FORMER Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello has proffered his views on the games market for the first time since parting company with the publisher this time last year - and has delivered a rampantly positive prognosis.
Talking exclusively to MCV, Riccitiello (pictured) predicted that next-gen hardware will be the catalyst for industry growth of well over 50 per cent through the cycle - and that the increase in cultural impact will be even more significant.
Now heading up private equity firm Elevation Partners (which recently failed in a bid to acquire Eidos), he commented: "What's coming next is, frankly, a staggering step up. I said a couple of years ago that I didn't think million-sellers were interesting, that five million was the new definition of success.
"This time around, forget five million, the biggest games will sell 25 million. And there'll be at least a dozen. The PS2 generation was a warning shot. We only really take the field in this gen.
"Publishers will be looking for $1 billion IPs. There will be plenty of franchises that start from scratch and reach that figure. How many other franchises in any branch of entertainment reach those levels? Very, very few.
"That's a big difference, that's massive cultural impact and that's tremendous respect for the people that create this stuff.
"In the short term, maybe publishers which are focused predominantly on Europe and the US might struggle through the transition - whilst those with exposure to China and to handheld will find life easier.
"But when we come out of that, this business is gonna pop and we're in for growth of at least 50 per cent from peak to peak."