I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I don't know what gamers want any more. Oftentimes, the vocal, angry mob will say one thing and then do the exact opposite, almost always involving boycotts and supporting niche titles.
It sounds harsh, but it's part of the reason Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot believes new video game consoles are overdue. In an interview with gaming business site Gamasutra, Guillemot wants to see shorter console lifespans in the name of innovation:
"What we missed was a new console every five years. 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."
What he's basically saying is that newer franchises aren't picked up by fans late in a console's life cycle, and these new ideas have a better chance of taking root when you're playing new games with new characters on a shiny new console. It's somewhat true: current hit IPs like Halo, Assassin's Creed, Gears of War and Uncharted were all started early in their consoles' lifespans.
Innovation is really what Guillemot is after, though:
"If you can't take risks because people don't buy, you don't innovate. And if you don't innovate, customers get bored."
I actually disagree with that: customers go with what's safe and familiar in the console space, and early innovators are more often punished than rewarded. Really, why else would people want a Final Fantasy VII remake more than new titles?
Pictured: innovation in the most unlikely of places. AND OF COURSE NOBODY'S BUYING IT
Let's look at the current consoles: the 360 has been out since 2005, and the Wii and PS3 since 2006. Microsoft has already gone on record saying that as of 2010, the 360 was only halfway through its life cycle, so we can assume the same for the PS3's hardware. Nintendo's prepping the Wii U, but it uses what's basically current-gen hardware, just handling it in a different way.
I just don't like the idea that in order to get new and interesting experiences, we should plunk down $400 or more every five or six years. New IPs and great new ideas can be done late in a console's life cycle--both God of War and Shadow of the Colossus came out in 2005! I think there's still plenty of time left for the 360 and PS3 to give us unique and interesting gaming experiences--what about you?