EA president Frank Gibeau has spoken about the relationship between the market and the console cycle, revealing that his company has 4-5 new IPs in the works for next generation consoles.
The lack of new IP has appalled many in the industry, who say sequelitis is the sickness unto death in a creative medium.
Gibeau, however, feels this is a natural pattern resulting from greater expectations on new IPs to bring something fresh and exciting to games.
"The time to launch an IP is at the front-end of the hardware cycle, and if you look historically the majority of new IPS are introduced within the first 24 months of each cycle of hardware platforms," Gibeau told Games Industry International.
"Right now, we’re working on 3 to 5 new IPs for the next gen, and in this cycle we’ve been directing our innovation into existing franchises."
To the president of one of the biggest publishers in gaming, the decision to hold new IP back is a simple recognition of fact.
"If you look at the market dynamics, as much as there’s a desire for new IP, the market doesn’t reward new IP this late in the cycle," said Gibeau.
"They end up doing okay, but not really breaking through. We have to shepherd the time that our developers spend, as well as the money that we spend on development in a positive way, so we’re focused on bringing out a bunch of new IPs around the next generation of hardware."
This generation has broken a pattern in the industry, targeting what appears to be a ten year lifecycle instead of five.
To Gibeau, this is worth the wait, as it gives fresh ideas even greater importance.
"When you launch a new IP it needs to do something really, really remarkable, and that’s easier to do when you have a new set of technology that gives you novel capabilities," Gibeau says.
"This is the longest cycle that any of us have ever seen, and we’re at the point where a little bit of fatigue has set in, and people are wondering what they can possibly do next. I’ve seen the machines that we’re building games for, and they’re spectacular."
The fact he is willing to confirm he’s seen the machines is itself remarkable.
The next generation of consoles is about as secret as the moon landings, but Microsoft still insists they have no official plans for a new console.
Though impressed with the coming consoles, Gibeau does think there could be increased competition on their advent.
"Gen 4 hardware is a huge opportunity, and it’s going to lead to a huge growth spurt for the industry… The only thing that could really displace that is really high-end tablets and IPTV, and IPTV is further out than just a couple of years."
"I mean, the capabilities are there, but it’s going to be a really long time before it breaks through. But those are the only two places I see that kind of risk occurring, and the good news for EA is that we’re going to publish across all of them. We might ultimately find that to our advantage."