The Big Interview With Michael Pachter: “I Doubt Microsoft Is Selling The Xbox One X At A Loss”

We discuss the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and the biggest games of the year with Michael Pachter.

Posted By | On 29th, Jul. 2017

The Big Interview With Michael Pachter: “I Doubt Microsoft Is Selling The Xbox One X At A Loss”

The gaming market hasn’t been as interesting in years as it is right now. Sony has asserted its dominance entirely, and shows no signs of stopping or even slowing down, on the back of a hugely exciting lineup of exclusives. Nintendo has struck back with the Switch, and it looks on pace to reclaim its position in the market. And Xbox is doubling down for the launch of the Xbox One X later this year.

It’s been an interesting time for games- single player games have reasserted themselves in a marketplace increasingly dominated by multiplatform titles, Japanese games have made a comeback, and long thought to be dead genres like platformers and racers are suddenly seeing a lot of interest.

So much is different, but so much stays the same. GamingBolt decided to sit down with Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities, to have a chat on all the changes the gaming landscape is undergoing, and pick his brain as to what he thinks or makes of them all.

I wanted to start by talking about Sony, I am sure you’ve been following them. Their lineup in 2018 and even going into 2019 is great, they have God of War, Days Gone, Last of Us, Detroit, Death Stranding… these are all big games that are PlayStation  exclusives, true, proper PlayStation exclusives. What is your take on Sony consistently delivering high quality exclusives? Do you think that there’s actually a value to exclusives still, and how do you think they keep doing it?

Well, clearly, exclusives differentiate one console from another. So the Switch is kind of a unique device, and because it’s portable and you can play it as a handheld, it will have a different appeal to it. But between the Xbox and PS4, they are close enough to one another that you tend to pick one based on price or exclusive content. So I’m sure that at the margin, at least 20% buyers for each system buy them because of the exclusive content on them. As for Nintendo, the bulk of the content is exclusive, but for Xbox or PS4, it comes down to Uncharted or Kojima games versus Halo and Gears of War games.

As far as quality, it’s kind of a given that none of the big three will waste their resources on games that aren’t worth it. Microsoft canceled Scalebound last year, and it was big news, but why did they cancel it? Because it wasn’t turning out to be very good. They shut down Lionhead, and Rare has disappeared, I know Sea of Thieves is coming, but I don’t think that will be any good… but, no, if you’re making something and your name is Kojima or David Cage or Naughty Dog, yes it will be good.

This is an interesting point you raised. I wanted to ask you about Microsoft releasing a lot of exclusive content for Xbox One early on, but a lot of it failing to stick. We had games like ReCore, Quantum Break, Ryse, and all of these games aren’t critical topping charts, fans didn’t like them much, and even long running franchises like gears of War and Halo have had their weakest entries on Xbox One. So why do you think Microsoft is struggling to match Sony on the first party front?

You know, Microsoft has fewer in house studios and they certainly have lower quality on average with those studios. I think that The Coalition are clearly very good, 343 clearly very good. Turn10, they’re absolutely talented. So they’re comparable to Naughty Dog or to Polyphony Digital, or other Sony studios, sure… but Sony has far more than them. They do. Even a studio like Insomniac isn’t owned by Sony, but they have a long history of Sony exclusives, and they just go to PlayStation, ditto with Kojima. I think it was very smart of Sony to sign him up, I don’t know if Death Stranding will be any good, but it was smart. Same with Days Gone, I don’t know if it will be any good, it looks good at least. But I thought Horizon looked terrible, and yet, the game was very good and people really liked it. So let’s give Sony credit, I think game development is in their DNA and they have been good at it for more than 20 years. Microsoft really only had Halo in their first generation, and Gears was an Epic game that migrated to Microsoft later. But essentially it as Halo and Forza that have been carrying them. Games like Ryse were from Crytek, who haven’t made a good game in a long time. Rare has lost it, I really think they have and I think Sea of Thieves looks idiotic – although we’ll see, like I said, I thought Horizon looked dumb – Sea of Thieves was not even the best pirate game I saw at E3.

Okay, so let’s talk about Days Gone. Sony has shown it off in great detail twice. Both times the reception has been lukewarm. I’m not necessarily asking your your take here, but given that Sony games usually generate a lot of hype, which is a good indicator of how they perform – so for instance when The Order failed to generate positive hype, it was a good indication the game would underperform, which it did, compared to something like Horizon – what is your take on Days Gone’s potential in the market?

I have to say, when I actually got the demo with the developers, it looked a lot better than just the trailer that we saw. The developers showed us gameplay and took us through a really long sequence, and they played it more than once, and the other time was totally different. The only knock I really have on it is that I am zombied out, I have had enough of zombie games. But I will say there is something in this game that has a Walking Dead kind of dimension to it, where it’s ore about the living than about avoiding the dead. This seems to be more about the living, their community, and about scavenging resources… I think it might do okay, and again, it actually looks okay when you see gameplay.

"I think that The Coalition are clearly very good, 343 clearly very good. Turn10, they’re absolutely talented. So they’re comparable to Naughty Dog or to Polyphony Digital, or other Sony studios, sure… but Sony has far more studios than Microsoft does."

Okay, now you mentioned Microsoft’s upcoming lineup- there’s Sea of Thieves, State of Decay, Forza 7, Crackdown 3, and I’m assuming they have a new Halo and Gears in the works. But do you think this is enough firepower for the to withstand Playstation’s onslaught? And of course, now even the Switch is firing on all cylinders, so can they actually rely on this lineup for sales in 2018 and beyond?

Well, State of Decay, sort of the same comment as Days Gone, it’s another zombie game. I think the difference in that game is, it actually looks like there’s some humour to the game, it might do well, it looks okay. Forza is a great racing game, but obviously so is Gran Truism, so it’s not a great differentiator, you don’t buy a console for a great racing game, you assume you’ll get one anyway. So I don’t think it’s a differentiator. Sea of Thieves I think is stupid, as I said. So I don’t think the announced lineup is as compelling as PlayStation. So remember, I think it only makes a difference to about a fifth of the people who pick up either console. Meanwhile Sony is literally outselling Microsoft 2:1, mostly I think because they screwed up so badly with PS3 but they’d done such a great job with PS1 and 2, they’re just winning back their audience. So the guys outside the US – they’re not outselling Xbox 2:1 in the US, it’s closer to 11:10 or something – but outside the US, PS1 and PS2 owners are coming back home to PS4 this time. So I think the biggest differentiator here is PlayStation’s legacy. And I think that’s a huge advantage everywhere in the world, maybe not as much in the UK… but outside the US and UK.

The other thing is, most of the games Microsoft is known for are shooter games, which again, it’s hardcore, they tend to only appeal to the hardcore. Sony has a far more tried lineup, it might be equally hardcore but it’s not shooter centric. I think they appeal to RPG fans, JPG fans, and we saw Microsoft trying to do that, but I don’t think that helped them at all.

So as of right now, Microsoft has fallen back on relying just on Gears, Forza, and Halo. In fact, right now, they’re more reliant on these brands than ever before. Could this strategy backfire on them?

I, again, backfire to the extent that of the next 50 million consoles, we’ll see Sony keep up its 2:1 advantage. So backfire, I don’t think it changes anything. I don’t think Microsoft gains any marketshare because of these games, but they won’t lose any either, they’ll probably maintain it. And Microsoft did a much better job this time with smaller and independent games, indie titles, and I don’t know how many people care, probably a million, so it’s not a big audience… but it was enough that I think they have a lot of good content.

So you think exclusives appeal to about a fifth of the market, most people buy consoles for multiplatform games. Until now, PS4 has been sort of the default console for multiplatform games, because it was better, more powerful. But Microsoft has the Xbox One X coming up, it will be more powerful. Do you think exclusives notwithstanding, it can help Microsoft make up some ground in the console sales cycle.

I don’t think so at this price, I think it’s too expensive. And everything is relative obviously, and you always hear these false equivalencies about what things cost… so you’ll hear things like “Xbox One X is cheaper than a big screen TV”, but my big screen TV will be useful for 10 years or more, and when I am done with it, it’ll still find use in my guest bedroom.

So I think $500 is a lot, and I think we’ve been trained since at least the PlayStation, and probably since before then – I don’t actually remember what the NES was at launch – that $300 is the price point people are willing to pay. And Microsoft started this $400 price point with the Xbox 360, Sony of course made the mistake of pricing the PS3 at $600. PS4 was $400,and quickly dropped to $300… I just think people are willing to pay $300 for a console, but not $500, $500 is way too much. And given that you frequently see Xbox One S and PS4 Slim discounted to $249, or at $299 with a good game bundled, the perceived price for both is $250, regardless of the sticker price.

An Xbox One X costs as much as an Xbox One S and PS4 Slim combined- so if you don’t have an Xbox One yet, any kind, why would you buy a One X instead of a One S, and a PS4 to go with it too? I just don’t get it. I don’t think they are doing themselves any favour at this price point. I know they are selling the appeal of 4K, but let’s be real, probably fewer than 10% of US households have a 4KTV, and certainly way less than that in any other developed country. So who is waiting for this? Next year, maybe around the end of 2017, we’ll probably be closer to 20% US households, and 10% for the rest of the world. And by the end of 2018, we’ll probably be at 35% and 20% respectively, and by 2019, we’ll probably be at 50% and 30%. So yes, it’s a more relevant purchase down the line, but… at $500, if I had only that money in my pocket, and I had to choose between an Xbox One X and a 4KTV, I wold buy a 4K TV. So, they’re only appealing to people who have $1100, because they have to buy a TV as well. This is the same problem Oculus faced. I really think the Xbox One X will not do well.

"I really think the Xbox One X will not do well."

So, I guess my question is, why is it priced so high? Is it being sold at a loss, given how sophisticated the technology i?

I doubt that they are selling it at a loss. I think that they’ve talked themselves into believing the it’s so powerful, we just want it an don’t care what it costs. But I don’t think that’s how people make purchase decisions. So a good example is a Porsche 911, it costs about $100,000, and a BMW 3 series costs $50,000. And the Porsche is faster, and it’s lower to the ground. But the BMW is nice enough, and it outsells the Porsche, because it is also cheaper. Period. Because half as much money is more affordable to people. So you can’t find a BMW owner who wouldn’t rather have a Porsche, but not at twice the price. So I think the Xbox One X is desirable, but it costs twice as much as an Xbox One S- why would you buy it? And Microsoft’s answer is, ‘you have a 4KTV, so of course you want one.’ And… maybe. But of those 10% 4KTV households, how many of them use their 4KTVs as their primary gaming screens? So I think they priced it at cost, they over engineered the thing, and they brought it out to beat Sony, and I don’t think anyone cares that it’s the most powerful console ever made.

Also, by the way, I drive a Porsche, but the speed limit here is 55- who cares that my car will go 155? My car and the BMW will both go 65 in the end.

So practically speaking, the Xbox One X doesn’t have much of a difference with the PS4.

Right. You’re going to be limited by what the games are.

So assuming that the Xbox One X doesn’t do as well, and also assuming that Xbox sales themselves continue to trail behind,  do you think this could be the last Xbox console? Since Microsoft relies on games less than Sony and Nintendo, which means for them exiting the market is easier to consider.

No, I don’t think so. [Xbox consoles] are wildly profitable. We are concerned about warring about who is first and who is second, but that’s like saying, Pepsi doesn’t sell as much cola as Coke does, why not just shut down? Or Burger King doesn’t sell as many hamburgers as McDonalds, so why not shut down? They’re both profitable, who cares? The only people who care are fanboys.

I wanted to ask you about something you said recently: you said the Switch will probably end up outselling Xbox One this year. Do you still stand by that? Why?

Well, Microsoft hasn’t given s any numbers for a while. So I’m guessing when I say they’re being outsold 2:1 or that they are at 30 million units worldwide. They’ve been out for three full years, so 10 million a year, that’s about what they’ve been selling. Without a massive price cut, like $199, I think 10 million is a good number for them this year. And I think it’s clear Switch is going to sell more than 10 million this year. I don’t think Nintendo is crazy when they forecast 10 million. The Switch as of today is still over $400 on eBay, which means you still can’t find one on the market. And as long as it stays sold out, Nintendo will continue to sell as many as they make. Which means if they forecast 10 million, they’ll sell at least that many. So I assume they make 12-14 million, and that’s as many as they sell, and that’s more than Xbox will sell.

Okay, switching gears back to the PlayStation, Shawn Layden of Sony America recently confirmed there will be a proper PS5, and they won’t continue with the half step cycle like the PS4 Pro. So why did they bring out the PS4 Pro at all? Or do you think that the Pro was a failure to the extent that it made them rethink their approach?

It’s a good question. I really like Shawn and I don’t think he is attempting to mislead anybody. The PlayStation 4 Pro is better [from a technical perspective] than the PS4, so I think that’s a half step towards the PlayStation 5. I think the PS5 will be another half step. So he is being honest when he said he is not doing a half step but the PlayStation 5…how much faster can it be? It will surely support 4K. Will it support 240 frames per second? Great. Will it play games that were made for the PlayStation 4 PRO? That’s the question. I think it will. So I think they will build a console that will backwards compatible with the PS4 Pro. So I think it will be perceived by the consumers to be a half step and I think Shawn is telling the truth when he says it’s will be a full fledged console.

My expectation that is that it’s not coming out in 2018. That is a 2019 0r 2020 but probably 2019. Sony is probably timing it better because they are going to bring out a 4K capable device when the 4K TV market reaches 50% in the USA and 35% in the rest of the world. I think Sony has probably got the next console cycle nailed down already. I think, they already know what they got to do.

By the time 4K becomes affordable in 2019, PlayStation will have a 4K device, that will have more TFLOPs than the Xbox One X has, because they seem to be in a TFLOPs race.

"I assume Nintendo makes 12-14 million Switches this year. That’s as many as they sell, and that’s more than Xbox will sell."

Okay, so your PS5 prediction is 2019, not later, not earlier.

Not earlier- maybe later. If PS4 and PS4 Pro keep selling, remember, the PS3 just got discontinued. So they may really may launch the PS5 in 2019 and keep the PS4 around through 2022, and they may honestly sell 120 million PS4s that way. The Pro might become the standard PS4, and it will probably be $199 by the time the PS5 launches at $399.

So do you think Sony will ever have a PS5 Pro?

I don’t know, that’s what Shawn may be talking about, that they won’t. And understand, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X half steps are really all about higher fidelity graphics, so HDR and 4K… do you think it’s possible we’ll be on 8K and 12K, or whatever it is? I guess, but remember, there is a point of diminishing returns on graphics. And we don’t even have a 4K broadcast standard yet. So television is not in 4K- and it’s not going to be until it can be broadcast over the year and there is bandwidth that will accommodate it, which… we’re not there yet. So what’s the point in bringing out a PS5 Pro that is 8K at that point? I don’t think it matters. Have you seen 4K? It’s pretty damn good.

Yes, but honestly I feel like we’re already pretty past the point of diminishing returns for graphics.

I do too. 1080p is really good, and 4K is clearer. Mine, I think has a 12MP camera, and the iPhone had a 2MP camera, and I don’t think the pictures look that different, not on a phone screen. If they were blown up into billboard size, sure… it’s, you really don’t need that many pixels, unless you are looking at a 100 inch screen.

That makes sense. Most normal people won’t ever have a screen for 4K to be as effective as it can be.

Right- and I cover Best Buy and their TV sales, and their most popular TV models last year were 32 and 42 inch TVs. And again, we tech savvy early adopters think everyone has a 55 inch TV- and they don’t. Most people are perfectly happy with 32inch and 42inch TVs. They’re just good enough. If you’re sitting a few feet away from a 32 inch TV- it looks great! Most people don’t need gigantic screen sizes.

I wanted to for a minute move away from the hardware to talk about games again. And this time I want to talk about Japanese games. Last year you said that Japanese games are ultimately a non factor for the larger market. But this year, some of the highest selling games are Japanese, the highest rated games are all Japanese, and even niche smaller games like NieR and Persona are nearing 2 million units in sales worldwide. So do you still think Japanese games don’t matter in the larger scheme of things?

Yes, Japanese games don’t matter in the larger scheme of things. You are talking about 2 million units, I mean, a piece of crap like Mafia 3 sold 5 million units, and that game is a piece of crap. So, no, 2 million units is a rounding error, that doesn’t matter. No one is making money off of that.

Persona 5 was really, seriously, the first Japanese game that I liked in years, outside of Kojima and Nintendo stuff. But no, I don’t think it matters. There’s going to be the occasional Final Fantasy that will sell like 8 or 10 or 20 million games, but the Japanese games that ultimately work are games like Metal Gear, the ones that have a western appeal to them, those are the ones that have mass appeal. The ones that have Japanese appeal, don’t have mass appeal, and they don’t translate well to other cultures.

I mean, I am sure that Atlus is happy with the 2 million units that Persona 5 sold, that’s a success for them.

"I am sure that Atlus is happy with the 2 million units that Persona 5 sold, that’s a success for them."

What about Nintendo games? Those don’t have any western aesthetic or appeal, they manage to sell consistently well.

I would say Nintendo is the exception that proves the rule- if you were a Martian, and you had never seen a video game before, and I showed you a Nintendo game side by side with Persona 5 or Final Fantasy, you would not think they are from the same place. They don’t look alike at all. Nintendo has its own style, just like Disney cartoons have their own style, there’s something about them that’s different. I don’t know what it is, but no, it’s honestly… Nintendo has got an approachable, family friendly fun, whimsical… I mean, the big controversy at E3 was that Mario is using a gun in Mario + Rabbids, because it is so not like Nintendo. So Nintendo is a completely different company, they are the closest thing to Disney Japan has. Everything they do is completely different from everything everyone else does, the rules don’t apply there. They are the exception that proves the rule, no one in Japan makes anything like that, except for maybe Sonic.

So if we want to go back to Japanese games, considering that their support so far has been exclusive to PS4, but with the Switch actually becoming a factor now, do you think that Japanese games will continue to be exclusive to the PS4 in 2018 and beyond, or do you think they come to the Switch as well?

You know, I think developers will look at the Switch as a handheld. Notwithstanding Nintendo’s desire to brand it as a console. I’d say more than 80% of the people who buy a Switch primarily play it as a handheld. It’s comfortable in your lap there is a point to the device being a screen… we can’t play a PS4 or an Xbox in our laps. But we can’t with the Switch, and sitting with a 6 inch screen in my lap is plenty, you can make it as big or small as you want it to be. So yes, it can be treated as a handheld, and that’s how I think developers will approach it. And you can argue because Legend of Zelda is absolutely a console game, but… I think that Sony will get the kind of hardcore JRPG and Japanese shooter type games, and Nintendo will get the more family friendly stuff from Japan.

So you brought up shooters, which segues nicely into my next question. This year we have another Call of Duty, and we have EA bringing Star Wars Battlefront 2. Which one do you think comes out on top?

Call of Duty, hands down. I think Call of Duty looks absolutely phenomenal, I honestly liked the Black Ops series, didn’t play the third one much though. I liked Advanced Warfare, but it wasn’t great. Infinite Warfare and Ghosts were terrible. I loved the first Modern Warfare, but the World War 2 games back in the day were amazing, those were my favourites. This one looks incredible, it looked real, they just seem to have done everything right. So I think this is going to be the best selling Call of Duty game ever, I think they really nailed it. Now of course if it reviews poorly, that won’t stand. But if it reviews as well as it looks right now, which is high 80s, I think it will set a franchise record for sales. So no, I think it will kick Star Wars’ butt.

"I think this is going to be the best selling Call of Duty game ever, I think they really nailed it."

Okay, well let’s hope it turns out that well, because I lost interest in the franchise too, and I’d love to jump on board. Okay, now another thing I want to talk about- Battlefront 2, Call of Duty, and all these other multiplatform games have PS4 exclusive content. Do you think that this is now – Sony is on a roll with securing exclusive content for PS4 versions of games – do you think this is key from a marketing perspective?

Well, it’s a good marketing gimmick. I think it’s kind of like, let’s say the first DLC pack for Call of Duty comes out 30 days early for PS4, well, if you don’t have a PS4, if you have an Xbox, and your friends have Xbox, it doesn’t matter. Because you’re not playing with PS4 people. So you’re all getting it the same day, even if it is 30 days later.

So I don’t actually think it makes a difference at all, except for people who don’t have a console yet. And yes, there are a lot of people who don’t have a console yet, and they will be influenced by their friends, and so that 2:1 PS4 advantage means that twice as many people will tell their friends to get PS4 as Xbox One. So, I mean, it helps, but I think that ratio is key here.

The one exclusive we have forgotten about, which is also timed, clearly, is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and that will be a big deal. I don’t know what it will cost, I think it will be $30 or $40, but I think that will outsell most of those Japanese games on PS4, and that’s Xbox exclusive for a while- probably through the Holiday, and then it gets announced for PS4 next year, but that game will help sell systems. That game is incredible, and I can’t wait for it to hit consoles.

So this highlights an interesting thing you brought up. Microsoft did highlight a lot of smaller games at their conference- which is great, these smaller games can be incredible and they deserve exposure at well. But at the same time, why do you think that AAA third party developers are unwilling to make exclusives for Xbox? Is it only just the install base?

It is just the install base. The trade off to not being on PS4 is your sales will be just a third of what they would be if you were on both systems. And that means that being exclusive to Xbox will cost you a lot, which means Microsoft needs to pay up to compensate for that, and there’s no way they will do that. That’s why. Sony can pull that off because they have the first mover advantage and the big install base.

I want to go back to something you said about the Switch, which is that its success lies int he fact that it’s a handheld, it’s a Nintendo handheld, most people don’t see it as a console. If I assume that that is actually the definition of the system, and most people want to buy it as a handheld, why is Nintendo so insistent on marketing it as a console?

Well, the name itself tells you that they are marketing it as both. The Switch means switch between handheld and home console. And honestly, the way they showed it in their original trailer, when you prop it up on the table, and play sitting in a chair, it’s fine but not as different from playing it as a handheld. I just said, they don’t have a console. So the answer to the question is, they had a flop with the Gamecube, a wild success with the Wii, a bigger flop with the Wii U, and they want to be taken seriously as a console manufacturer, so they call this a console. But the fact is, they made it a convertible console that can switch from one to the other. They know damn well it’s a handheld. And I don’t know if you remember those NX leaks, but those were clear, it’s a handheld, with its own screen on it. That’s what it is. I don’t care what Nintendo says. It’s a handheld. And it’s the best handheld ever. it’s what the Vita should have been.

"The Vita was equally expensive, the games weren’t great, original first party, and it wasn’t as powerful as a console."

So why is the Switch doing well where the Vita, which was the same concept, did not?

The Vita was… equally expensive, the games weren’t great, original first party, and it wasn’t as powerful as a console. So if you remember the Uncharted game, it was watered down, and it didn’t get enough third party support, and Sony’s own lineup wasn’t enough to keep it going. But I need to be honest, ultimately I think it was the screen size. It was too small.

So you think the Switch’s screen size is working in its favour?

Yes, it’s big enough. It’s like an iPad Mini, it’s good enough. And it’s cheap, as well.

What do you think the final success of the Switch will be? How much do you think it will sell? Will it outsell PS4? Handhelds usually outsell consoles…

I don’t. I would be surprised if it sold fewer than 50 million, and I would be surprised if it sold more than 100 million. It’s impossible for e to forecast based on monthly sales right now, because we are supply constrained. Until supply and demand are in balance, I don’t know what the demand is. I mean, yes, it’s crazy, but…

I’d say probably between 50-60 million, but I reserve the right to revise my prediction until a yer or so when supply and demand are finally in balance, and we can get a clearer picture.

Yeah, that’s my hunch too, they end up doing as well with this as they did with the 3DS, so around 65 million.

And that’s great. I mean, it’s nothing to sniff at, and they’re making money on the hardware and on the software. So God bless them, they’re back, and I’m really happy for them.

Okay. I have just a few scattered questions left now. Let’s see, one of them is touching on a discussion we’ve already had- the PS4 doesn’t have any major exclusive lined up outside of GT Sport. So do you think that game alone can help Sony fend off an onslaught from Nintendo, and the Xbox One X’s release?

I do not, but again, I don’t think Microsoft is all that competitive,. Xbox One S is priced the same as the PS4, and I don’t think they are competitive at all with the Xbox One X, currently priced at $100 more than the PS4 Pro, and highly likely to be priced $150 more than the PS4 Pro by Holiday. My guess is, Sony will cut the everyday PS4 price to $249, and the PS4 Pro price to $349 this Holiday, and Microsoft will be too expensive, so Sony will keep its price advantage this Holiday.

One of the games that came out this year that didn’t do well critically when so many other games have is Mass Effect. Do you think its relative failure actually spells the end of the series, like reports say?

Oh, that’s a good question. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the end of the series, but I’m not really sure what went wrong with the game. There’s a Kotaku article that talks about it, and I’m not really sure what happened, because Bioware are pretty good game makers. So I don’t think you should rule them out, but remember, their next big project is Anthem, and that looks really good. So my bias is, if Anthem is a gigantic success, then you probably see Mass Effect put on the back burner as they shift their focus entirely on to Anthem. So I don’t know, but for now, I say their focus is on Anthem.

"Horizon was Guerrilla, and those guys are really good. It’s hard to come up with stuff like that. Unless Microsoft does something like buy Take-2, and develop GTA and Red Dead as exclusives, it would be hard for them to come up with something like that."

Earlier this year, we had two open world single player games be massive success- Sony with Horizon, Nintendo with Breath of the Wild. We’ve discussed this already, but Microsoft has nothing analogous to this in their lineup- it lacks a game that excites players in this manner. The discussion for months was about Horizon and Zelda, but Microsoft was left out of it entirely. Do you think that this sort of lack of exciting single player games is something Microsoft should address?

You know, I think it is something they should address, I just don’t know if that’s a priority to them, and I don’t know if they have an internal studio that’s on par with Sony’s internal studios, so… I don’t know. Horizon was Guerrilla, and those guys are really good. It’s hard to come up with stuff like that. Unless Microsoft does something like buy Take-2, and develop GTA and Red Dead as exclusives, it would be hard for them to come up with something like that. So yes, they should to do it, but whether or not they are able to, I don’t know if they can.

So one of my final questions for you is which PS4, Xbox One, or Switch game will be most successful this Holiday? Sales wise?

Well, Mario will be the most successful first party game by a lot, it’ll have a 1:1 attach ratio. And if Nintendo merely does its 10 million forecast, so they have 10 million Switches out there, they’ll sell 12 million copies of Odyssey, so that game will be phenomenal. But as far as overall sales go, I think Call of Duty ad FIFA will both outsell it… just not on the basis of single platform sales.

And, I guess, which game are you looking forward to playing the most yourself?

It’s funny you ask me this as a follow up to that. I only play Mario games to the end with 100% completion. I literally did that with Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, and I’ve been waiting for a follow up since, so I can’t wait for Odyssey, I will absolutely devour that game. And I’m an accomplishment hound in Mario games, so I have to find all the Stars and Green Stars, and whatever the collectibles are this time around.

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