Michael Pachter is the coolest cat in the game industry business of fortune telling. That’s why when he releases a new episode of Pach Attack! the world listens and waits for his next prediction that should change the tide of industry forecasts entirely. This week, Pachter is predicting that the handheld market is pretty much dead and Sony and Nintendo have Apple to thank for it — due to the iPod Touch.
“We’re way approaching saturation on the handheld market,” he commented.
“We’re starting to see DS hardware sales crack, I think the big woody of the iPod Touch is cutting into the handheld market, I think the PSP is dead on arrival and I think the PSP2 is going to be dead on arrival.
“It looks to me like young kids are just as happy playing with an iPod Touch or a Nano. The Touch is cool, it plays games, plays music, they’re going to put a camera in it and you’re going to get all kinds of cool stuff.”
Personally, I think Pachter is looking at this in an entirely wrong way. Sure, the Touch offers up some addictive gaming at a cheap price, but that addictive gaming lasts a couple of hours at most. After all, there is only so much Cut the Rope you can play. However, when you pick up a title like Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep or Valkyria Chronicles II, you’re able to enjoy that portable gaming experience for hours upon hours.
The legitimate handheld market created by Nintendo and Sony isn’t your addictive quick fix like the Touch has created, it’s much more than that and will continue to offer more than that. Pachter does believe that the 3DS will save things momentarily, but that it is only delaying the inevitable.
“The 3DS will prolong the handheld market for the game manufacturers, but ultimately, I think handhelds are in trouble. I really think as the iPod Touch gets more and more powerful, you’re going to see a lot of free games over there.”
One of the things Pachter is refusing to take into consideration is that over 100 million Nintendo DS units have been sold. Of course the market has hit a saturation point and the sales numbers are decreasing — how many more people does he expect to buy the product? Regardless, I think the Enlightened One is way off on this prediction and couldn’t be further from reality.
What do you guys think?