Posted By Robert G. about 10 months, 3 weeks ago
About a week ago I penned an editorial regarding the current trends of video game sequels, and why they tend to get a bad reputation. But one aspect that was not discussed in the said editorial is the idea of a longer console shelf-life. It is no secret that the current console generation is already about two years longer than the average of five years, but this revelation seems to be taking publishers by surprise in some respects.
One example would be Ubisoft’s CEO Yves Guillemont. Guillemont, in an exclusive interview with Gamasutra, discussed this very problem, once again echoing the sentiments of the likes of Square Enix and Electronic Arts.
Of course, it should be noted that there is no concrete evidence for or against the idea that a console life cycle is to blame for an IP drought. The only real trend that points to this is the fact that several publishers are now on the same page regarding new IPs. But even then it would be unfair to say that no new IPs are being made. Not including the Wii U, there is at least a dozen new IPs that are still to be released in by December, including Dishonored, The Last Story, and Sleeping Dogs.
To be fair to Guillemont, he is quick to point out how important new IP is in the gaming market. “If you can’t take risks because people don’t buy, you don’t innovate, and if you don’t innovate, customers get bored.” This may be the guiding philosophy that Ubisoft tries to incorporate. Watch Dogs can serve as the poster boy at the moment for innovation by the company, while their current Wii U repertoire, from the zombie-centric Zombi U to the more casual-styled Your Shape serve as new IPs intermixed with established franchises, from Ghost Recon to Rayman.
It may just be an issue of adjustment on the publishers part then, as their expectations for a console shelf life have changed in the past ten years. Mobile gaming has become more prevalent, multiplayer and co-op games have also become a huge selling point for many consumers.So perhaps publishers should begin to look into long-term solutions regarding long console cycles, because it is likely that such a practice will not go away any time soon.