Nintendo-Wii-MotionPlusNintendo’s Wii will receive a high-definition upgrade, probably at the end of next year, and as a result, will beat the Sony PS3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 into second and third place respectively in global console sales by 2015, says respected analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan.

Pachter may not always get it right, but he’s generally smart and currently very prolific – promoting his latest report: ” Money for Nothing: How Ancillary Revenues Can Extend The Console Cycle”.

Quoted by Edge Online, Pachter says: “We expect the dominant console at the end of the this cycle to be the Nintendo Wii. The console’s low price point, innovative control mechanism, and compatibility with standard definition televisions will provide it with a competitive advantage over the next two years.”

“The PS3 will capture significant market share, due to Sony’s victory [with Blu-ray] in the high definition DVD format war, and will end up in second place by 2015. Although Microsoft’s Xbox 360 enjoyed first-mover advantage, its market position will fade to third place due to lack of penetration in Japan.”

Within the next two years, Pachter believes that Nintendo will release a WiiHD or Wii Plus console upgrade – entirely backwards-compatible with existing Nintendo Wii games, but with improved graphics capabilities matching the Microsoft Xbox 360, a built-in hard drive and Wii MotionPlus built into the WiiMote. This will help keep Wii gamers with Nintendo, even if they buy high definition TVs or start wanting more “hardcore” games.

Vg247 quotes directly from the Money For Nothing report: “Nintendo will wait until the cost of a console with technical specifications similar to the Xbox 360 (1080p output at 60 frames per second) is sufficiently low that it can launch close to $200. In our view, if Nintendo can offer such a device by year-end 2010, it will be in a position to seriously damage Sony’s chances of a comeback this cycle.”

“We would expect publishers to support such a move, given that the cost of porting an Xbox 360 game to the new Wii Plus HD format would likely be lower than the cost of building a ground-up Wii game. Should Nintendo be able to convince publishers that the Wii Plus should be supported, it should be in a position to successfully convince consumers that the Wii Plus is the last console they will ever need to purchase.”

Pachter also contributed to a NeoGaf forum thread about his predictions, saying: “Nintendo has captured many non-traditional gamers, and my guess is that half of Wii owners have not owned a console before. They will try to convert these people to hardcore gamers. I think that the icing on the cake for them is to get games like GTA 5, Mass Effect 3, Fallout 4 and the like on the Wii Plus.”

“To do that, they have to bring the ‘next’ generation Wii up to the Xbox 360 tech standard. Because the commodity standard in 2010 or 2011 will be cheap, Nintendo will not be participating in the arms race. Publishers will love that, as it will cost the same or less to port a 360 game to the Wii Plus, and consumers faced with a choice of all third party next generation games available for Wii Plus won’t have a reason to buy a 360 or PS3 (other than Blu-ray or Xbox Live).”

Pachter went on to point out that games for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Project Natal motion-sensing technology (and presumably Sony Wand games) could easily be ported to the new Wii Plus/WiiHD too. But is he right that the Wii Plus will win all? Time will tell…

(Via Edge Online)

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