The beloved Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii have now been available for over 5 years, and while they’ve still got plenty life and power in them, Ubisoft feels that consumers are ready for the next step.
“What we missed was a new console every five years,” said Yves Guillemot, CEO and co-founder of Ubisoft. “We have been penalized by the lack of new consoles on the market. 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.”
Ubisoft are known to be one of the third party publishers that backs new consoles with launch titles and new IPs, which while risky, can result in some new franchises for the generation.
“It’s a lot less risky for us to create new IPs and new products when we’re in the beginning of a new generation,” Guillemot says. “Our customers are very open to new things. Our customers are reopening their minds – and they are really going after what’s best. At the end of a console generation, they want new stuff, but they don’t buy new stuff as much. They know their friends will play Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed so they go for that. So the end of a cycle is very difficult.”
One of those risky examples which payed off was that of Rayman: Raving Rabbids. Without Raving Rabbids, the Just Dance series would’ve never have existed, as it emerged from a dancing mini-game on Raving Rabbids. Just Dance has gone on to be one of the most lucrative franchises for Ubisoft.
“If you can’t take risks because people don’t buy, you don’t innovate,” he said. “And if you don’t innovate, customers get bored.”
Despite Sony and Microsoft throwing the odd jab at the Wii U, Guillemot fully backs Nintendo’s new console, as seen with the publisher’s support of ZombiU as a launch title.
“I think Nintendo has very often surprised us, so you never know,” he says. “I think they’ve created something good, if the customer uses everything they have created, I think we can see a good success with that machine. That type of collaboration can be fun and also challenging at the same time. It’s something has never been done before. Those guys are taking lots of risks with the games they create — and they’re extremely successful.”