In a recent interview with Gamasutra.com, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot opined that the lengthy console cycle for this generation has stunted creativity and led to companies simply resorting to rehashes and sequels.
“What we missed was a new console every five years,” he said. “We have been penalized by the lack of new consoles on the market. I understand the manufacturers don’t want them too often because it’s expensive, but it’s important for the entire industry to have new consoles because it helps creativity.
“It’s a lot less risky for us to create new IPs and new products 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.
“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.”
I’m not an industry expert or anything, but I think the lack of creativity inherent in a lot of AAA titles recently has very little to do with a lengthy console cycle, but more from lazy and risk averse developers who believe that it’s better to cash in on an proven franchise than to explore bold new territories.
Additionally, every single generation of consoles has seen the release of innovative titles during a consoles’ last legs, like God of War on the PS2, Vagrant Story on the PS1, and Chrono Trigger and Super Mario RPG on the SNES. Besides, with the economy these days and the steep price of consoles, short console cycles will hurt the manufacturers.