Many of us would consider a long console lifespan to be a good thing, but Yves Guillemot, the CEO at Ubisoft, says it’s bad for the industry.
Bemoaning a “very long” transition to new hardware, Guillemot told Polygon that “we are used to changing machines every five years.” At the end of a hardware cycle, the market dips because publishers are unwilling to invest in new properties if new machines are on the way.
Guillemot added that the transition to new hardware is typically when studios and publishers try to make a fresh start of 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 I’m not keen on buying a new console every three or four years, what he’s saying does have some merit, particularly from where I observe things in sports. Annual sports titles are a great example of a product whose owners won’t take risks with at the end of a console cycle — NCAA Football 13, criticised as a bland follow-up to 12, is a prime example. Scuttlebutt holds that developers aren’t inclined to push through new concepts because they’d either have to re-engineer them on new hardware.