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Activision: Xbox Infinity, PS4 May Face Same Wii U Woes

By - Source: VG247 | B 41 comments

Activision's CEO verbalizes the uncertainties surrounding the next-generation consoles and consumer reaction.

There's certainly a lot riding on Sony and Microsoft in 2013. The gaming industry has been waiting for the arrival of the next generation for quite a while, fearing another industry crash, as seen in the early 1980s, if new products weren't revealed soon. The Nintendo Wii U beat them both to the punch, but has suffered lackluster sales since the beginning of the year.

Earlier this month Nintendo, blamed the slow Wii U adoption on customer confusion and a lack of premium first-party games. But is that indeed the case? Or has the global economy taken such a beating that customers just aren't willing to spend big bucks on an entertainment device that can't be used on the go? Tablets are selling like hotcakes, especially the smaller sizes, and these provide cheap but quality gaming the big three have yet to really harness.

“There are still many unknown factors, such as pricing, launch dates and quantities, the level of first-party support and, importantly, consumer purchase intent in a world where consoles are no longer just competing with each other, but also with new platforms, such as smartphones and tablets," said Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.

Not only are next-gen consoles competing with each other and mobile devices, but a wave of Android consoles are set to arrive in June like the OUYA and Nvidia's Project Shield. Throw in the fact that customers can purchase a high performance desktop or notebook at a low price – and they do more than just play games, movies and TV shows – and there's a wider arena than just the Big Three duking it out at Walmart. It's a different playing field than it was three or four years ago.

Kotick, who spoke during the company's recent Q1 2013 Earning conference call, hinted that Microsoft and Sony will likely face the same challenges as Nintendo has faced since the Holiday 2012 season. So far the back half of 2013 looks more "challenging" than previously expected.

"While we have had a solid start to the year, we now believe that the risks and uncertainties in the back half of 2013 are more challenging than our earlier view, especially in the holiday quarter," said Kotick. "The shift in release dates of competing products, the disappointing launch of the Wii U, uncertainties regarding next-generation hardware, and subscriber declines in our World of Warcraft business all raise concerns, as do continued challenges in the global economy."

Because of this, Activision will remain cautious. "The newest console, the Wii U, has had a very slow start,” Kotick added later. "All of these factors further heighten our concerns heading into the back half of the year, particularly during the very competitive fourth quarter."

It's undoubtedly a scary year for publishers and developers who must sit back and see how consumers react and what they will eventually do towards the end of the year, and into 1Q 2014. Sure, customers will eat up the new consoles during the holiday season, but will sales sizzle out come January 2014?

More conference call coverage can be read here. Hopefully we'll have a better angle on what's to come next month during E3 2013.

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Top Comments
  • 31 Hide
    getochkn , May 11, 2013 6:06 PM
    I think the new Xbox and PS will do decently. They both have exclusive content to them, and their devote fanboi's. The Wii U is basically a Wii, which is basically a Gamecube. They may think people want stupid controllers, but they don't.
  • 12 Hide
    twelch82 , May 11, 2013 7:16 PM
    The WiiU's biggest problem is that there's nothing next-gen about it. It doesn't even quite match up to the existing 360 and PS3. Developers are going to avoid it because it's going to be too slow compared to the new consoles from MS and Sony.
    The controller having a video screen is gimped by the fact that it only can work with one controller, and the controller itself is expensive.
    So what does the WiiU really have going for it? It's hard to make a compelling case for buying it. Good first party titles might help, because of the few cross-platform games they do get, most of them will be better on another console anyway.
Other Comments
  • 31 Hide
    getochkn , May 11, 2013 6:06 PM
    I think the new Xbox and PS will do decently. They both have exclusive content to them, and their devote fanboi's. The Wii U is basically a Wii, which is basically a Gamecube. They may think people want stupid controllers, but they don't.
  • Display all 41 comments.
  • 6 Hide
    nukemaster , May 11, 2013 6:12 PM
    People said the same thing about Wii("They may think people want stupid controllers, but they don't. ") and it sold well enough and both Sony and Microsoft came out with motion control systems shortly after.
    I do agree the tablet controller is a bit strange and without multi-touch, it limits its use outside of basic gaming. Think of lock picking in Elder Scrolls with that thing and multi touch.
  • 3 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , May 11, 2013 6:26 PM
    I think they're being conservative with their sales projections just in case. If the investors are expecting low sales, they'll be pleasantly suprised if sales are higher. I don't expect the 720's and PS4's sales to be as lackluster as the Wii U. The Wii U suffered from low 1st/2nd party launch support, an unpopular name, a high price (compared to it's specs), and many console fans waiting to see what Microsoft and PS4 would offer before choosing their next gen console. I don't expect Sony and Microsoft to suffer the same problems, in fact, I think they may have some of the highest 1st year adoption rates of any generation yet. Both Sony and Microsoft have hinted that their systems will cost less at launch than last gen. Both are apparently going to have a decent amount of 1st and 2nd party launch support (Sony has unveiled 2 launch exclusives so far, with rumors of another 3 to be shown at E3, rumors suggest that Microsoft has as many as 9 exclusives in development though how many will be ready for launch is unknown). Most of this Holiday seasons 3rd party games are going to be cross-gen, so many may buy a next gen system just to get better graphics and other improvements.
  • 2 Hide
    jdwii , May 11, 2013 6:36 PM
    Wii u's is only going to be bought for Hardcore Nintendo fans. Fact i love nintendo i'll buy one, one day and it won't be until their is a decent list of 1st party games. People don't buy Nintendo systems for hardcore shooters(COD and even GTA) and if they do they wasted their money. Besides hardcore Nintendo fans they also might get some casual gamers but i wouldn't count on it since most casual gamers are now tablet/smartphone owners. Nethertheless The Wii U is going to be the 3rd most sold console mark my words. Not that its a bad little system its just going to sell like the Cube and i think the Xbox whatever is going to be in 2nd place with Sony wiping the floor with them both.
    One thing's for sure i can care less since i'm a PC gamer mainly their isn't any games i care to play that i can't play on the PC and if there's some it would be Nintendo. If the PC did not exist from a gaming standpoint i would buy a PS4 and a Wii u.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 11, 2013 6:40 PM
    The so called next gen consoles are long overdue should have come out a year ago at least. Now alot of people with times harder than they were when the crapbox/ps3 came out aren't willing or can't shell out $500+ for a new gaming console when what they have works just fine. As for the Wii U I believe only 12 year olds knew about it, most people thought it was just a rebranded or repackaged Wii. I game on PC anyway which is the best experience to be had.
  • -5 Hide
    jdwii , May 11, 2013 6:46 PM
    Wii u's is only going to be bought for Hardcore Nintendo fans. Fact i love nintendo i'll buy one, one day and it won't be until their is a decent list of 1st party games. People don't buy Nintendo systems for hardcore shooters(COD and even GTA) and if they do they wasted their money. Besides hardcore Nintendo fans they also might get some casual gamers but i wouldn't count on it since most casual gamers are now tablet/smartphone owners. Nethertheless The Wii U is going to be the 3rd most sold console mark my words. Not that its a bad little system its just going to sell like the Cube and i think the Xbox whatever is going to be in 2nd place with Sony wiping the floor with them both.
    One thing's for sure i can care less since i'm a PC gamer mainly their isn't any games i care to play that i can't play on the PC and if there's some it would be Nintendo. If the PC did not exist from a gaming standpoint i would buy a PS4 and a Wii u.
  • 4 Hide
    twelch82 , May 11, 2013 7:11 PM
    The WiiU's biggest problem is that there's nothing next-gen about it. It doesn't even quite match up to the existing 360 and PS3. Developers are going to avoid it because it's going to be too slow compared to the new consoles from MS and Sony.
    The controller having a video screen is gimped by the fact that it only can work with one controller, and the controller itself is expensive.
    So what does the WiiU really have going for it? It's hard to make a compelling case for buying it. Good first party titles might help, because of the few cross-platform games they do get, most of them will be better on another console anyway.
  • 3 Hide
    hakesterman , May 11, 2013 7:14 PM
    You can't buy a high end PC at a low price, a PC is three times the Investment of a Console once all things are considered. Secondly no Tablet is going to compete with a PS4, it's a totally different Market. I bet a great number of people that have the tablets will also buy a next Gen. Console. OUYA = Epic Failure. Activision better get together with Sony and come up with a few games or Activision is going to be left in the dusk with No one to blame but themselves.
  • 12 Hide
    twelch82 , May 11, 2013 7:16 PM
    The WiiU's biggest problem is that there's nothing next-gen about it. It doesn't even quite match up to the existing 360 and PS3. Developers are going to avoid it because it's going to be too slow compared to the new consoles from MS and Sony.
    The controller having a video screen is gimped by the fact that it only can work with one controller, and the controller itself is expensive.
    So what does the WiiU really have going for it? It's hard to make a compelling case for buying it. Good first party titles might help, because of the few cross-platform games they do get, most of them will be better on another console anyway.
  • -2 Hide
    ddpruitt , May 11, 2013 7:39 PM
    The problem of consoles summed up:
    They're not much of an improvement (all of them)
    They're casual systems competing with Android and iOS
    They cost so much you can get a PC for the same amount once you factor the cost of games
    In other words consoles really don't have anything differentiating themselves from other types of gaming. It used to be that consoles were a lot cheaper than computers, not anymore. And you have cheap systems (tablets and phones) competing with cheaper games. The entire industry is at an inflection point and we'll have to see where things settle.
  • 2 Hide
    DRosencraft , May 11, 2013 8:27 PM
    It's not a mystery why the Wii U isn't doing well - there is legitimate confusion based on the fact that Nintendo didn't do a stellar job of its launch. They launched a console that itself looks almost exactly like the existing Wii, with a new controller that everyone seems to think is an optional purchase for their existing Wii, and there are very, very few good exclusive titles out for the system. Some bemoan the price, but that's mainly because there aren't any games out to justify it. After so many were burnt by the latter part of the Wii's life cycle where new releases of good games were few and far between, there ins't going to be a swarm headed to go pick up a Wii U.
    As for attention, this is the exact reason you don't launch a console ahead of everyone else's console. You know what everyone was talking about during the launch of the Wii U? When MSFT and Sony were going to launch their consoles and what was going to be in it. Ever since Nintendo launched the Wii U, all anyone has really done is speculate about that the other two console makers were going to do with their systems. That took any air Nintendo's balloon might have had. Heck, a lot of rumors last year after E3 were that the Wii U was an intermediate thing and that Nintendo was going to have a real launch for the new generation. Unless they surprise with something like that at E3 or something this year, the only real hope they have is to get with releasing more really good, exclusive, games.
    They don't all have to be 1st party, which is something they seem to have a bad grasp of. You can have outsiders do exclusives for you too. Go for something more than just the Legend of Zelda and Mario crowds. Don't ignore them, but realize that you can't just sustain your console on the backs of franchises that you have been suing for decades and who only see genuinely new releases every few years.
    The same message goes out to Xbox; like Peter Molyneux said, if the Xbox focuses on games it has the potential to be fantastic. If that gets lost in all these other things, these sweeteners that aren't important to its function as a gaming console, it too will end up a confused system that no one will buy. They need to remember who they are. These are gaming consoles, systems meant to provide unique and entertaining gaming experiences. They have been too far corrupted by the idea that they need to become computers. Thanks, but I've already got a computer, as do most people. Don't try to emulate computers. Get back to what defined gaming consoles - a unique, thorough, entertaining experience different from what you get on a PC.
  • 3 Hide
    heero yuy , May 11, 2013 8:36 PM
    someone needs to make a game for the WiiU that uses the WiiU pro controller (that one that looks like a basic controller) and make it good
    a lot of developers have cited the controllers as a reason not to port their games over (tomb raider for example) when they could have just ignored the fancy touch screen controller and made the game for use with the WiiU pro controller (I believe the tablet controller does have all the same buttons as the pro controller as well)
    TL;DR: no one is forcing the developers to use the tablet controller so why are they acting like they are?
  • 1 Hide
    southernshark , May 11, 2013 9:11 PM
    I think the X-box Infinity will be a blow out... not sure about the PS4 but I am rooting for it as well, just to have competition. The Wii U was hurt by the goofy and expensive controller which adds little value to the system.
  • 4 Hide
    kinggraves , May 11, 2013 9:11 PM
    Cheap, sure. Quality, absolutely not. Mobile gaming does not even touch the quality of a AAA title or even an Indie grade title. Funfact though, which like usual maybe you will catch on to in about a week. Nintendo is actually looking to convert iOS games to their platform. This would give them a platform which simultaneously provides AAA, indie, and mobile games at all their price points. Anyway, as if anyone really cares what Bobby thinks. His idea of a "positive situation" is pure profit. This is what I think a lot of you are missing. You all seem to be in some delusional state where you believe AAA publishers are trying to make the best possible games to satisfy you. This has nothing to do with quality, it has to do with profit. Easy profits come from easy ports. You're looking at two platforms both rumored to run on x86 the same as PC and one platform that runs on PPC (Wii U). Factor in any game that doesn't use the gamepad is going to look half assed so extra code for that is required too. The Wii U becomes a lot of hassle for those who just want to throw out a game to as many platforms as possible. The system's processing has nothing to do with it when titles that are coming out for 360/PS3 are being skipped as well. It's already been shown to handle ports of current gen titles well enough considering most games for it ATM are current gen ports. Don't even try and tell me that single touch or not, the gamepad would not have been great for games like Madden. Too much hassle for EA to port Frostbite over, no more EA games for Wii U.
  • 4 Hide
    kinggraves , May 11, 2013 9:32 PM
    BTW, had to throw in, even expecting multi touch on the Wii u gamepad is completely ignorant. Ignoring the extra price involved, you are not holding the gamepad like a tablet/phone, you're holding it like a controller. The only two digits near the screen are your thumbs. At what point are you multi touching anything with your fingers supporting the controller from underneath? It isn't actually a tablet, and multi touch on tablets is only compensation for a lack of actual controls.
  • 1 Hide
    tomfreak , May 11, 2013 11:04 PM
    other than better graphics, PS4/XBOX infinite's game are pretty much the same.
    the AI and physics depart of game isnt getting much improve. Fix this 2 area. We want a game that have AI that is more human, not blindly shooting high polygon dolls
  • 0 Hide
    southernshark , May 11, 2013 11:16 PM
    I think the X-box Infinity will be a blow out... not sure about the PS4 but I am rooting for it as well, just to have competition. The Wii U was hurt by the goofy and expensive controller which adds little value to the system.
  • 2 Hide
    smokeybravo , May 11, 2013 11:23 PM
    "customers just aren't willing to spend big bucks on an entertainment device that can't be used on the go? Tablets are selling like hotcakes, especially the smaller sizes, and these provide cheap but quality gaming the big three have yet to really harness."
    I guess Tom's has never heard of the DS?
  • 1 Hide
    takk78 , May 12, 2013 12:29 AM
    Nintendo is ruining there franchises by forcing gamers to buy shitty, gimmicky hardware. I'd rather play the new Mario games on the original, thumb blistering controller than this stupid thing.
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