Shorter Console Lifecycles Are Better for Innovation, Ubisoft Says

Yves Guillemot is looking forward to next-generation consoles

By Andrei Dobra on November 30th, 2012 01:11 GMT

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot believes that shorter console lifecycles can result in more innovation in terms of games and better sales for the actual devices, as he criticizes the current generation.

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have been around for many years and, while both Sony and Microsoft are adamant that they’ll still be around for some time, lots of game developers are looking forward to next-generation home consoles, like the oft-rumored PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720.

Among these critics of the current extended gen is Ubisoft, as its CEO – Yves Guillemot – has once again pinned the lack of innovation and the slow sales experienced by games and by consoles on the long lifecycle.

“I think that what has happened is the transition has been very long,” he told Polygon.

“You know, in the industry, we were used to changing machines every five years. This time we are in the seventh year of the 360. We need new consoles and at the end of the cycle generally the market goes down because there are less new IPs, new properties, so that damaged the industry a little bit. I hope next time they will come more often.”

According to Guillemot, transitioning to a new console gives developers a change to reinvent themselves and take new risks, which is much harder when devices have already been around for some time.

“Transitions are the best times, are the best ways, to make all of our creators take more risks and do different things. When a console is out for a long time ... you don't take as much risks on totally new IPs because even if they are good, they don't sell as well.”

While right at the beginning of the console cycle games have to deal with not having enough potential customers, Guillemot highlights that early adopters are hardcore players who are eager to try out new types of games, not just old genres that were popular in the last generation.

“Everybody who is taking risks and innovating is welcome because there are lots of hardcore gamers and those guys want new things, where the mass market will be more interested in having the same experience and doesn't want to take as much risks because it's not aware as much of what is going to change its experience. So, the beginning of the machines is always a good time for innovation,” he added.

Do you agree with Guillemot or do you think the current generation of devices should stick around for a few more years?
Ubisoft wants new consoles
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