Ubisoft: New Consoles Coming 2011, 2012

Consoles, being the closed and fixed platforms they are, have a finite life. Every five years or so, all competitors drop the existing platforms and introduce a new one, thus resetting the console life cycle.

The Xbox 360 was released in late 2005, with the Wii and PlayStation 3 coming out a year later. Microsoft made it a point to be out the gate first, but the Xbox 360 signaled the (somewhat early) start of a new generation.

2010, being the usual five years after the start of the generation, feels too soon to start all over again. Video game sales are still on the rise, and the current consoles’ prices either haven’t dropped at all (Wii) or are still considered too expensive for the masses (PS3).

All signs are pointing to this current console generation being one with a longer life bar.  In fact, Ubisoft is anticipating the next generation machines sometime in 2011 or 2012.

The fact that developers are still extracting more power out of the current platform shows that there isn’t yet a demand for more headroom. Furthermore, the rising costs of producing engines and assets for a modern game would only be made even more severe on a completely new platform.

Ubisoft knows that the next generation will require even more manpower, and is already looking at possible mergers for when the time comes.

"We want to take advantage of a company that could bring more technology to us, or new brands," said CEO Yves Guillemot to GamesIndustry. "So we have now enough to help us to grow the company for not only next year but to get ready for the coming of the next generation consoles that are probably going to happen 2011, 2012.”

So between now and 2012, Microsoft will hopefully have fixed all reliability problems; Sony will have dropped the PS3 price to Xbox 360 levels; and Nintendo will have sold at least one Wii to everyone on the planet.

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  • I don't think Nintendo will wait as long as the others. The Wii does lack in hardware compared to the other two consoles and if Nintendo can market it correctly and offering great new features then Nintendo will remain king for now. Even more so if they make the console able to play Wii games as well.
  • There is little purpose to make another console. The Wii is still selling like hotcakes, and most of the people buying it don't care about game depth, complex AI or physics, beautiful presentation, or intricate story. It's not a game console, it's a novelty item.

    When Wii sales slow down, then they should release another console. They could even do what they did with the Wii, and just reproduce the same hardware with a higher clock speed to keep perfect Backwards Compatibility.
  • I think that Microsoft is going to move even closer to a normal PC architecture with their next system. There are 2 major reasons why they should do this: 1) The cost of the hardware development / general hardware prices will be greatly reduced by sticking to close to normal PC components and 2) Even more important is that development would become even easier and companies would be able to develop a game that will also run, with minor modification, on a PC. This makes sense for M$ because if the game isn't sold for xbox, at least it will be sold to a Windows machine, which they also get money from (for the OS). So cheaper hardware and making game development even cheaper should keep costs down and quality/quantity of games up.

    With Nintendo, I'm still convinced that their just selling a gimmick. The games aren't really that fun after the first couple of hours and the graphics are terrible. Don't get me wrong, there is enormous potential in casual gaming. But I don't think that the Wii is the answer. I'm betting that the Wii could be considered an entry level console to get new gamers into the market and once those newbies become real gamers they'll upgrade to a real console in the next generation.

    As for Sony, the only reason that Sony has ever been a contender in the console war was because they always had the best games. Now they come out saying that they intentionally made the PS3 hard to develop games for. Without good games, Sony doesn't really have a chance. The only options I can see with them is to 1) try to copy M$ maybe with slightly better hardware and make sure to get game studios on board or 2) stick with high end home theater hardware and market the system as a HTPC that can also play games.

    So in the next gen I could see us with a casual system, a real console, and a HTPC. So the market becomes more segmented and hopefully grows overall with the introductions of new gamers via the casual / home theater markets while the middle ground of real gamers continues to grow as the new users become gamers. This really could be a win-win-win if each company can differentiate itself enough.