Ubisoft hopes for shorter console cycles

Publisher's CEO says seven-year cycle hurt the industry, stifled creative risks

The gaming industry went seven years from the launch of the Xbox 360 to the debut of the Wii U. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot doesn't want to wait another seven years for the next generation of hardware.

Speaking with Polygon about future console cycles, Guillemot said, "I hope next time they will come more often." The executive was following up on comments he made suggesting that the console cycle that began in 2005 with the Xbox 360 lasted too long.

"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," Guillemot said.

Early on in a console's life cycle is the ideal time for companies to "reinvent" themselves with riskier and more innovative titles, according to Guillemot. On the other hand, he said publishers get more conservative with things like new intellectual properties later in console life cycles because "even if they are good, they don't sell as well."

Ubisoft committed six games to the launch of the Wii U, including Assassin's Creed III, Rabbids Land, and the original property ZombiU. It has two more scheduled for the system's "launch window" (through March 2013): Rayman Legends and Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth.

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Latest comments (8)

Marco Ferrada Studying Analista Programador, Inacap5 years ago
I have to disagree, advanced hardware is not a synonym of creativity and good gameplay. Imagination and talent walk hand in hand. A talented and very well skilled team do the magic.
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If this is what it takes to appease European investors in supporting Ubisoft - selling this story to to the games media - then so be it. But none of use are buying it... the same way that we wait to see what those hyped new games at E3 really come out like?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 26th November 2012 11:27pm

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Paul Jace Merchandiser 5 years ago
I agree with Marco. Using new hardware as an excuse to make new IP and take more risk(because apparently those things aren't possible on hardware thats been around 5-7 years) is a worn out crutch that holds no weight at all.
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Show all comments (8)
Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange5 years ago
The reasoning here is that new ip is often overshadowed by established franchises. It takes a lot more marketing effort to get your game noticed in a saturated environment.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
Again it's how you use your tools, not what tools you're given.
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, Azoomee5 years ago
If we can't have consoles that support a considerably long hardware cycle, then we'd be better of not having consoles at all and move towards PCs.

I don't see how pushing for the throwaway type of consumerism and manufacturing is of any benefit to us on the whole. Its more expense to customers and corporations and will boost environmental waste.

I'm also worried that the CEO of a company like Ubisoft, that is actually quite innovative and willing to take a risk with their games feels that hardware if the factor holding innovation back. When the next "Far Cry 2" or "Assassin's Creed" come along, will we have to switch to a new generation just to see the "Far Cry 3" and "AC2" evolve and innovate on a set of great initial game play ideas? (that didn't quite work in the first outing)

As for innovation in new software generally, I'm seeing a lot more innovation on weak mobile platforms than I am on much more powerful machines right now...

The Tec Guy ~AC

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 27th November 2012 12:08pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
He is correct to a degree. An overwhelming majority of new IP's that go on to become established franchises have their origins at the beginning of a console cycle. The rest of the cycle if often uses to maintain that new IP. It becomes riskier to attempt a new major IP in the middle or end of a console cycle. But that doesn't mean you can't either.

This cycle ran so long for several reasons:
1 Developers/publishers needed time to recoup investments. The cost spike this gen necessitated the length.
2. Consumer demand. Demand kept prices up (as did the platform holders desire to reduce losses) which delays the need for a new platform from a platform holder's perspective.
3. Success. We didn't have a single platform loser this generation. Success on all fronts delayed the need for a new platform.
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Elphège Kolingba Marketing Manager 5 years ago
Marvel Avegers is going to be huge. However, isn't a bit late to release the game regarding the first movie's release date ?
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