Do Long Console Cycles Stifle Innovation?

Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot, recently told Gamasutra that long console cycles are stifling innovation and the creation of new IPs (Intellectual Properties). Nearly 7 years into the current console cycle, is Guillemot dead-on with his claims or can current hardware satisfy consumers?

In an effort to sustain long-term profits, Microsoft and Sony opted to adopt a longer than usual console cycle.
First out the gate, Microsoft happily abandoned the money sinkhole that was the Xbox just 4 years into its life. The company successfully dug their heel into the industry and made “Xbox”

Microsoft couldn’t wait to start “next-gen”
into a recognizable brand. The Xbox 360′s launch proved Microsoft had changed.

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Xof2735d ago

I issue an emphatic "no."

As is usually the case with artistic constraints, it's the limitations imposed by the hardware as it "ages" that FORCE developers to innovate. Developers cannot simply make games look "better" with increasingly advanced physics engines, lighting, textures, etc. to compete. Instead, they're forced to create new, involving, and--yes--innovative forms of gameplay to compete.

It's no coincidence that the most innovative games a platform sees usually crop up near the end of its life cycle.

And, more importantly, it's no coincidence that the -better- games on a given platform tend to crop up near the end of a platform's life cycle.

Compare late-era PS2 games to early-era PS3 games. In every respect but fidelity, those late-era PS2 games are generally superior. FFXII to FFXIII, for example.

Long console cycles encourage innovation. Well, REAL innovation.

isntchrisl2735d ago

There's different forms of innovation. What you're talking about is mostly refinement. Innovation is trying something new. Final Fantasy XII might have done some things better than Final Fantasy X but it was also the 4th FF game Square released on the PS2.

Games do tend to get better later into a console's life but developers are likely to take different chances at the launch of new hardware.

Soldierone2735d ago

No it doesn't....My main example? cell phones....I've yet to see a phone fully utilized at all. Why? Because by the time anyone even realizes how powerful one can be, something new and "better" comes out. The only reason older phones get out dated, is because the developers won't utilize the technology correctly and openly move to new hardware all the time.

With consoles its different. The consoles were "maxed" out years ago, and yet here we are today with games looking ten times better and playing ten times better, yet nothing has changed. Except the developers utilizing resources better. If you give devs their way, we'd see new consoles more than cell phones.

rpd1232735d ago

My thoughts exactly. If you keep coming out with something new, then the developers don't get to truly explore the capabilities of a console.

WeskerChildReborned2735d ago

Well it's probably mainly about some developers being less creative than others but also they are limited to the hardware they work with so it could be a bit of both.

isntchrisl2735d ago

I don't think there's one answer to this question. Personally, this gen hasn't felt too long for me. HD resolutions probably played a part in that. On the other hand, I've been ready for a new Nintendo console for a while now.

Hardware limitations might not be the sole reasons developers take less chances, but they love to talk about it. I'd like to see more new IPs but most publishers are far too scared to release AAA caliber new IP late into a console cycle. In that sense, yes, long cycles are very limiting.

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