EA certainly aren’t the first game publisher to mention that they’re working on games for the next generation of consoles, and can’t wait for them to get on the market. However, they’re certainly working on them in a very big way. Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau stated that the company is working on a large number of new IPs. Gibeau believes that new IPs are most likely to be successful at the very beginning of a generation, and went on to say:
The time to launch an IP is at the front-end of the hardware cycle, and if you look historically the majority of new IPs are introduced within the first 24 months of each cycle of hardware platforms. Right now, we’re working on 3 to 5 new IPs for the next gen, and in this cycle we’ve been directing our innovation into existing franchises.
If you look at the market dynamics, as much as there’s a desire for new IP, the market doesn’t reward new IP this late in the cycle; they end up doing okay, but not really breaking through. We have to shepherd the time that our developers spend, as well as the money that we spend on development in a positive way, so we’re focused on bringing out a bunch of new IPs around the next generation of hardware.
On top of this, it seems that Gibeau has had a bit of a sneak peek at what both Sony and Microsoft have in store for us. It’s clear that, like others, EA are getting frustrated by the drawn out nature of the current generation. The next-gen seems to hold a glimmer of hope, though:
When you launch a new IP it needs to do something really, really remarkable, and that’s easier to do when you have a new set of technology that gives you novel capabilities. This is the longest cycle that any of us have ever seen, and we’re at the point where a little bit of fatigue has set in, and people are wondering what they can possibly do next. I’ve seen the machines that we’re building games for, and they’re spectacular.
That said, Gibeau wants EA to be ready for anything. Whether the next-gen of consoles are a big success or not, all bases will be covered.
[Next-generation] hardware is a huge opportunity, and it’s going to lead to a huge growth spurt for the industry… The only thing that could really displace that is really high-end tablets and IPTV, and IPTV is further out than just a couple of years. I mean, the capabilities are there, but it’s going to be a really long time before it breaks through. But those are the only two places I see that kind of risk occurring, and the good news for EA is that we’re going to publish across all of them. We might ultimately find that to our advantage.