"40% of the game industry" today compared with 80% in 2000. Tech 'bulge and harvest' ending?
Apple's iPad is the "fastest growing platform" since launch 18 months ago. Nintendo Wii U can't be 'late to the party' as the "point of reference is gone."
"I would argue that one of the least interesting things about the games industry was that every 5 years you’d see a new console or platform from everybody at about the same time with about the same or similar upgrades or services," said EA boss John Riccitiello.
"You’d sort of harvest it and then it’d cycle back. We got used to it. It’s what seemed normal. But it’s not a particularly smart way to run an industry... bulges in technology investment followed by harvest."
"And let’s be realistic. Consoles used to be 80% of the industry as recently as 2000. Consoles today are 40% of the game industry, so what do we really have?" he added.
"We have a new hardware platform and we’re putting out software every 90 days. Our fastest growing platform is the iPad right now and that didn’t exist 18 months ago." Riccitiello disagrees with views that Nintendo are 'late' with the Wii U - a next-gen console.
"Nintendo is off cycle with what? I mean, the point of reference is gone. And so Nintendo is bringing out a new platform that brings together some of what we’re learning from new media and new platforms like the iPad and then integrating that with a console."
"It’s the perfect time for that in the industry," he mused. The HD horizon while pretty isn't something that should lead the industry, argues Riccitiello. "Most people squint between 1080p and 720p, because what’s the difference, seriously?"
"I would argue that there’s more to be provided in terms of value for the consumer in micro-transactions and social experiences and driving those better in cross-platform gameplay between a console and a PC and a handheld device and a social network than there is supercharging graphics."
"So I think that the pattern against which Nintendo is no longer resonating is over anyway. The idea that we’re going to see the need for step function growth in graphic performance as the pace setting aspect of the sector is no longer the most important thing."
Stunning visuals remain an "important" factor. "You’ve seen the Battlefield demos. Look how much better they have to look. Look at Need for Speed. There was a point in time where we were talking about the uncanny valley - we’re on the other side of realism now."
"And after a certain point it’s like - I do not need to see my LA news announcer’s oversized pores when I‘m watching the news. There‘s a point where it just gets to be too much. I always liked the power, but I don’t know if it’s the story anymore," he continued.
Do you agree that the home consoles have shrunk that much in the games industry? Is Sony pushing 3D because they know 1080p has 'peaked' visuals? Do the large over-sized pores of your news readers have you pining for SD TV? Heavy stuff.