John Riccitiello, who is the Chief Executive Officer of publisher Electronic Arts
, has stated, in a conference call detailing the financial results of its company (hint: they're not pretty), that he expects the current console cycle to be “very extended” (is that even a valid use of grammar?) and that his company is focusing on creating the best videogames possible using the current generation of hardware.
Colin Sebastian, who is an analyst working with Lazard Capital Markets, asked Riccitiello about the future of consoles. The CEO responded that “I think there's always going to be new aspects.. new handhelds, new peripherals, new things coming out that invite investment from companies like ours.”
There will also be an “increased rate of change provided for by the first parties... look at the iPhone... a new platform in the handheld industry.” There are enough new platforms for which to develop games to keep the Research & Development departments running for quite some time, but there is no clear sign that Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft, the three big console manufacturers, are really interested in investing in a whole new generation of hardware.
One of the reasons is that the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 have enough processing power and enough storage to satisfy the needs of most gamers and developers. The Nintendo Wii managed to reach a wider market, where graphics power is not that crucial. Still, recently, the Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft, Yves Guillemot
, stated that all publishers and developers needed to be on the lookout for new hardware that would change how the development process works.
With such different positions from two heads of big publishers, it will be up to hardware manufacturers to say clearly whether they are planning to release new consoles in the near future or whether the current generation will have a long life cycle.