Sucks to be you, Dishonored, Remember Me and Watch Dogs - you're strolling into the commercial equivalent of quicksand. Or at least, that's what EA's president of labels Frank Gibeau would have us believe. Speaking to GI, Gibeau has reiterated the popular view that it's unwise to launch new IPs late in a hardware generation, and advocated innovating within established franchises instead.
"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," Gibeau began. "Right now, we're working on three to five new IPs for the next gen, and in this cycle we've been directing our innovation into existing franchises.
"As much as there's a desire for new IP, the market doesn't reward new IP this late in the cycle," he added. "They end up doing okay, but not really breaking through."
Like all the big dogs, EA is frequently accused of knocking out incremental updates to established properties, but Gibeau feels forthcoming titles show the publisher at its most experimental. "If you look at what we're putting into Need For Speed: Most Wanted we're taking a lot of risks there, the same thing with Battlefield - you have to admit that, from Bad Company 2 to Battlefield 3, there's a huge amount of change there."
"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," he later elaborated. "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."
Do we really need to wait for next generation consoles to launch new IPs, readers? It's an argument I've given in the past, but I'd be delighted to be proven wrong.