Alright, alright, forgive the distortion, but if you've bought a next-gen console - and worldwide, more than 60 million of us have - then you are "wealthy or hardcore gamers," according to everyone's favorite
video game software analyst, Michael Pachter. I don't consider myself hardcore. And my aforementioned $1,500 rent apparently qualifies me as wealthy.
Pachter's reasoning, in comments to GamePro, is that the next-gen consoles are not truly mass-market items yet, and won't be until their price point dips to $199.
"Around 90% of last-generation console sales were made at the $199 price point or below," he says. "Only wealthy or hardcore gamers have purchased consoles so far, given that the PS3 is still $399, the 360 is still $349, and the Wii is still $249. When prices drop below $200 (probably in 2010), the mass market [for 360 and PS3] will emerge."
Pachter's been on the warpath for console price cuts, predicting a $50 drop this holiday season for the PS3 and 360 as the console makers try in vain to duplicate last year's stellar sales figures. He's also said the current next-gen line is going to drop below 10 percent growth by 2010 unless they lop $150 off current prices.
The Wii below $200, that's a solid bet. But good gosh, considering Sony's lost more than $3 billion so far, pricing the PS3 below its production cost, can anyone really think we'll see that unit below $200? Or the 360, for that matter? And if makers did follow his predictions, there would be about a one-year mass market for these consoles before market forces dictated the next next-gen console for us wealthy hardcore gamers, around 2011. If that's when these consoles finally enter the mass market, and how long they'll stay, how many good games will we really see in that span?