Yves Guillemot says that the videogame industry was comfortable with the old console cycle of five years.
Ubisoft's CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot thinks that the long life of the current console generation is stifling creativity. "Transitions are the best times, are the best ways, to make all of our creators take more risks and do different things," Guillemot said. Because the cycle of new consoles has lengthened from five years to seven, Guillemot claims, less developers are willing to take risks when they can move forward with a tried-and-tested format of sequels. He says that even if new IPs are good, "they don't sell as well" late in a console generation. His principal piece of evidence is that the industry was set up for the old console cycle, and so the new, longer cycle has been disruptive.
Gamers are more willing to buy new ideas at the beginning of the cycle, says Guillemot, "because there are lots of hardcore gamers and those guys want new things." Conversely, the mass market has entered into the console by the end of the generation, and "the mass market will be more interested in having the same experience and doesn't want to take as much risks [sic] because it's not aware as much of what is going to change its experience."
It's easy to say that Guillemot might be wrong, given the success this year of new IPs like Sleeping Dogs and Dishonored. There's certainly a degree of separation between those success stories and Ubisoft's sequel-studded catalog. Guillemot's argument is interesting given the release of the Wii U, the vanguard of the next generation, where Ubisoft's offering is ZombiU - a new IP with interesting gameplay. Even if there's no evidence to back up Guillemot's claims, with ZombiU as a model Ubisoft is leading by example in showing that the beginning of a generation is the time to innovate, and doing so with gusto.