Interview With Michael Pachter – PS5, Xbox Series X, Next-Gen Games And More

We sit down with Michael Pachter and discuss where the video game market may be headed.

Posted By | On 03rd, Nov. 2020

Interview With Michael Pachter – PS5, Xbox Series X, Next-Gen Games And More

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter has made quite a name for himself in video game enthusiast circles. Pachter, who has been weighing in on the video game industry, market trends, and the like, for well over a decade now, always manages to bring a new, unique perspective to the table when discussing video games, a perspective that fans may not often be able (or willing) to consider.

As a result, any conversation with him inevitably ends up being interesting. That includes this one: we recently had a chance to sit down and have a long chat with him, on a lot of video game news and topics. This includes Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, Sony and Microsoft’s next generation strategies, how the next generation may end up playing out, what kinds of games may gain popularity in the coming years, whether or not video game streaming will ever catch on, what the future of Nintendo and the Switch may be, and even some thoughts on which specific upcoming games he expects will do well.

Strap in, and enjoy the ride.

I wanted to get the big one out of the way right away, which is the Microsoft Zenimax acquisition, which includes Bethesda Game Studios, and The Elder Scrolls and Fallout. What kinds of ramifications do you think this will have, since it’s a pretty big third party publisher now under Microsoft, with their lineup off the table for others.

I’d say if you want to play new games from Bethesda, you’ll have to buy an Xbox, or sign up for Game Pass, which is cheaper. Clearly Game Pass works, so if you’re playing on PC, you can get Bethesda games that way. But if you’re a PlayStation fan, you’re not going to be able to play new Bethesda games on there.

It’s really hard to know what will happen to the catalog titles, theoretically Fallout 3 and 4, Wolfenstein, Wolfenstein Youngblood, DOOM, those are all on PlayStation, and my guess is you can still continue buying and playing them on there. But I also think these games will all show up on Game Pass after the acquisition closes, so they just made Game Pass a much more compelling value, because you can play everything Bethesda’s ever made for $15 a month. So I expect it will help Microsoft’s subscription numbers pretty well. And Bethesda’s studios, they are not prolific, but they do put out one or two games a year at least. For example the last Elder Scrolls game came out in 2011, and I’ve been predicting a new one will come out since 2016… I will be right eventually!

But the exact year doesn’t matter, it’s coming out in the next few years, and that will be exclusive to Xbox. So that’s a system seller. It won’t put them ahead of Sony, but it will definitely shift a few million people from PlayStation to Xbox. And to be honest, I’m more of a PlayStation prospective purchaser over Xbox myself, but my number 1 and 2 games of all time are Bethesda titles, and probably five in my top 15; so the odds that I buy a PlayStation and not an Xbox are nil, I’ll end up getting both. But if I were to only buy one, before it would have been the PS5, because I don’t really care as much for Microsoft’s output as much as I do for The Last of Us or Spider-Man or games by Sucker Punch. Now it will be Xbox, though, because Microsoft suddenly has at least as many appealing titles as Sony does.

So in the immediate short term, in the next year or two, how do you think this move impacts Sony and PS5?

Not much. I mean, it really depends on the deals that were in place. Like Starfield I think is coming out soon, so it will probably be on both platforms. It’s really going to be new games coming in 2021 and beyond that will be exclusive, though if any have been announced for PlayStation, I think they will hit PlayStation. So it’s not going to have any immediate impact, and like I said, you can go buy Fallout 4 on your PlayStation, it’s still available for you. But I think going forward, Elder Scrolls is a 15 million unit seller, and I think that will sway people to Xbox, I think 2-4 million players who would otherwise have owned PlayStation will now own Xbox.

Yeah, I think given how big Skyrim and Oblivion were, I’d say The Elder Scrolls is Microsoft’s biggest system seller at this point.

Yeah, I do too.

Okay, so do you think that Sony will respond with a big publisher acquisition of their own, or do you think they will keep doing their third party exclusivity deals the way they have been doing?

Yeah, their acquisitions have been smaller, like Insomniac, and those are the kinds of acquisitions that I would expect. I do think Sony is in a good position to buy Warner Bros. Interactive assets should they ever go on sale again. Depending on whether AT&T chooses to sell them, and how. If they just want to license their IP out, they will probably not go with exclusivity deals, because they won’t want the games limited to just one platform, but if they sell perpetual rights to Batman or Mortal Kombat, I think those assets would be pretty cool for Sony to fold into their lineup. They already did it with Spider-Man, so we know they would be interested in something like that. I really hadn’t considered this scenario, since we had heard WB was off the table, but now that Bethesda just got bought for $7.5 billion, you have to think AT&T are thinking, “could we get $7 billion?”

So you think Sony could actually purchase a publisher? Like other than Warner Bros. maybe Capcom’s catalog, or Metal Gear from Konami, or Square and Final Fantasy? Do you think that’s viable?

Well Metal Gear without Kojima might not be worth very much, and Final Fantasy, when did the last one come out? 2016? I’m not sure anyone really cares there, I think that that’s just a couple of million units we are talking about, that’s not a system seller. It probably is in Japan, but the Japanese aren’t buying Xbox, so Sony doesn’t really have to worry there, especially since all those Japanese games will be on PlayStation anyway, so Sony isn’t at risk of losing those titles.

I don’t think those assets are worth much.

I wanted to go back to something you had mentioned earlier, which was that you think Starfield will hit PS5 as well, but Elder Scrolls will be Xbox exclusive. But those are just the big Bethesda titles, what do you think will happen with DOOM and Dishonored and Wolfenstein? Do you think these are going to be Xbox and PC only from now on?

I think that contracts for console platforms are signed one or two years before a game will come out. So Wolfenstein and DOOM and Dishonored, are probably likely not subject to any existing contracts to PlayStation, so I think those will only come out on Xbox and PC. Elder Scrolls, let’s say it’s coming next year, it’s entirely possible Bethesda already had contractual obligations with Sony in place for it then. So that’s the big one – the sooner it comes out, the likelier it is to come to PlayStation and Xbox, both. The later it comes out, the less likely it is. Because again, the determining factor is whether or not a contract is in place, and I would guess there isn’t one for a game that is years out from release. But if there is a contract, Microsoft will honor it. That’s sort of why when they bought Minecraft, it didn’t disappear from PlayStation, and it continued to be supported on rival consoles as well.

Right, and they did say they would continue honoring any contracts in place.

And they will, all these guys are honorable businesspeople, they’re not going to do anything untoward. But if there is no contract, we can expect things to be exclusive.

You just never know, contracts can be amended or bought out, but I would guess for Elder Scrolls, Sony won’t relent. If it’s under contract, it will come out on PlayStation. I don’t think Microsoft will sign any new contracts, but they won’t violate any existing ones either.

xbox series x xbox series s

So given that we now have Game Pass, two variations of the Xbox hardware, and Microsoft’s shopping spree having resulted in them now having 23 first party studios under their wing – how do you think Xbox will fare against PlayStation this time around? Because last time, they didn’t really do all that well.

You know, it’s really going to be interesting to see what happens with that cheaper Xbox, because purchase intent looks very low for that thing. Mostly because I guess there’s some awareness that it has only a third of the teraflops the Series X does. And I don’t even know what a teraflop is, so I don’t know what that matters. What I do understand is that the Series S will play next gen games, just not at 4K and 240fps or whatever. And I would say more than two thirds of gaming households still don’t have a 4KTV, so if I don’t have a 4KTV, then I don’t really care about the higher end one, unless I buy a new TV – because even on 1080p the games will look stunning. So I think that price point might be a differentiator, even though right now, early adopters and hardcore fans don’t seem to be too interested in it.

I think Game Pass makes the Xbox audience bigger. I think that for $40 a month, getting Game Pass, Xbox Live Gold, and an Xbox console will get them some marketshare, so I would say best case Xbox takes 45% of the market, and Sony keeps 55%. And worst case, 60-40. It will be hard for Microsoft to go over 50, because Sony just has a great brand and loyal fans in Japan and Europe. I think you’ll win a few of those customers with the cheaper Xbox, a few from Game Pass, a few from the Bethesda acquisition, a few more from the other acquisitions they have made. But it will be hard for them to go over 50% overall.

So on the whole though, would you say Series S and Game Pass are Microsoft’s big aces next generation, in terms of expanding the reach of Xbox?

Yeah, I think the instalment purchase, which is really what most cellphones do, makes consoles more affordable for a lot of people, because most people may not have $500 lying around for a new console. So that $40 a month plan that gets you Xbox Live and Game Pass, you don’t need to buy very many games, you can do a $40 a month plan and get a Series X, and then buy 2 months a year that aren’t on Game Pass, let’s say FIFA and Call of Duty, and that’s really it, otherwise you’re always going to have something to play. And that’s a pretty good deal. So, we’ll see how it goes, I’d be curious to see if it gains them more than 5 percentage points of marketshare.

Sony of course are also doing two variations of the PS5, the Digital Edition which lacks the disc drive on the standard one, but is otherwise identical to it; and of course, the standard one. But the Digital Edition is a whole $100 cheaper. Which of the two models do you think will have a bigger marketshare in the long run?

I think Sony really blew it with that, because as far as we can tell, the cost of making a PlayStation 5 is $450, so they are breaking even on the $500 version, but losing $40 or so on the digital version. A disc drive isn’t worth that much. So they’re losing $40, but they gain $6 more per digital game than they would gain otherwise. So you would have to buy a lot of games to cover up the loss, and I just think it’s unlikely many will buy that many games.

I actually don’t think many consumers will want to save the money, I think most would rather have the disc drive on hand so they have the option to take their game to their friend’s house or trade it in or whatever. So I think they blew it with the Digital Edition, but it’s hard to tell early numbers, because it’s all sold out anyway, and we don’t know how many of each they made. But I think over the long run, they’ll sell and make fewer digital editions.

So this holiday season, between Xbox and PlayStation, which one do you think will do better?

It just depends on supply, because this Holiday they will both be sold out.

What you said was that at the end of this cycle, you see Microsoft having up to 45% marketshare, and Sony having up to 55% marketshare. How does Nintendo factor into all this? The Switch is not slowing down, it is having a recordbreaking year, and growing.

I don’t think Nintendo factors in, to be honest; I don’t think the Switch is an alternative to Xbox or PlayStation, because there are so few games that are shared across them. I don’t think there is anyone who says “I can only buy one” and then buy Switch instead of PlayStation. Of course, if they are a Nintendo fan, and they can only buy one, they would get the Switch, but if they only want to play Call of Duty or FIFA or Cyberpunk, they’re not getting a Switch. I would say fewer than half of Switch purchases are as the only console in the house, unless the gamer is under 10. So if you look at the gaming community over 10 years old, it’s probably the only console for about 20% of the households, whereas for the other 80%, it’s probably a secondary purchase bought to supplement their exiting PlayStation or Xbox. So I don’t think the Switch matters to how things play out for PlayStation and Xbox.

So as far as Nintendo’s trajectory goes, how do you see the Switch doing? Where do you think it ends up by the end?

I think that 20 million units sold a year is a pretty sustainable number; I mean obviously they are going to sell a lot more than that this year, because of the shelter in place guidelines, but I don’t think that will obviously last over the long term. I see it normalizing at 20 million sold a year, which I think is great, that’s a very solid performance.

nintendo switch

We also know that Nintendo is apparently working on a next generation Switch, Switch Pro. What are your predictions about that? Do you think they will stick with the hybrid model, or do you think they will eventually go back to making dedicated consoles?

Uh, I don’t really understand the whole hybrid concept. I think that was something Iwata did to differentiate the Switch, and he wanted to have a console that could go back and forth from console to portable. But I don’t think most people play it in both modes, I would say that maybe 20% of Switch owners play both modes; and I think most Switch owners play it handheld only. So I honestly don’t understand the whole point of the hybrid. Who cares? Play it as a handheld. And Nintendo isn’t that smart, so you never know what they will do next, but I think the smart thing would be to get rid of the Switch console and only have the Switch Lite, get rid of the docking station, get rid of playing on the TV; maybe offer a Fire Stick style dongle for those who do want to play it on the TV. But I just think that a portable only Switch makes the most sense, it’s the cheapest to make, and they could make the screen nicer and the build quality better. But I am not sure what we will see from them next generation, if there will be upgrade to processing power. They should at least put some flash memory in it so you can download some games and not have to screw around with cartridges.

I wanted to go back to Microsoft and Sony now. Halo Infinite got delayed into next year, it’s no longer a launch game. Do you think this hurts the Xbox’s prospects at launch much? I know you said it sells out no matter what, but do you think it could have had a higher ceiling if they had Halo?

I don’t think it matters; of course having a system seller is good, but I think they will be sold out at launch no matter what. But sure, maybe demand would be 10 million at launch instead of maybe 5 million now.

So as far as Game Pass goes, we talked about how Microsoft is making a play for that as that being their primary way of expanding their audience. They have 15 million subscribers already, and obviously the numbers will go up further as more exclusive games start coming up. Do you think Sony will ever have something similar? Do they even need to?

Well they have it, they just don’t market it very well. They have PS Now, they just don’t have as many games and they haven’t been putting their new releases on there. And that’s the problem, that their subscription doesn’t have new releases, and Microsoft’s does. So question is, will Sony walk down the Microsoft path? I’m not sure Microsoft makes money off that model, so I think that may be a bad business decision. I mean Microsoft has a lot of money in the bank, so they can do whatever they want, but Sony doesn’t have as much. So to give Sony credit, I think they are very good businesspeople, and they make intelligent business decisions. So there has to be a reason for why they haven’t done this yet, and that reason is probably that it doesn’t make as much economic sense.

Okay, one thing Sony also said they wouldn’t do, but they are doing now, is said they won’t have cross-generation games. However, as we now know, Spider-Man and Horizon 2 are both confirmed to be coming to PS4. Do you think they will continue with the cross-generation release strategy? Can the next God of War also be a cross-gen game?

You know, it’s really hard to tell. Microsoft did something that surprised me, which is discontinue the Xbox One. And I saw an article recently which said that lots of people trying to buy a Series X bought an Xbox One X. I didn’t read the article, but that sounds stupid to me, since Microsoft isn’t even making those anymore, I have to assume it was retailers clearing inventory. But in any case, even though Microsoft doesn’t make it anymore, they will support it as long as they can.

I don’t know, it’s a good question. If you don’t support the old gen, you force people to buy new gen hardware and software; if you do support it, you give people time to make the decision. Again, I think it’s a business decision. I think it’s smart to support both, I really do. I think the key is, everyone who buys a game gets two copies, it could be piecemeal upgrades like on PS4, it could be paid upgrades like Activision and 2K are doing with Call of Duty or NBA, or it could be Smart Delivery like Microsoft. There are all sorts of models that we will see come out, that will help last gen consumers figure out what the best deal for them is.

PlayStation Studios

Okay, so one of the things with next generation, which you alluded to, is that publishers may be looking at pricing their games at $70. Do you think that becomes an industry standard?

I don’t know if what you said is right, it’s only one game from Activision, one game from 2K, and one game from Sony at that price. It really comes down to what the console MSRP is for games. Microsoft has been pretty clear with Smart Delivery, which they have said is free for current to next gen upgrades. So if Smart Delivery is free, unless Microsoft raises the price of current gen games from $60 to $70, they can’t price their games at $70. And next gen games from them will be $60.

I think 2K pricing their game at $70 is going to upset customers. And I get that it’s worth it, I get that inflation is a thing, and that game prices haven’t increased in years. But the fact is, if the platform holders don’t suggest a $70 price point, then third party publishers will look greedy by asking for $10 more. Activision actually announced the next gen version of Call of Duty is $60, I believe, the $70 price is only if you want a copy of the current gen and next gen versions both. So they’re doing two different versions… so I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I think what we’re seeing is publishers trying to figure out what they will do with regards to pricing, and I have to imagine Sony didn’t help anybody announcing Miles Morales at $40 and Demon’s Souls at $70.

So right now there is no telling what model everyone might go with.

That’s right. But no, I don’t think everyone will charge $70.

Okay. One other thing Sony has said is, they might look at releasing games on PC on a case by case basis. They already did Horizon and Death Stranding. Do you think this becomes an ongoing strategy for them? Do you think we eventually see Sony games come to PC day one, like Microsoft games do?

You know, I think that this is all part of that enhanced subscription package that they haven’t yet announced. Microsoft did Game Pass, and they said that it’s on PC as well, and all that really means is that a lot of people who have Xboxes at home can play at work. And I think that’s what the plan was. So I think Sony is trying to go that way, and I think that ultimately favors the whole streaming solution, so you can play on PC, or TV without a console, and that’s where the whole subscription model makes sense. I think Microsoft doesn’t care if you sign up for $15 a month for Game Pass, but don’t buy a console, because they’re making $15 a month from you anyway. So Sony, I think, is headed that way, but they just haven’t announced it yet. That’s what I think Sony will look at doing.

This last gen we had PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, which were upgraded versions of the consoles; do you think we see something similar like that this upcoming gen as well? PS5 Pro and Xbox Series X… X, or something?

(laughs) It’s too early. It’s too early to tell.

But in terms of an ongoing business strategy, would you say it’s appropriate?

I would say it depends on if they can improve the console enough to charge more. And I really don’t know. Ultimately, I doubt that they will get much faster, and if they do, I doubt people will be able to tell the difference. So really, this will probably come down to bells and whistles, and how many Terabytes of SSD storage do you really need? So no, I doubt we’ll see anything like that, but we’ll find out.

Now I wanted to talk about some of the games. One of them is Call of Duty: Black Ops: Cold War, and I wanted to ask if you think it will become the highest selling game of the year? Right now we have Animal Crossing, which has a really ridiculous pace of sales.

Well, I haven’t seen what the Animal Crossing numbers are, it isn’t over 15 million is it?

It’s 24 million or thereabouts.

Oh, then no, Call of Duty won’t outsell it this year. Not this calendar year, it’s coming out in November, there is no chance it outsells Animal Crossing in two months.

How much do you think Cyberpunk will sell in its first year?

It’s really hard to tell… it’s also coming out in November, so I say it probably sells around 15 million. Could it sell 20 million? Sure. 12 million? Sure. But 15 million seems right. If it gets like a 99 on Metacritic, then it could sell 30 million. But if it gets 90, it can sell 15 million. And it won’t get an 80, it will be a great game.

The difference between a 90 and a 97 is these really tiny nuances that game critics focus on; I could see Cyberpunk get a 97, but right now I would say 92 is the likely Metacritic average, and that it sells 15 million.

Sony is launching with a few exclusives, which are Spider-Man and Demon’s SoulsSpider-Man of course will do well, given how big the brand is and how well the original did. How do you think Demon’s Souls will do?

I honestly don’t know much about that franchise, I don’t think it sells big numbers though. I personally hated it, I’m the wrong guy to ask, honestly.

Nintendo has announced a new Zelda game that will be a sequel to Breath of the WildBreath of the Wild of course broke franchise records, and sold over 20 million. Do you think this sequel will be able to sustain this level of critical and commercial success, or do you think there will be a drop-off?

I think it will sell more. Bigger install base, and the brands that everyone buys Nintendo systems for are Zelda and Mario Kart and Smash Bros. And how many Switches will be on the market by the time the next Zelda is out, 75 million? They will probably have no trouble selling 25 million units of the next Zelda game, they will probably sell 35 million, even 40 million.

Those would be amazing numbers for a Zelda game.

Well, they’re great games. Zelda is the best thing that Nintendo does, I’m not a big Smash guy, but Mario Kart and Zelda are great. I think one reason Nintendo hasn’t done a Mario Kart since 2014 is that they want to have a giant install base to sell it to and set records.

There’s that Mario Kart game coming out this Holiday season, with the AR kart racing. Will that do well, or might it flounder like Labo?

I mean everything they do does well. But I mean, not 40 million well.

That’s fair. As far as third party games go, we have Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla both from Ubisoft, launching pretty close to each other. Do you think there is any scope for cannibalization there?

They’re different games for different audiences. You know, Watch Dogs is pretty close to Cyberpunk. Not a perfect competitor, but you know, future and tech-based, I would say that might be a bigger issue for Watch Dogs rather than Assassin’s Creed. I don’t think many consumers even know that Watch Dogs and Assassin’s Creed are by the same publisher to be honest, so this would be like arguing that Call of Duty can affect Overwatch sales. Which it doesn’t, because they’re different. The same as here.

Do you think these third party games will sell more on PS5 or Xbox Series X?

Well, it doesn’t really matter, they’re going to sell well on both consoles. But this, again, comes down to supply from Sony and Microsoft. If you tell me Sony has made 8 million PS5s and Microsoft has made 5 million Xboxes, I will say the games will sell more on PS5. If you tell me Microsoft made 8 million and Sony made 5 million, I will say the games will sell more on Xbox Series X. It comes down to supply again.

So basically your predictions for how this Holiday season plays out is all contingent on supply.

Yeah, and I mean, like I said, if there’s only 2 million consoles sold, do you really care if someone sold 500,000 games on one and 600,000 on another? It doesn’t really matter.

One publisher we haven’t talked much about so far is EA. They’ve had mostly a quiet year this year, but they have said the next Battlefield game will do, how does 2021 play out for EA?

You know, that’s a really good question, because the two Battlefield games that did super well were 4 and 1, and they came out against the two lowest rated Call of Duty games. So both of those Battlefield games did super well. Then the next Battlefield game came out against Black Ops 4, which was one of the best received games in the Call of Duty franchise, and it didn’t do that well. I mean it still sold 8 million units, but the others have done 15 million. So I think that EA has a problem with Battlefield because it is so close to Call of Duty, it plays and looks the same. And obviously there are fans of each I{P for different reasons, but they are both military FPSes.

So I think that the odds of Battlefield going up against another well received Call of Duty are pretty high, so I would say Battlefield will sell worse than people expect, because it will be up against a tough competitor. But hey, if they make a great game, market it well, and have a good launch window, maybe they’ll fare better next time.

Battlefield aside, what do you foresee for EA next year?

You know, they haven’t announced much. We’ve heard on and off about a sequel in the Titanfall universe, then it got canceled and then it was back on but then it was delayed… that is probably coming. We haven’t had anything since Anthem, which wasn’t that long ago, but BioWare has two studios, so by Fall of 2021, I would expect a new Dragon Age. And those are the two games I foresee from EA. The Sims has been doing great with smaller installments and recurring revenue, but we are way overdue for a new game, so maybe we see that as well. Then, of course, EA has smaller stuff like Plants vs Zombies, we’ll see. I think that more likely than not, there is a AAA title probably from BioWare, and it is probably Dragon Age. But of course, they could just revive the Mass Effect brand and do something in that universe. Who knows, we’ll see.

One thing that happened this generation, there were two trends that took off. One was battle royale, and the other was Destiny style service games. Do you think these will persist into the next generation as well?

Battle royale is here to stay, and it’s actually shocking to me to see that Ubisoft took so long to figure out they should have a piece of that pie. Activision sort of entered the arena in 2018 with Blackout in Black Ops 4, but it took until Warzone for them to hit big. Meanwhile EA hit it big with Apex Legends. Ubisoft just entered the space with Hyper Scape, and while I’m not sure how well it is doing, at least they have something now. Now wait for Take Two, they should join in as well, they’re a big publisher. So I think we will get at least one more battle royale, and the thing that fascinates me is that these are all additive. The entry of Apex Legends hasn’t made Fortnite lose market share or revenue, these games are all growing the market. So that’s good, I think that’s the kind of thing that will ensure we continue to see more battle royale games.

Speaking of Fortnite, that game is fully cross-platform, and I think that is important for its success. I think it’s only a matter of time before someone emulates that. I don’t know who; Call of Duty isn’t built that way, Warzone is a different game from Call of Duty mobile, so I don’t think they could do it. Apex could do it, but they haven’t even come out on mobile yet. But regardless, I do think that’s the next big step for battle royale games.

As for what you called Destiny style games, I don’t know. I personally think those MMO raid-based games, I think that market is saturated, so I don’t really see a lot more of that. I think the bigger opportunity is taking games like Overwatch or GTA Online, and making them free to play, I think if you did that, they’d see another 100 million players each. And I mean free free, I get that you can get Overwatch for $20 and the barrier for entry is low, but make it totally free and you will get 100 million players. And having a bigger playerbase makes it more fun for everyone.

So I think there is plenty of room to take existing games that are behind paywalls and making them free; I also think this about Ultimate Team, make that free and you have another 100 million players. And a lot more money. So, give this time and that’s the trend we’ll see emerge in the next five years, I think.

Yeah, we have already started seeing this with Warzone which is free.

And Activision resisted doing that, like I said they did Blackout behind the paywall. And they were afraid if they made Warzone free, no one would buy Call of Duty. Warzeone came out March 10, and the next time they reported financial results, they reported they had sold a record number of Call of Duty units in the first three months of the year, and then in June they set another record. So in the first six months of the year, they sold more units of Call of Duty than they have in a similar period for any year since the franchise came out. And that’s with Warzone out there, so clearly Warzone brought in new players, who said, “hey, this Call of Duty game is really good, I’m going to go buy it.” So I wonder why Take Two doesn’t do this with GTA Online, and why EA won’t do it with Ultimate Team. Do it, what will happen is you sell more copies of your game. So I think publishers are being short sighted. Like GTA is such a massive game, 200 hours of content, and you can pick it up for cheap now, of course people will buy it, so why not make GTA Online free? Every million players you get, you will get a hundred thousand new buyers for GTA5. You’ll make more money.

I hope you are right, because I think that sort of thing will help broaden the reach of video games in the coming years.

Me too.

ps4 xbox one switch

My last question is, how do you think 2021 will play out for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo?

Nintendo will plug along selling 20 million consoles a year, making great first party software and selling record units of Zelda. Microsoft and Sony are going to probably sell out all their consoles for the first seven or eight months of 2021, and then let’s see what happens to these streaming initiatives, let’s see if that ends up being a viable alternative to consoles for the market. If it doesn’t, I think Sony and Microsoft will have a good first year.

But ultimately, we are eventually going to get streaming of new games for purchase without a console, which means that the late adopters of consoles might be early adopters for streaming, because even if they don’t have $500 for a console, they can spend $60 on the game they want and just get going. So let’s see how this plays out, I think there will be competition in the streaming arena. And I think 2021 will be the year when everyone gets serious about winning the streaming wars.

Okay, that was all the questions I had, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to us again!

No problem! Thanks for having me!

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