EA: 4-5 year game console cycle "gone forever"

By on July 28, 2011, 1:17 PM

Electronic Arts conducted their Q1 2012 earnings call yesterday, although it wasn’t the financial figures that garnered the most attention during the briefing. EA CEO John Riccitiello gave a brief overview of the industry as a whole and proclaimed that the gaming and console marketplaces have been changed forever.

Riccitiello pointed out that digital content has revolutionized the gaming industry. The top paid applications in the Andorid Marketplace and Apple’s App Store are all games. The fastest-growing revenue streams aren’t just the games themselves anymore but the digital content associated with them.

These are all statements that we would agree with, but it's his comments about console gaming and emerging markets that is a bit puzzling.

"Gone forever is the 4- to 5-year console cadence that gave developers ample time to invest and retool for the next big wave," Riccitiello said. "Consider that just 18 months ago, there was no iPad, Google was just experimenting with Android and most big games were limited to a single revenue opportunity at launch. Consider that each of the major consoles now has a controller that encourages users to get off the couch and get into the action."

Depending upon your interpretation, some would argue that Riccitiello might have missed the mark with the above statement. Devices like smartphones and the iPad are creating new markets, not replacing existing consoles.

And if anything, it would seem that digital content would extend the life of a console and help titles hold their relevance longer. A good example of this is the Call of Duty series which releases a multiplayer map pack every few months at roughly $15 a pop. The same can be said for motion devices like the Xbox Kinect, an add-on to the 360 which will extend the life of the console, not shorten it. Without new digital content or innovative accessories, gamers might have demanded something new long ago.




User Comments: 20

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Guest said:

"Gone forever is the 4- to 5-year console cadence that gave developers ample time to invest and retool for the next big wave,"

So what is he saying exactly? That consoles will need to be updated more often due to increased competition? Or that consoles will have a much longer lifespan due to additional digital content available to them? There is no way consoles will have a shorter timespan than 4-5 years since the development costs for them are just too expensive.

ramonsterns said:

"We got lazy, here's some badly put together DLC instead!"

And they wonder why pirate rates are high.

Guest said:

^^ true, but good DLC is more than welcome.

Guest said:

EA has been around along time, at least since the Commodore 64 days and I've never been crazy about anything they have done. They keep purchasing successful games from companies that have been inovators and reduce the enjoyment of them while adding DRM or other junk.

pcnthuziast said:

EA is masterful at 3 things...

1) Making money

2) Brainwashing consumers to expect/be satisfied with less

3) Brainwashing consumers to be willing to pay more for less

Guest said:

I think he's just saying that console developers have to start acting faster to take advantage of the many new trends.

(And presumably, he meant that EA is doing that, and you should buy their stock!)

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

pcnthuziast said:

EA is masterful at 3 things...

1) Making money

2) Brainwashing consumers to expect/be satisfied with less

3) Brainwashing consumers to be willing to pay more for less

Actually activision is better at that. EA is at least striving for quality despite some of their business practices.

Guest said:

IF it means getting a console that has upgrade ability like a PC, to keep the console relevant, then I'm all for it. right now, the 360 is using almost decade old API's and hardware.. that's useful.. not.

pcnthuziast said:

Sarcasm said:

Actually activision is better at that. EA is at least striving for quality despite some of their business practices.

Yeah... you got me there. lol

Emin3nce said:

Yay, another way for Console companies to jack you for your money. This is why I have a PC, and why consoles ARE GAY - you jelly?

pcnthuziast said:

I'm a PC gamer, but also buy certain console games like Uncharted. Calling things gay... is gay btw. smh lol

ramonsterns said:

Sarcasm said:

pcnthuziast said:

EA is masterful at 3 things...

1) Making money

2) Brainwashing consumers to expect/be satisfied with less

3) Brainwashing consumers to be willing to pay more for less

Actually activision is better at that. EA is at least striving for quality despite some of their business practices.

Lost me at quality, bro.

Best I can do is 3/10

Guest said:

@ramonsterns

Lost at quality, 3/10 huh? I guess your not looking forward to BF3 DICE has has been working hard to come out with then.

treetops treetops said:

I won't be buying a console anytime soon, map editor > paid for dlc. If the economy was better they would have released a new generation of consoles last year. Pc games could take over the market if they did not make so many console ports. If they flexed what pc's can do console gamers would see how far behind there systems are and switch. If a console gamer saw what a game like metro 33 looks like on a decent rig they would crap themselves then throw there console in the trash.

Guest said:

Yep the dumbing down of gaming has begun. Lets release new "innovative accessories" to give gamers a new way to play the same old thing. Lets not give praise for "digital content" the best way to milk money out of gamers by purposefully holding content and releasing it in a timely matter at a price and acting as if they care. Yeah I can sea this as part of the reason for a prolonged console cycle. But at a cost of low innovation and low risk. I swear i have to play indie titles to get that oh cool something new feeling. Im tired of the same old sheot different year the big shots push out over and over.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Oh boy.

In a contest between Sony and EA as to who is the larger container of water and vinegar, I'm not sure who would win. Probably a tie.

Guest said:

I just can't wrap my head around the fact that we're calling console-tweedling toddlers "gamers" now. You don't get to call yourself a gamer in this day and age unless you have an awesome PC built for that very purpose. "Gamer" is an enthusiast term, and we enthusiasts don't fart about with consoles, smartphones, iPads and other similarly nerfed child-pacifiers! If your passion for gaming doesn't even take you past a console, then you haven't earned the right to call yourself a gamer!

-IRGamer ;)

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

@ramonsterns

Lost at quality, 3/10 huh? I guess your not looking forward to BF3 DICE has has been working hard to come out with then.

Pretty sure you mean, BF: Bad Company 2.5 w/ Jets.

CryVer CryVer said:

Guessing you have not tried the Alpha? I can tell you it does not feel like BC2 and the game play does not feel like a console port.

ramonsterns said:

cryver said:

Guessing you have not tried the Alpha? I can tell you it does not feel like BC2 and the game play does not feel like a console port.

I did. It feels just like Bad Company, half the buildings can't be destroyed completely, a quarter can't be damaged. Not just that, destruction isn't physics based, it's the same pre-rendered explosions and debris falls in the same place every time, regardless of what it is destroyed with.

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