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|Subject: HOW DEVS ARE PREPARING FOR 'NEXT-GEN' FUTURE Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:22 pm|| |
Can I just say before I post news article when will people start saying Current-Gen, Xbox one and Playstation 4 are Current, Xbox360 Playstation 3 and even WiiU are LAST gen!! Anyway on with the article!
E3 2014: HOW UBISOFT, ACTIVISION, AND EA ARE PREPARING FOR A NEXT-GEN-ONLY FUTURE!!
More than two years after our first glimpse at the new generation of consoles, players are barely closer to experiencing anything that will define PlayStation 4 and Xbox One — and E3 2014 showed that we won’t before 2015.
We’ve seen great games on both Xbox One and PS4, but many developers still tethered to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are anchored by inferior hardware. Looking at 2014, impressive games such as Far Cry 4, Battlefield Hardline, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Destiny carry enormous promise, but will feel more or less like something we could have played on older machines — because we can.
This isn’t a problem, it’s the nature of the business. But it’s still disappointing.
First party publishers such as Microsoft and Sony are committing more readily to the new hardware, of course, because they must. Sunset Overdrive and Driveclub are meant to drive machine sales this year. Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse, Killzone Shadow Fall, and other launch titles served the same purpose.
Consoles need large audiences to attract publishers, publishers need to make money to fund games, and games that reach the widest audience are likely to sell the most copies. It’s something everyone in the industry is struggling with. If Activision can sell more games, there’s little business reason for it to sacrifice money for creativity.
That said, leaving the last generation behind is something many publishers are interested in.
“I would love that, it would make development a lot simpler and it would mean that more people have signed up for next-gen, which I believe has great implications for the future,” Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg told IGN. Hirshberg noted that the new consoles are selling at a more rapid rate than they did at the beginning of the last generation, “but, there’s still too big of an audience who are still playing their games on an Xbox 360 or a PS3, and we want to make a great experience for them, too.”
Now, Hirshberg said, “I think you’ll see what the next-gen games look and feel like start to pull away from what the last-gen was capable of,” because the hardware has existed for the duration of the development cycle.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot shares Hirshberg’s thoughts. “The transition this time is much faster that last time, it’s happening very fast,” he told IGN. “We have 10 million machines sold in the first four months. Last time, it was five, or four-and-a-half, or something like that. Quickly, we’re moving to next-gen.”
Until there are enough consoles in enough living rooms, though, Ubisoft will primarily focus on cross-generation software. Assassin’s Creed Unity and The Crew are the publisher’s first and only new-gen-only efforts this year. “We don’t have much for next-gen” in 2014,” Guillemot said. But it's a start, and it's going somewhere. “Most of the games we create for next year will not have current-gen versions.”
Ubisoft even has a Wii U game ready to go, but won’t publish it until Nintendo can sell more machines.
In 2006, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Gears of War showed us things we’d never seen or thought possible. Their ambition, scale, visuals, and systemic complexity gave players experiences they couldn’t have had prior to the new generation of consoles.
At EA, leaving last-gen machines behind will be done “on a franchise-by-franchise basis,” Patrick Söderlund said. “It’s going to be driven by what the consumers tell us that they want in what regions they are.”
In 2013, Söderlund explained, EA published FIFA 14 on PlayStation 2, because there are enough Brazilian players that it’s worth it. Atlus is currently preparing Persona 5 for PlayStation 3 in Japan next year, presumably for the same reason — the people are there.
We don’t even know yet when the time is right to stop making current-gen games.
Publishers around the world have to play this one by ear. “Because we’ve been caught by surprise by the rate of adaption,” Ubisoft’s Tony Key told IGN, “we don’t even know yet when the time is right to stop making current-gen games.”
Ubisoft’s next-gen-only lineup includes Rainbow Six Siege and The Division, but Key explained, “that doesn’t mean that we can’t have some shape or form of a current-gen game underneath those brands.”
Even now, Ubisoft is preparing to abandon Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, at least in terms of the games it’s currently making. Separate products may make their way to older machines, “but could we afford to do that?” Key said. “Can we afford to make two different experiences, two different games? The one thing we probably won’t do is make current-gen versions of what those are.”
As long as players are purchasing Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Ubisoft’s games, it will continue to support them.
On the Nintendo side of things, Key said “ it’s very unusual for a third party to create the market for a hardware platform.” Ubisoft supported Wii U at launch with Rabbids, Assassin’s Creed III, and ZombiU, but as time went on and the hardware failed to sell sufficiently, Ubisoft’s support has waned. Just Dance 2015 and Watch Dogs are still scheduled for 2014, but looking forward, the future of Wii U and Ubisoft is bleak. “We just can’t afford that. It’s not really our job. Our job is to support the platforms. And as far as third party publishers go, I think we do that more than most for Nintendo.”
EA’s Soderlund agreed. “I love what they’ve done, I love the products they make,” he said of Nintendo. “But you have to look on our perspective. We have the benefit of being a platform-agnostic company. And we’ll be in the businesses that make sense for us. We’ll be where are players are. And right now, it’s just as simple as there’s not enough of our players on [Wii U and 3DS].”
Increasingly, 2015 is looking more and more like the year Xbox One and PlayStation 4 start showing what the next generation is all about. Whether Ubisoft, Activision, and Electronic Arts involve Nintendo remains to be seen, but by and large the games that defined E3 2014 spotlight a bright future for next-gen only games.
Comparing this generation’s lifespan to the previous one, Xbox One and PlayStation’s 2015 lines up with Xbox 360 and PS3’s 2007 — the year of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, Super Mario Galaxy, Halo 3, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and more.
2015 includes new-gen-only games such as Bloodborne, The Order: 1886, The Witcher 3, Batman: Arkham Knight, Quantum Break, Halo 5 Guardians, Mad Max, and more games that leave behind the previous generation. This is in addition to the previously mentioned Rainbow Six Siege and The Division.
2014 will see numerous fantastic games on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but next year is when we’re most likely to see publishers drop Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 — hardware that, come next fall, will be a decade old.
Only when developers are willing and able to abandon the shackles of the last 10 years will players really start benefiting from their new machines. That starts this fall -- and it's only going to get better for everyone from there.
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