Look, I’ve always maintained that the PS4 Neo and the Xbox One Scorpio (and the concept of iterative consoles in general) are important steps forward for the gaming industry– and this is a stance that I have stuck to even as multiple developers have come forward, expressing admittedly reasonable and well founded apprehension of the idea.
However, it seems like the biggest players in the industry all agree with me. GamesIndustry.biz contacted executives from EA, Ubisoft, and Take-Two, to ask them to sound off on the Xbox One Scorpio, PS4 Neo, and the idea of iterative consoles at large- and it appears that they are all sold on the idea.
“I perceive it as upgrades to the hardware that will actually extend the cycle,” Laura Miele, Global Publishing Chief for EA, said. “I actually see it more as an incredibly positive evolution of the business strategy for players and for our industry and definitely for EA. The idea that we would potentially not have an end of cycle and a beginning of cycle I think is a positive place for our industry to be and for all of the commercial partners as well as players.
“So it’s not my perception that the hardware manufacturers are going to be forcing upgrades. I really see that they’re trying to hold on and bring players along. If players want to upgrade, they can. There will be benefit to that. But it’s not going to be punitive if they hold on to the older hardware… So we’re thrilled with these announcements. We’re thrilled with the evolution. We’re thrilled with what Sony’s doing, what Microsoft’s doing and we think it’s phenomenal. I think that is good for players. It’ll be great for us as a publisher about how they’re treating it.”
Ubisoft’s head of EMEA Alain Corre seems to think that this new approach is better too, especially since it is far more in line with how the rest of the technology industry works and evolves.
“I think with the evolution of technology it’s better than what we had to do before, doing a game for next-gen and a different game from scratch for the former hardware,” Corre said. “Now we can take the best of the next console but still have super good quality for the current console, without breaking the community up. We are quite big fans of this approach,” he said.
“Each time there’s a new machine with more memory then our creators are able to bring something new and fresh and innovate, and that’s exciting for our fans who always want to be surprised. So the fact that Microsoft announced that they want to move forward to push the boundaries of technology again is fantastic news. Our creators want to go to the limit of technology to make the best games they can… so the games will be better in the years to come which is fantastic for this industry. And at Ubisoft, it’s also in our DNA to be [supportive] early on with new technology. We like taking some risks in that respect… We believe in new technology and breaking the frontiers and potentially attracting new fans and gamers into our ecosystem and into our brands.”
Continuity seems to e a big thing in the appeal of these new machines, it seems- Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick also pointed to it as a big appeal and advantage to this new approach.
“The ecosystems aren’t shifting as much. We essentially have a common development architecture now that’s essentially a PC architecture,” he said. And if the console market truly is entering an almost smartphone like upgrade curve, “It would be very good for us obviously. To have a landscape…where you put a game out and you don’t worry about it,” he commented, “the same way that when you make a television show you don’t ask yourself ‘what monitor is this going to play on?’ It could play on a 1964 color television or it could play on a brand-new 4K television, but you’re still going to make a good television show.
“So we will for sure get there as an industry. We will get to the point where the hardware becomes a backdrop. And sure, constantly more powerful hardware gives us an opportunity but it would be great to get to a place where we don’t have a sine curve anymore, and I do see the sine curve flattening but I’m not sure I agree it’s going away yet… That doesn’t change any of our activities; we still have to make the very best products in the market and we have to push technology to its absolute limit to do so.”
So, it does sound like the top players are all on board with the idea, and they are excited for what it could indicate for the future of the industry. And why would they not be? Iterative consoles will forever eliminate the pain of console generational transitions, which can only be good for the development pipeline.
The PS4 Neo and the Xbox One Scorpio are both ue to release by Holiday 2017.
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