Michael Pachter Fall interview


Rather than the humorous introduction we would usually write for e mail interviews (which, while daft, make it clear that the article which follows is a question and answer format) we thought that today it would be best to directly quote Michael Pachter himself, from the most recent e mail received from him:

“Please make sure you mention that you solicited these responses. I’m tired of your idiot fans complaining that I spouted off once more.”

If you still feel that the situation is plagued by a sense of ambiguity, please e mail admin (AT) criticalgamer.co.uk for further information.
PhotobucketThis is a question we asked Michael Pachter, in the hope of soliciting a response: What are your thoughs on Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association? As a lawyer, do you think the First Amendment means the state of California is trying to pass an unconstitutional law?

This is a solicited response; that is, we asked Michael Pachter a question and this is the answer he gave us: I think that the California law is too broad, and is an impairment of free speech. The law attempts to prohibit the sale of any game with violent content to minors, and the definition of violence includes assaults against police officers or soldiers. By defining “violence” so broadly, all games where the main character is a law enforcement officer (including arguably games like Iron Man or Spider-Man) will be deemed violent, even if they have what is typically classified as “comic mischief”. The state’s attempt to classify something as violent before it has been created triggers a concept in the law called “prior restraint”, and by doing so, has a chilling effect on game development, leading to a restriction on free speech. I don’t think that the law has a prayer of being upheld by the Supreme Court, but I never thought states could successfully outlaw abortion or gay marriage, either, so you never know . . .

This is a question we asked Michael Pachter, in the hope of soliciting a response: What impact, if any, do you expect the new release date of January 2011 to have on sales of LittleBigPlanet 2?

This is a solicited response; that is, we asked Michael Pachter a question and this is the answer he gave us: I don’t think that the delay of LBP 2 is fatal, but it would have definitely benefited from a holiday release. Over the very long run, it won’t impact sales that much, but it will probably cost 200,000 – 400,000 units this holiday.

This is a question we asked Michael Pachter, in the hope of soliciting a response: Can the 3DS exceed the popularity of the DS? Would you say that the games revealed to be in development (Mario Kart, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, etc) indicate that it will be marketed as a ‘hardcore’ handheld?

This is a solicited response; that is, we asked Michael Pachter a question and this is the answer he gave us: I think that the 3DS is truly revolutionary, and expect it to be exceedingly popular. With that said, price will be an issue for most people, so its popularity will be limited by price. If the 3DS is offered at a $129 price point, I think it has the potential to rival the DS, but I don’t think we’ll see that price point any time in the next three years, if ever. As far as more “hardcore”, I think that is their plan, and at the likely high price point, the early adopters will most likely be the most hardcore Nintendo fanboys. I think that there is a great opportunity for the device, but to be as successful as the DS, they will have to appeal to the mass market as well.

This is a question we asked Michael Pachter, in the hope of soliciting a response: Why has Microsoft still not entered the handheld console market? Do you think they will ever do so?

This is a solicited response; that is, we asked Michael Pachter a question and this is the answer he gave us: I think Microsoft has stumbled so badly with Zune (if you don’t know what that is, look it up) that they won’t try to move into handheld gaming.
PhotobucketThis is a question we asked Michael Pachter, in the hope of soliciting a response: After the mass exodus of staff from Infinity Ward, how important will the commercial and critical reception for Black Ops (developed by Treyarch) be for the future of the Call of Duty franchise?

This is a solicited response; that is, we asked Michael Pachter a question and this is the answer he gave us: The mass exodus of Infinity Ward staff is not as important for the Call of Duty brand as the quality of Black Ops. If Black Ops is critically acclaimed, I expect the next Infinity Ward game to do quite well. If not, the brand could be damaged. I’d be willing to bet that Black Ops does just fine . . .

This is a question we asked Michael Pachter, in the hope of soliciting a response: A few weeks ago at PAX, you talked about covering the industry on a more personal level, focusing on the people behind the scenes making the games. You definitely seemed passionate about the topic, care to elaborate on it?

This is a solicited response; that is, we asked Michael Pachter a question and this is the answer he gave us: I think that the greatest thing about this industry is the anonymity of the creatives, and their passion. Until the last decade, hardly anybody got wealthy making video games, and the “old school” guys (now in their 40s) all made games because of their love of the medium. I suppose that the crazy numbers being paid out will attract a new breed of developer that is interested only in money, but that is certainly not the case for the Bungie guys, the ex-Infinity Ward guys, the Epic guys, the id guys, the Bethesda guys, the Irrational guys, the Media Molecule guys, the Insomniac guys and countless others. I love that there are amazingly talented people out there with absolutely no egos, and love that they work ridiculous hours to perfect their art, with zero expectation of anything other than a sense of accomplishment. It’s a unique industry, and I am lucky to be in the middle as an observer. So are you . . .

This is a question we asked Michael Pachter, in the hope of soliciting a response: What do you think of Microsoft’s announcement of several Kinect games at TGS? Is it the hardcore shot in the arm the peripheral needed?

This is a solicited response; that is, we asked Michael Pachter a question and this is the answer he gave us: The games announced at TGS are a start, and I think that Microsoft will have more announcements going forward. Most gamers seemed to me to be skeptical about Kinect, as it was difficult to appreciate why they needed to spend $150 to retrofit their 360s with it. As there are more games that take advantage of Kinect, the peripheral will be more successful.

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Written by Patrick G

One comment

  1. KrazyFace /

    I find it funny that it’s usually the fanboys of another faction that feel the need to come down on this guy so badly when he makes a prediction about something. I’m sure that someone in the Sony Brigade will be enraged by him saying Kinect might make it after all, c’mon, I know you’re just itching at that keyboard wanting to say how much of an idiot he is, aren’t you!?

    In my opinion, Pachter’s a bit like the guy who owns Virgin (aargh, whatshisname!?) y’know, he looks like a lion? Anyway, what I mean is; he’s usualy on the ball with the majority of all things game-shapped. If only I could ask him to guess this weeks lottery numbers…

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