Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Michael Pachter Responds! Thoughts on the Wii Vitality Sensor

Two weeks ago, on Monday, March 15, 2010, I posted up a blog titled, "Analyzing the Analyst: Michael Pachter is Wrong".

I included in a paragraph, "If you would like to issue a reply to me directly, my email is"

Well, I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened my email and saw a response from Mr. Pachter himself!

I had shown in my original post, three points I thought Mr. Pachter was incorrect about in one of his statements.
One thing Mr. Pachter had said, I disagreed with was, 'Unlike the PS3, with multiple high-profile exclusives and the newly-announced Move Controller, and the Xbox 360, with Project Natal, the Wii lacks an important upcoming catalyst."

I said in response to that, "We don't know if Nintendo will show anything new this year at E3, but we do know they'll be showing the Wii Vitality Sensor, which was first shown at last year's E3.
I think Mr. Pachter again is dismissing or ignoring something coming to the Wii, that may very well be ' important catalyst...' for the system."

What did Mr. Pachter say in response to that in the email, about the Wii Vitality Sensor being a possible catalyst?

Mr. Pachter said, "We can agree to disagree about the Wii Vitality Sensor.  It looks tremendously stupid to me, but I'm sure I'm not the target market."

I'll be posting Mr. Pachter's other responses within the next week*.

Do you think Mr. Pachter is correct in dismissing the Wii Vitality Sensor, and not seeing it as a possible catalyst for the Wii, compared to Sony's Move and Microsoft's Project Natal?

Picture of Mr. Pachter from

PlayStation Move ControllerPlayStation Move Sub-ControllerWii Vitality Sensor


  1. Mr Pachter sounds incredibly stupid to me, but I'm sure I'm not his target audience.

  2. Being wrong is his hobby. It's amazing how much this "leading analyst" is wrong.

    And the vitality sensor is dumb imo.

  3. OK tell Mr. patch nut to go look at this and see if its stupid? I was way ahead of what he is talking about so I did some thing on my spear time! Don't tell Nin ok?

  4. it might be stupid but so is Pachter, definitely.

  5. When comparing the WII against the PS3 or 360 there is almost NOTHING except a totally new WII that would impress people like Patcher. He isn't even a CASUAL gamer. He sees the possibilities through the eyes of a financial analyst. From that perspective I think he is right that nothing could make the WII a better system than the PS3 or 360.

  6. Pachter is always wrong. Quick note - he "predicted" 500gb X360 in 2008. Now we have 2010 where is y preeciousss Xbox 360 500 gb? He blabaled (that's the right word) about Gears of War 3 for PS3 and so on. Pachter is a Showman i XIX century he would be medicine man selling sugared water as miracle potion.

  7. People might want to note that he specifically said that he wasn't the target demographic. Let's be honest, the vitality sensor isn't going to be at people who understand 'traditional' gaming. It's for the people who bought and use the likes of Wii Fit, people who see the Wii more as a lifestyle machine rather than a games console.

    From a personal perspective I think it too looks like another piece of tat that's going to have no real application beyond the likes of the next Wii Fit, or games of such ilk. Even Reggie tried to distance it from himself by caling it "Mr Iwata's wii vitality sensor."!

    In no way is the vitality sensor comparable to Natal or Move. They both offer entirely new ways to play games and interact with their respective machines. The vitality sensor does no such thing. It's simply another accessory that, at best, may compliment the Wii's standard controller but in all likelihood will only be used by Nintendo for more of their lifestyle products.

    Look at the poor developer uptake from the motionplus device, a device that should make mass market gaming even simpler/more responsive. How responsive are the development community going to be towards something that is even less essential?

  8. I also thought Starbucks was stupid when I first heard about it, so what do I know . . .

  9. You have to be kidding me. You are diabolically retarded if you think that a heartbeat monitor will hold a candle to sony or MS new motion control. I'm not even a fan of motion controls.

  10. If the Vitality sensor could be used to diagnose peoples health problems.... Then I could see Nintendo taking the biggest piece out of the gaming market.

  11. are you people seriously defending the vitality sensor. Patcher is RIGHT, it DOES look like a piece of crap. it makes Nintendo look pretty desparate

  12. He probably would've called the Balance Board "stupid" before it was released, if he had the chance.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but he should be careful of his statements considering (for some weird reason) game sites are obsessed with reporting him (though this blog did so in a more analytical fashion, which was good).

    Answering your question: He's incorrect for dismissing the device, simply because we don't know enough about it. It could be a hit, or it could flop... but considering Nintendo's recent success, it shouldn't just be dismissed.

  13. Wow, lots of anonymous comments.

    I doubt I can get a serious answer to these questions because I'm not really sure that's him in the comments but here are some things I'd like to ask Michael Pachter.

    You said you aren't the target audience of the vitality sensor, do you consider yourself a gamer?

    If so what are some games that you like?

    You don't have to answer the second question as I fear some might use it as "proof" that you have some form of bias. But I'm not here for that, I ask honestly.

    Also, what are some of your all time favorite games?

    And lastly, perhaps most important of all, what is your favorite brand of coffee?

    About the vitality sensor, that thing is crazy and I have no idea what it will do. Can't pass judgement because its too soon. I'm not holding out hope that some mind blowing use will come out of left field and change the face of gaming either. Just comfortably uninterested in it at the moment.

  14. @Chuckpebble

    I play a lot of games, probably 100 or more every year, but can't say that I finish many. It's more out of intellectual curiosity and a desire to be sure I've tried a wide variety, and also to avoid being biased for or against a game that I haven't tried. With that said, I finish a few each year. Last year, I finished Call of Duty MW2, for example, the prior year, Fallout 3 and Little Big Planet, the year before CoD and Super Mario Galaxy. I loved Batman Arkham Asylum, but never finished. I like Rock Band and Guitar Hero games, thought Just Dance was a fun game (with my kids), we all love Super Mario Bros. Wii. I don't play a lot of DS or PSP games, mostly the classics and games like Patapon.

    As for all-time favorites, Mario 64, Max Payne, Doom, StarCraft, Asteroids (yes, Asteroids), Galaga, I'm sure there are 100s more.

    I drink Yuban, super strong.

  15. Wow, so it is either Michael Patcher, or a very convincing fan.

    My take on the vitality sensor is that it will look nothing like what you saw at E3 last year. It appeared to be thrown in there for absolutly no reason. I have speculated in the past that the Vitality Sensor is actually the first clue to a next gen Wii console. It would not be a pulse ox you strap to your finger, but more akin to the metal contact plates on your treadmill. Put one on the Wiimote and one on the Nunchuk and viola, same controller with totally new possibilities.

    So in that vein, it could have obvious applications to the Wii Fit and EA Active franchises, but also could be added seamlessly into survival horror games, or maybe a sniper game. So Nintendo could make a new Wiimote/Nunchuk combo with WM+ and Vitality Sensor built in, upgrade the power and visuals and release the new Wii Vitality to compete directly with the other next gen's, satisfying their internal demands of pushing the game experience.

    However, given the seemingly inevitable release this E3 of the 3DS, getting a new Wii is unlikly. So then it may just be a new nunchuk alone with the sensor built in, and likely a new iteration of the Wii Fit franchise. So what will the impact of Vitality be? From a "hardcore" perspective it will be ridiculed and laughed at and ignored. As the incorrect perception increases that there is no core Wii experience, more developers will go to the Move and Natal will flounder (my predictions).

    BUT, Nintendo will sell several million units of the VS, probably another 10m units of the Wii Fit ++, and laugh all the way to the bank as with no hardcore support, no third party great games being made, they will still make more money than Sony and MS gaming divisions combined.

  16. @Micheal Pachter

    Thank you for your response. I can dig some Asteroids. I have an old classic on my list that I'm sure would draw a few weird looks (Star Strike on the Intellivision).

    I think I now envy your job, all those games, though I can't say I envy the apparently requisite thick skin.

    You're other comment about Starbucks now interests me. Previous/current food business analyst? And yes, as far as I'm concerned, Starbucks is the coffee equivalent of gold plated Monster HDMI cables.

    I shall add Yuban to my must try list.

  17. I don't even see why the Wii NEEDS a new things to compete against the PS3. what they are doing is old news.

  18. @owen
    Because they have to. Right now the Wii has been selling gangbusters and is considered "This Generations PS2". What Nintendo needs to be wary of is to make sure that the Wii2 isn't next generations PS3. They cannot leave Sony's and MS's forays into their "blue ocean" unchallanged because of the risk of loosing their casual base.

    Here is their quandry as I see it, even as a casual machine the Wii is in it's waning year or two and will need a refresh. They cannot continue to pursue the casual market at the expense of the hardcore market. If the Wii looses its steam and looses the casual audience for whatever reason, they need to be able to provide an olive branch to the hardcore and bring them back a little.

    In the end, they do need to compete with the PS3 and the 360 and keep their brand, whether Wii or Wii2 in the public concience to retain brand dominance. However, they have put themselves at a disadvantage and now are in a position that it both platforms need new hardware, despite current sales. The DS is older, so it takes this year, but that leaves them unable to provide a new Wii platform til next year. We will have to see if that ends up biting them.

  19. @Jack:
    We all have differing opinions. :)

    LOL, I see you agree with Mr. Pachter on the Vitality Sensor, but not much else?

    @Anonymous from March 31, 2010 4:21AM:
    That's an interesting video and design idea.

    @Anonymous from March 31, 2010 4:33AM:
    Refer to my comment to Jack. :)

    @Anonymous from March 31, 6:38AM:
    I don't think he was saying better system, as much as the Wii not having a system seller.
    Which I think the Wii Vitality Sensor could be.

    @Anonymous from March 31, 2010 6:51AM:
    I wouldn't say "always wrong", I think he predicted Wii Fit would actually do well.

    @Anonymous from March 31, 2010 10:02AM:
    If the development community hasn't taken to WM+, Wii Speak, the Balance Board, etc., why should Sony and Microsoft expect them to jump on board with their new peripherals?

    @Michael Pachter from March 31, 2010 10:38AM:
    LOL, I wish I had as many shares of Starbucks as I do the amount of coffee I drink in a week.

    I've heard MS Project Natal isn't performing that well. Again though, the Wii already has motion controls, the vitality sensor isn't bringing motion, as much as a lack of motion(Wii Relax).

    @Anonymous from March 31, 2010 11:57am:
    Yea, depending how it's implemented, it could be used in hospitals/doctor offices like the Wii is currently being used in some areas for stroke recovery.

    @Anonymous from March 31, 2010 12:36PM:
    I agree, what they showed last year at E3 doesn't have me excited, but we don't know if the Wii Vitality Sensor has changed since then, because we haven't seen it in almost a year.

    As I said up above, I think he actually said he thought Wii Fit would sell well for Nintendo.

    I do agree though, we don't know enough about the WVS, other than what was shown last year.

    You're like one of the Anonymouses and 8-bit, as well as myself, too soon to know what this thing will do.

    @Michael Pachter:
    I remember hearing you say you thought COD:MW2's story was bad right?
    I'm looking up Yuban myself, want to see what it is.

    I'm hoping your first line on the WVS is correct.
    " will look nothing like what you saw at E3 last year."
    I also thought it was extremely odd for it to be at E3, considering they didn't have any software to even demo it. It didn't make any sense to me.

    "what they are doing is old news."
    Which one? Sony or Nintendo?

    I'm really wondering how they will phase the current Wii out.
    I've often thought that Sony keeping the PS2 around, hurt the PS3's sales for a long while, so I wonder if Nintendo will have two consoles selling. They are doing it with their handhelds, the DS Lite, and DSi, and even now the DSi XL.

    THANKS to everybody for adding to the conversation and sharing your thoughts!

  20. It's a tough call. Nintendo is notorious for not supporting their peripherals (with the exception of the Wii Balance Board). My closet is lined with white pieces of plastic that are barely used to anything, or supported by more than 1-2 games tops.

    I could easily see the Vitality Sensor being added to that pile, unless they package some "Wii Whatever" title with it. At that point it will probably sell millions.... And still be compatible with only 1-2 games.

    Outside of survival horror, or maybe some addition to another Wii Fit sequel, I can't see a practical application for it.

  21. @The Dread Pirate Guy:
    I'm pretty sure that it was found out that Nintendo has trademarked(?) the term Wii Relax, which would make perfect sense for what Iwata talked about the Wii Vitality Sensor doing last year at E3.

    Also, one reason I'm not ready to say anything about it, is because we haven't seen anything of it since last year. I hope they redesigned it in a way that would help it be more functional with other genres of games.

    Thanks for the comment!

  22. The Wiimote was thought to be 'stupid' as was the Balance Board before they came out. Until you see it in action with actual software I wouldn't dismiss it too quickly. Bring on Eternal Darkness 2!!!

  23. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but he should be careful of his statements considering game sites are obsessed with reporting him.


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