PUDding

    Tonka, I don’t think Blerk or I were talking about those Publisher’s Wii market attempts, as generic.

    Mainly the Call of Duty’s, Madden’s and Need for Speed’s of the industry. The franchises on HD consoles, becomign generic and bland becuase no major risks can be taken with an average budget of $20mil. And for the truly AAA selling projects we’re talking twice or thrice that easily.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. Shatner

    somuchfearofchangelol

    #28 5 years ago
  29. TheDeadBoy

    yes you can also take into account the pricing of games, consoles and services they rip off there customers left right and centre. so if they were to be addressed properly and set at price where the consumer and company both come away smiling its win win situation. but thats for sony microsoft and nintendo to sort out.

    #29 5 years ago
  30. No_PUDding

    Shatner our resident elitist everyone, he’ll be here all week!

    #30 5 years ago
  31. Tonka

    But still. The market supports CoD and Rythm Gold. Halo 3 and a bathroom scale with a hula hoop sim, World of Goo, No More Heroes etc etc.

    I agree that the rising costs of development has given us more middle of the road games. But there is plenty of other games coming out. Games that sell well enough to get sequels and make money.

    The perceived need to make bombastic FPSs is just so much hot air. Devs can chose to make a small budget title. Release it on STEAM or PSN or whatever.

    I just don’t buy the whole “only Nintendo can make a mint on low budget games” (points to Games Party (1 & 2),No More Heroes and Mega Man 9).

    And what’s generic about a Postapocalyptic RPG in first person view? (To point at the other end)

    #31 5 years ago
  32. Tonka

    I liked Shatner better when his space bar was working.

    #32 5 years ago
  33. TheDeadBoy

    and it also boils down to the simple fact that we as consumers/fans/collectors want to physically own the game and the hardware it works on. i want to be able to own touch even lick the products i buy. not have it sit on some sever the otherside of the world where we have to rent these things on a daily weekly or monthly basis. it will be fun to watch millions of people all trying to play crysis at the same time.

    #33 5 years ago
  34. Shatner

    yoursenseofownershipisanillusion.readtheEULAlol

    #34 5 years ago
  35. No_PUDding

    But the revenue from a small PSn title, or a bunch of them, just isn’t worth it, becuase it’s even more difficult to advertise on Steam or XBLA or PSN. As Pat said, it’s an even playign field there.

    It’s not viable in that sense, for the big publishers.

    And there’s quite a bit generic about a sequel to a top-down sometric strategy RPG, that is actually a gory, grey, expansive FPS.

    Bethesda RPG’s have never been innovative, they have been adequate and fun. And not financial risks, given they are the only HD true WRPG’s about on consoles.

    #35 5 years ago
  36. TheDeadBoy

    and to go off subject just slightly who plays there wii as a serious games machine i bet it isnt many of you. its a console for fat lazy kids and adults who want to be seen doing something about there weight as well the casual gamer who doesnt really care to much for gaming as a whole. i wouldnt waste my money on one i still stand by the fact its a completely gimicky toy granted one thats sold over 50 million. but how many of that 50 million already own a ps3 or 360 its light relief thats all it is.

    #36 5 years ago
  37. Blerk

    Fallout 3 is ‘big budget’, though. And without the Fallout license or Bethesda behind it, would anyone have given it a second glance?

    The trouble is that, for instance, CoD4 exists. And pretty much everyone agree that it’s currently the pinnacle of FPS. So anyone making an FPS has to try and ‘better’ that or face annihilation at review or apathy from the general public, because you’re essentially launching at the same price. That’s just too much for most smaller companies. We’ve reached a stage where people are considering an 8/10 to be ‘not worth bothering with’, which is insane. Those ‘lesser’ games are going to start to disappear.

    A sliding price scale and cheaper (downloadable or not) distribution is possibly the solution, but at the minute nobody seems brave enough to break out of the ‘full price’ arena outside of the Wii shovelware market.

    #37 5 years ago
  38. Tonka

    Don’t you like HD games?

    #38 5 years ago
  39. Syrok

    HD makes gameplay good.

    #39 5 years ago
  40. No_PUDding

    Bullshit Deadboy.

    The popularity of on demand TV and computers proves we like having non-physical media for the majority of stuff. Only occasionally do we want something physical to show for it.

    Marriage Certificates, Vinyls, etc. But most of the time I am fine with keeping my text on my phone and computer, and my music on iTunes.

    #40 5 years ago
  41. Tonka

    Blerk; you sound like Iwata 4 years ago.

    #41 5 years ago
  42. loki

    Patcher real idiot

    #42 5 years ago
  43. Blerk

    Oh noes – I don’t want to be Iwata! :-D

    #43 5 years ago
  44. Blerk

    Oh, wait – he’s loaded. I do want to be Iwata!

    #44 5 years ago
  45. BillyBatts

    It will be a while before enough people have a decent enough broadband to support it on a massive scale, but this is almost certainly the future.

    As Pat noted before, some of the best innovation this gen has come from XBLA and PSN precisely because those services bypass the standard retail channels. Imagine if Braid had come out as a boxed product at £39.99. The idea wouldn’t have got off the ground, let alone into you local GAME.

    Games cost too much, both at retail and in development and have done for a while now. It’s not just a case of big, bad, nasty publishers making bucket loads of cash either. Having seen it from the other end too there is a panic-inducing level of risk for any game release, let alone a AAA title.

    The current gen’s online model is the trailblazer. Next gen (whenever it arrives) will likely still have physical media incorporated, but if tech continues to evolve in the way it has of late the one after that could be online solus.

    #45 5 years ago
  46. Prett-in

    “Sony is not going to put out a console until they make a profit on this generation, and my math puts that at around 2015,” Pachter said.”

    So this isn’t the final generation. It’s just going to take while till the next generation. Wich is great for the gamedevelopement. :)

    #46 5 years ago
  47. icastflare

    This is bologne. Why? Because not everyone is ALWAYS hooked up to the internet. What about when I’m at my cottage that doesn’t have internet but decide to bring my 360 along for downtime? What about all the people who don’t have the internet speed required for the high def thing? They’re not going to make YOU BEING ONLINE a requirement for SINGLE PLAYER GAMING. Maybe eventually, but we’re not at that point yet where everyone has access to this internet speed at all times in any location, so it’s garbage to assume that you shouldn’t be able to single player game without high speed internet access at this point in time.

    #47 5 years ago
  48. Quiiick

    To be honest I find this future a bit scary! I do like to own console hardware, I even like games on disks. Hmm, maybe I’m really getting old …

    Why do we have to radically shift the paradigme?
    Choose one over the other? Why can’t we have the best of both worlds? Together!
    A PS3 or 360 (or a Gaming PC /Mac with full power CPU and über graphic-cards) which also happen to be able to run cloud gaming services?

    I addition, I would prefer Sony or Microsoft to run a cloud gaming service over this new company (OnLive). This way they could still make money off the service and reinvest it into games development.

    #48 5 years ago
  49. icastflare

    My comments were more about Cloud gaming but still.

    #49 5 years ago
  50. Quiiick

    And the biggest question remains:
    How much will it cost on OnLive to play 200+ hours of Fallout3, GTA4, Halo3-Multiplayer (just to name a few time-demanding games) ???
    Less then the €60 (or the €20-€40 for secondhand or “platinum”-versions) we pay now?

    Usually any subscription fee (leasing) is higher than the price you pay once for a disc/download. Not good for consumers …

    #50 5 years ago
  51. Quiiick

    @ icastflare
    I wasn’t referring to you.

    #51 5 years ago
  52. Michael O'Connor

    Nice to see you getting involved in discuss Pat. *grins*

    I’ve already aired my rather cynical thoughts on this whole Cloud gaming thing, so no need to go over them again. I’m going to try and be cautiously optimistic about it.

    Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this all comes true.

    #52 5 years ago
  53. hitnrun

    This is a load of hooey that falls somewhere between Marx and Star Trek futurists. “I could see this happening if everyone agreed with me; therefore, it’s true.”

    As long as there’s a company that thinks it can make money by offering a competing product, there will be more than 1 console.

    #53 5 years ago
  54. Cort

    I really don’t subscribe to this “games are way to expensive” meme because it’s total bollocks. I remember paying £40 for games in the early nineties. I haven’t paid more than £30 for any game in the last ten years – including day one purchases of AAA titles such as Killzone 2. Regardless of the deals I find, average RRP has hardly moved in twenty years.

    And I remember being confidently assured by “expert analysts” that iTunes would render the physical disc-media album completely dead within three years. That was eight years ago now.

    #54 5 years ago