Everyone is hungry for new IP, but there isn’t enough supply to meet demand. It’s a common issue with videogames, but it’s not isolated to the medium. Not only do sequels dominate film, but even repeated reboots (The Hulk and Spiderman) are on their way to become a permanent fixture. Its safe and easy to stick with a formula that has proven to generate money and relies on an existant fanbase. Games are peculiar in that they have the ability to generate excitement for new titles around new hardware. Film saw a little of this with 3D (imagine Avatar without it), but that honeymoon has nearly ended. Jim Sterling discusses the potential for new titles in the next generation of consoles:
Ubisoft CEO Vyes Guillemot has supported claims made by Electronic Arts in the past, claiming it needs new consoles so it can start making new intellectual property.
Guillemot claimed that console launches make people more open to risk, while new ideas “don’t sell as well” on a system that’s been out for a while.
“Everybody who is taking risks and innovating is welcome because there are lots of hardcore gamers and those guys want new things, where the mass market will be more interested in having the same experience and doesn’t want to take as much risks because it’s not aware as much of what is going to change its experience.”
A new console launch may actually be capable of encouraging new, riskier ideas, but I don’t know if companies like EA or Ubisoft can let go of the abject fear they’ve entrenched themselves in over the past few years. Games are expensive as hell to make, shareholders are antsy, and big publishers live in a state of perpetual terror, worried about greenlighting a single commercial failure. They treat their customers like automatic thieves and their developers like cattle — something tells me a new Xbox won’t magically alter this behavior.
Newer consoles may be safer for new IP because players are excited and curious, not to mention they have few other options to choose from. Its been six years since the PS3 launched and seven since the Xbox 360. Hopefully publishers are not too stuck in their ways. If they are, we might miss the likes of Assasins Creed, Gears of War and Uncharted, which were the new IPs born out of the excitement of the next generation.