Ubisoft CEO Hopes Next Generation Will Be Shorter
Revealing the fact that he has access to a far larger reserve of disposable income than most people in this sh*tty economy, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has expressed his unhappiness with the long life of the current console generation.
“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.” He continued, saying in part that “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.”
What does he mean by ‘damaged the industry’ or ‘don’t sell as well’? Polygon doesn’t appear to have pressed him on that point, but this isn’t the first time Guillemot has hummed this tune. Last July, while talking to Gamasutra about the long length of this generation, he went into slightly more detail. “When we’re in the beginning of a new generation. Our customers are very open to new things. Our customers are reopening their minds — and they are really going after what’s best,” he said at the time. “At the end of a console generation, they want new stuff, but they don’t buy new stuff as much. They know their friends will play Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed so they go for that. So the end of a cycle is very difficult.”
Setting aside the semantic incoherence of that statement – not to mention the complete disregard for people who don’t play multiplayer as default – what he basically said is that the long life of the current console generation has made gamers stupid and closed-minded. In other words, it’s your fault, players, for the industry’s current woes, and not the fact that it is increasingly reliant on sequels and spinoffs, and barely invests in new IP. Shame on you. SHAME. Granted, this is at least a more realistic view of things than that expressed by the head of Eurocom. In the wake of that company’s spectacularly deep layoffs – 75% of the company was let go last week – he blamed Eurocom’s rapid decline on a “steep decline in demand for console games.” You know, instead of the fact that gamers aren’t interested in buying bad games.
Guillemot did make the excellent point that “transitions are the best times, are the best ways, to make all of our creators take more risks and do different things.” And we agree wholeheartedly. But that seems like the cart pulling the horse, argument-wise. Marketing is key to the success of a game, even a mediocre game, and the reluctance of publishers to promote new IP at this stage in the generation makes the contention that new IP won’t sell sound more like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What do you think, Game Front? Is the current generation’s long life the reason for the industry’s creative and financial woes? Sound off in comments.