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Peter Molyneux blames reliance on console cycle for lack of new IPs in the market

By: Jason McCarthy

  |   September 26th, 2012   |  
Xbox 360 Media Briefing - Los Angeles

The extended life cycle of consoles is attracting a lot of criticism from industry analysts, who are of the opinion that it is a huge strategic mistake to delay the next-generation hardware.

With the new consoles getting delayed and the current-generation hardware lingering in what is arguably the tail-end of its life, the publishers are reluctant to establish new intellectual properties (IPs).

This cautious attitude of publishers seems to have angered a number of analysts, who fear that the lack of creative content in the market could possibly lead to the downfall of gaming industry.

Peter Molyneux, the British games design legend and co-founder of 22 Cans, is one of the many critics of the publishers, calling them “lazy” and their reliance on console cycle “ridiculous” during an interview with Games Industry International.

He contended that depending heavily on the life cycle of consoles resulted in the market becoming short of fresh and exciting experience on offer in the market once the hardware entered its final years.

The exact end of a console cycle is something that is not easy to determine, thus causing the publishers to move away from the idea of establishing new IPs well before the console actually faded away.

“Two years ago, developers were going to publishers and saying we’d like to do this [new IP], and the publishers were saying, ‘It’s too late in the generation now.’ The first time I heard that was about four years ago – it’s ridiculous,” stated the 22-Cans co-founder.

Molyneux went on to point out that the reliance of gaming industry on console cycle is not only putting the future of industry at risk, but is also giving alternative platforms such as smartphones and tablets a golden opportunity to capitalise on the situation.

He said that the small hardware iteration of alternative gaming platforms such as iPad is giving it a huge advantage over consoles.

With the technology advancement in smartphones and tablets taking place at a much faster rate than consoles, Molyneux believes that there is a strong possibility that the likes if iPad would end up becoming even more powerful than the next-generation consoles and instead of sitting at that point for many years, it will continue to become even more powerful every six months.

“If we’re not careful – and in fact this is highly probable – by the time that this generation finally comes out, which will probably be in about 14 months time, this little puppy might well be more powerful than the new consoles,” said Molyneux.

Nintendo is all set to step into the next-generation space with its Wii U console. Sony and Microsoft, however, appeared unconcerned about the disturbing predictions by the analysts and remain focused on their current-generation consoles.