Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter says that Nintendo's continued weakness contributed to 11 percent of the decline in U.S. video game sector in the month of December. Pachter also said that there was evidence that consumer fatigue has set in – even when it comes to popular games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
This year's Call of Duty title saw nearly 20 percent year-over-year sales dip, and even juggernauts like Halo 4 failed to meet the "lofty expectations" Microsoft had hoped for. But the bulk of his finger pointing was saved for Nintendo. He blamed the "underwhelming launch" for Wii U and the "continued weakness" in general for the Japanese console platform owner. Further, he estimates that 675,000 Wii U units were sold at US retail in its second month (up 59 percent month-over-month) with a "very low" software attach rate of around one title per hardware unit.
Although Pachter sounds like he is preparing for the video game industry apocalypse, he does have some optimism for 2013. He expects that titles like Dead Space 3, BioShock Infinite and GTA V will drive sales during the year. He also expects a serious rebound for the industry in 2014 when the real next-generation cycle starts again with the launch of new consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
"It is clear to us that those companies who primarily focused on traditional gamers were largely unscathed by the declines over the last few years, and those same companies will disproportionately benefit once traditional gamers drive industry sales into positive territory in 2014 and beyond," he said.