Microsoft and Sony’s hesitance to release next-gen consoles is “the biggest mistake they’ve ever made.”
While Nintendo’s Wii-U looms on the horizon, Microsoft and Sony seem intent on drawing out the current generation for as long as possible – a big mistake, according to Square-Enix’s Worldwide technology director, Julien Merceron.
“I would suggest that maybe we don’t want long generations,” he told Gamesindustry International “We have Sony and Microsoft talking about this generation lasting 7,8,9 or even 10 years and it’s the biggest mistake they’ve ever made.
Merceron argues that the the advent of online consoles, browser games and smartphones has radically changed the market. While in previous generations, it made a certain amount of sense to make console hardware complex and inaccessible so that developers could “unlock” performance over time, now frustrated developers will often opt to develop games for less challenging hardware.
“Now you don’t need to manage longevity by complexity of programming, because your longevity is ensured by your online model,” he continued.
“This generation has been way too long, and I say this because you have a lot of developers that work on a new platform, and perhaps will not succeed, so they will wait for the next generation, and will jump on that platform. You could not do that with this generation though. So these developers went elsewhere to see if the grass was greener. They found web browsers, they found iOS, they found other things and a lot of them won’t come back to the hardware platforms.”
While Square-Enix’s recently released Final Fantasy-themed tech demo, Agni’s Philosophy, shows how pretty next-gen titles could be, Merecon notes that it’s not just about graphics.
“Focusing on graphics only would be a huge mistake,” he said. “You start to have super great graphics, characters look really good and you end up in the uncanny valley, but you don’t have animation at the same quality level. Same thing with behavior and AI; it animates well and looks good, but it is making stupid decisions. It simply won’t be immersive.”
Source: Gamesindustry International