The next console generation is technically getting underway with this year's release of the Wii U, but to many gamers, the next generation won't truly arrive until the next Xbox and PlayStation are introduced as well. When that will happen is really anyone's guess - we've heard plenty of rumors, but Microsoft and Sony are both remaining tight-lipped on their plans for new consoles. Today, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Gamasutra that his company is ready for the next generation to kick off, saying that a new lineup of consoles would do a lot to spark innovation within the industry.
"We have been penalized by the lack of new consoles on the market," Guillemot said. "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."
Guillemot said that when new consoles arrive on the scene, developers and publishers are more willing to take risks and experiment with new franchises. These days, however, companies are less willing to introduce new IPs and instead stick with franchises that are proven money makers, like Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty.
Likewise, Guillemot points out that gamers are sticking to what they know too, buying the newest titles in those popular franchises because they know those are the games all of their friends will be buying. What results is a circle where neither consumers nor developers are willing to take any risks, and that's a problem which could potentially be solved by introducing new consoles and getting consumers excited about spending money on what's new rather than what's popular.
The Ubisoft executive brings up a pretty good point. One only needs to look at the releases for the latter half of 2011 to see that developers and publishers are clinging to tried-and-true franchises and aren't letting go: Battlefield 3, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Saints Row: The Third, and Modern Warfare 3 (to name a few) were all released within months of each other as 2011 was winding down. Looking at it that way, a new console generation might just be what the doctor ordered after all.