Square Enix exec says long console life spans 'biggest mistake'

Publisher's worldwide technology director says Sony and Microsoft hanging on to PS3 and Xbox 360 for so long has driven devs to browsers, mobile, and other platforms.

The lack of new console hardware from Microsoft and Sony will haunt the companies, according to Square Enix worldwide technology director Julien Merceron. In an interview with GamesIndustry International, the developer said "the biggest mistake they have ever made" is allowing the current generation of systems to stretch on for seven-to-10 years.

Square Enix has been thinking about next-gen, as evidenced by its E3 tech demo.

“This generation has been way too long, and I say this because you have a lot of developers that work on a new platform, and perhaps will not succeed, so they will wait for the next generation, and will jump on that platform," Merceron said. "You could not do that with this generation though. So these developers went elsewhere to see if the grass was greener. They found Web browsers, they found iOS, they found other things and a lot of them won't come back to the hardware platforms."

The Xbox 360 was launched four years after the original Xbox. It has been nearly seven years since the Xbox 360 debuted at retail, and Microsoft has yet to announce a successor console. The PlayStation 3 hit shelves in 2006, and Sony has similarly declined to officially announce a follow-up system.

As for Square Enix's next-gen plans, the company unveiled its Luminous Studio engine at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. The publisher showed off its target capabilities for the new engine with a tech demo called Agni's Philosophy, viewable below.

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854 comments
pupp3t_mast3r
pupp3t_mast3r

Lol well you predicted the future pretty well. I guess that really did hurt the 5.2million units sold in the last two months.


But I guess I shouldn't expect much from a company that has rebranded itself as the game publishers who create on average 5 different versions of the exact same game.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

I disagree with Square-Enix.  Developers that jump onto low cost, low-power platforms like mobile or web probably aren't interested in making million-dollar Triple A titles anyhow.

 

Personally, I love this new longer console cycle.  I always felt ripped off in the past when I bought a new console only to have to replace it in a few years with something that wasn't even backwards compatible.

 

That's not a problem I have with my PC.  I can play anything in my back catalog if it's a windows 95+ game, or even earlier things with DosBox or an emulator, or even things off of good old games.

ck10304
ck10304

Cool tech demo, although would've been more impressive if it wasn't so shaky

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

first  make a good game this generation then talk ..

tremor33
tremor33

Yeah Yeah. I'll buy a new console when my current one is obsolete, but until the big three can demonstrate why I should fork over $500-$600 bucks for a new console, I'll stick with what I've got. I mean, come on. A dual layer blueray holds 50 gigs of data, and most games are 3-10 gigs. Once games reach that threshold, then developers can whine about needing a new system

dpak1170
dpak1170

I kind of agree..... but I think we should out more money towards an open source console so any developer can make games for it. Making a game for PS3 is next to impossible for a regular developer.

Doddie
Doddie

I just want a quality game with action/adventure/puzzles to keep me entertained.  I don't need 3D or any finer graphics.  I can barely tell the different now on LCD and LEDs, Blue-Ray, etc. Just give me good games.

deathknightleo
deathknightleo

ok where is final fantasy versus xiii then why make another console when it takes so dam long to put a game out with the grapics we have...

grand17
grand17

if they start cranking out systems like ea or activision crank out sequels then i'll retire as a gamer

Doddie
Doddie

When a PC was purchased the minute you walked out the store door, the PC was obsolete.  Finally the public had enough and PC sales started to decline as people moved on to other electronics.  Consoles will be the same.  Look at the tablet sales.  For me, as long as they make games for PS3, I will continue to buy, but not a new console. I just don't have the cash for all this continual change.

jayd02
jayd02

I have to disagree with him on this.  Developers have gone to other platforms because they are cheaper to make and they can get paid just as much if not more making and selling those types of games.  When the next gen comes they will probably stick to those platforms because then it will be significantly cheaper to develop for iOS and Android over PS4 and the next xbox.

Microsteve
Microsteve

Lol a console that could render that video would cost at least £1000 that's why there hasn't been a new gen yet. Stick with PC gaming if you want the best gaming experience, it's that simple

nikon133
nikon133

I don't really understand this guy.

 

Developers are limited with (ageing) current gen consoles capabilities, so they go to develop for... phones, tablets and browser games? Because they obviously don't go to PC, the only platform more capable than PS3 and X360.

 

So they can express their ideas better on freaking iPhone, creating games limited to a few megabytes and selling those game for $1.99? Really?

 

I think this guy is full of... If I was developer, I'd rather develop for console that is current for long time and, as result, has bigger user base, than for console being replaced every few years and never reaching those user base numbers. I want tens of millions potential buyers for my new game, even over a hundred of millions (which PS3 and Wii achieved), not only a few millions.

 

And how would developers like SE and Polyphony develop their games - some of their recent games took more to develop than (what they'd like to be) a lifetime of a console generation..?

BloodyAura
BloodyAura

PC gamers really dont have a reason to be commenting here, this is about consoles and their uncertain future. In the end,who cares about awesome graphic`s if you dont even remember the game in which you saw them!

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

Hopefully this statement and the re-release of FF7 for PC means Final Fantasy is coming to PC...for real. I don't consider the MMOs part of the series.

Descabar
Descabar

Bottom line, these companies will produce new consoles. Sadly, but true that such innovative companies are not thinking of the general public. I say, forget new consoles. Microsoft/SONY should build cases and make it available for customers to customize. Second, introduce new hardware kits to be installed. As a result, developers would not be confined or restricted to limited hardware capabilites. Provide, add ons for instance, blu ray etc... With this process, new jobs would be created as customers will need stores with techs to do the job. I dont think this is impossible because hardware can be specific therefore consoles would be able to compete with pc. This is just an opinion, im not trying to be a wise guy but the idea for constantly releasing new consoles with jaw dropping prices will cripple and turn gamers away to pc or whatever in the near future.   

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

The biggest mistake that Square Enix ever did is spend countless years on games that eventually sucks in the end. Just Cause 2 was a very good game, in fact one of the only games in the last several years that kept Square Enix afloat. So that director needs to take his sorry butt back to his company and start working on getting Versus 13 out instead of trying to hash out a FF XIII-3 game that they've been hinting. 

LtlDuDe346
LtlDuDe346

From Square Enix.... lol.  They worked on a single game for nearly 7 years and it was still mediocre.  Don't talk smack about companies not building better consoles when you can't even build a better game in the same amount of time

The_GooBear
The_GooBear

Okay, according to who? Ever since Enix has been a part of their name they've been garbage. They've destroyed FF-anything and Deus Ex. If I wanted a graphics update more often I'd build a PC and keep up on tech but I don't have the time or money. Besides, look how much the 360 and PS3 have progressed over 6yrs. Go play Gears/Uncharted 3 then go back and play the first and tell me they haven't grown.

pllariviere
pllariviere

I am not interested at throwing my money away every 3-4 years.... so yeah! my console better be holdin' up for 7 to 10 years. There are still many games comin' through and I ain't switching to "better" consoles in a near future. Especially not with the menace of not being able to play my games offline or even not being able to re-sale them. So I'll be sticking to my beloved PS3.

kcender08
kcender08

This Square Enix director just needs to get over it.....

alkybear
alkybear

I have a few problems with Square's statement.

I agree with some of the followers here that a new console every 3 to 4 years is really hard on the consumer.  I mean I have kept up but just barely with technology coming out between smart phones, games, and parts.  However to assume everyone can and this should be the norm is kind of ridiculous.  

 

Another problem is that a lot of the followers here have fallen into the "Final Fantasy is the best argument."  Final Fantasy is good and i grew up on it but with games like Skyrim, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, the story telling is just as good and one could make the argument that these "Western" RPGs have better story telling because they put the player into the lead seat by letting you have choice.  Square Enix really has not changed their bag of tricks its still the 50 hour movie game.  I love that about the final fantasy series but almost every game they put out is the exact same so when I here them complaining about needing a new console I say rethink your strategy.  

 

What I think between all of this is that the current console life is fine.  If they keep making great games that look consistently better then who cares if the system came out 7 years ago.  Square needs to focus less about how good it looks and drive it back home with great games with great story telling.  Innovation is not a shiny new object it is dynamic game play.

crithealmana
crithealmana

This whole "SE is horrible and their games suck" circle-jerk is beyond old. The hate most posts here are giving Merceron are unjustified and ignorant.

 

He states multiple times in the interview that he doesn't want next gen just for better graphics. To quote him from this article "So focusing on graphics only is a big mistake. People will need to focus on animation, and I believe our Philosophy demo is highlighting that, but also on the AI and physics too." Better tools allows developers to further immerse players into their games. This is what SE is aiming for.

 

Furthermore, SE still puts out amazing games. Just because you don't like them doesn't mean they aren't great. Final Fantasy 13 and 13-2 are both in my top 10 games ever. People can complain about linearity all they want, but unless you are playing something like GTA, Skyrim, or Assassin's Creed (which have nowhere near the storytelling of ANY FF game) then what you are playing is also REALLY linear. SE storytelling is also a big target even though I never see any internet superheroes give examples of games that have better stories or character development.

 

One poster even went as far to say that SE is a diminishing company (another thing the hate circle-jerk is good at claiming) when nothing could be further from the truth. SE is HUGE in Japan and has a strong following in NA and Europe as well. You can also google SE stock prices (because I'm too lazy to link all the other companies I looked up to compare) and see that SE stock is higher than EA, Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Take-Two, and I'm sure quite a few other gaming companies.

 

SE is here to stay, and I for one cannot wait to see what new things they are capable on next gen.

tiyoy_araguy
tiyoy_araguy

I think PS3 and Xbox360are stable consoles....I think we don't need new consoles.... We need new games....

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Longer console life means more people buying their current games... oh wait, guess thats gonna lose potential customers when they do pull their fingers out.

Doddie
Doddie

Old consoles need to be replaced? Give me a break (in the wallet).  Who, in these times, can afford new consoles.  Sony & Microsoft have it right, they are the smart ones.

2x4b96123
2x4b96123

I think it's more likely that the expense of game development today is what would be pushing developers onto lower-cost platforms they can be more creative with. There's been an explosion of exciting development on the PC side but it's not coming from the previously console-centric developers. Although I don't see him listing any developers that have jumped ship because "the tech is old"Yeah I agree that this console cycle has taken too long. But that's the only part I agree with. 

hemoleech
hemoleech

Also, I don't understand why Squeenix doesn't take this opportunity to release Before Crisis for smart phones, this would be the perfect time.

Apastron
Apastron

I don't understand his argument.  How many companies decide, "Don't like this platform/generation; let's wait another four or five years to develop a game"?  Are the staff paid in this period, or do they all work at Tescos in the meantime?

 

The iOS market was always going to explode onto the scene.  That in no way can be credited to console manufacturers not releasing a new console.  The next generation was never going to give the option to play mobile games on the bus or during a break at work, which is what the iOS market caters for.  It is, perhaps, the fault of the manufacturers that their handhelds are of such a poor quality.

hemoleech
hemoleech

Okay this is why FFXIV failed so hard. They care more about the graphics than the game and it ended up so awfully optimized that they couldn't release it to PS3, and the gameplay was also awful. Their Japanese customers were pissed and disappointed, that's a pretty bad sign. 

pupp3t_mast3r
pupp3t_mast3r

This just sounds like a lame deflection from a clearly diminishing company.... if they wana complain about the fact that sony and microsoft haven't released a new console yet how about addressing the fact that in the period both those consoles have been out not a single square-enix game has been able to match to its predecessors in either gameplay or storyline?? Basically this is the voice of a disgruntled exec who refuses to acknowledge that the only major mistake in terms of both the sony and microsoft consoles are the games they've had the clear delusion of releasing on them. 

 

All I can say is a comment like that should belong on the tabloids right alongside with "UFO's land in Roswell" and "Who's Justin Beiber dating now?!"

irishdude199210
irishdude199210

There's still a ton of games I have to play on the ps3 yet! Square-Enix, good graphics doesn't equal good games. This just seems like Square-Enix's latest endeavour into targerting mainstream audiences, who tend to care alot about graphics.

KeRoX
KeRoX

 @tremor33

Really? The only reason to get new hardware is for storage space on the discs? I thought better graphics/stuff through new tech was the primary reason most people want newer stuff.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @Doddie 

Yeah, I agree.  That's what games are really about.  My favorite game right now isn't even all that graphically demanding.  It's the Walking Dead series from Telltale.  Episode 4's coming out soon, and I'm more excited for it than all of the $60 things coming out lately.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @jayd02 Good point, the overhead and risk is less, and the profit margins probably the same or potentially more.  If anything, a faster console cycle with progressively more expensive graphics requirements would make less developers stick to consoles, not more.

linuxg100
linuxg100

 @Kryptonbornson FF7 has been on PC, since 1997.

it was distributed By EIDOS back then. so it is not "the first Final Fantasy for PC"

in Fact Final Fasy 8 is also avail for PC or was Back in the day.

alkybear
alkybear

 @Descabar Hey Descabar,

While I think your opinion is of warrant to make customizable gaming consoles more prevalent, what you described is literally the pc gaming market.  By a case then add parts to make it suitable for the game.  Just food for thought.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @LtlDuDe346 Very true, it's ironic for that exec to say stuff like what he did when the games Square-E's been shoving out haven't been so great.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @The_GooBear It's true.  If you learn how to use the hardware, the graphics will definitely improve.

linuxg100
linuxg100

 @kcender08agreed, if that is such a problem for them why the do not just release the games for PC?! there they can exploit the tech as much as they want to.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @alkybear I agree, I grew up on Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but then I swapped over to Western RPG's when I realized they actually let me roleplay and pick where the storyline goes.  I think Square should really focus on gameplay and storytelling rather than just fancy cutscenes and linearity.  

 

The last time I think I saw branching storylines in JRPG's were with game like Suikoden 3 and Steambot Chronicles back on the PS2.  Speaking of which, I really ought to finish Suikoden 3.  Never did manage to finish it.

linuxg100
linuxg100

 @crithealmana sorry, but no. Bioware(before EA era) Was a good example on how RPG can be better the SE is doing right now.

 

I am Fan of Final Fantasy Until 10, where the story is Plain stupid, but got to admit the Game play still enjoyable, on FF12 there is were all went Wrong. bad story, and bad game engine either to easy ( just program the moves and sit) or to complex to control.

I havent play 13 so i cannot discus on that one.

all or at least 90% of the games are linear because they most have restrains unless is a MMO and even so... the problem is if you actually feel you are in point A and need to go to point B the devs are doing something wrong or in haste, as they most hide the fact of linearity and make the gamer to interest in the game or events of the game itself

linuxg100
linuxg100

 @Kryptonbornson my bad according to wikipedia it was in 1998...

and I ma not sure, but if they decide on releasing other new Final Fantasy to PC that would be great.

Descabar
Descabar

 @alkybear

 What you say is correct and my opinion may be irrelevant. However, longivity game console is a must. And if so, consoles with such high prices should produce high graphics and be able to meet developers needs instead of restraining them. Indirectly, this will fool consumer to think that whatever consoles produces then thats all that is out there and its not so. Bottom line, they need to find a better way to improve how they introduce gaming consoles and make them flexible for developers. And ignore square enix rampant. FYI: I am not a PC gamer; I am a true gamer at heart as i withhold both xbox and ps3. i just dont want them to suffer. graphics is key for me plus storytellling they work hand in hand. if anyone cares less about graphics then they should join a very dark circle of their own. 

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

 @linuxg100  @kcender08 It's true, why not just release it for PC?  Problem solved.  PC's upgrade automatically every few years.  It's exactly what the guy wants.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

 @linuxg100 I remember...so how is that not Final Fantasy on PC? Eidos just handled the porting and publishing I suppose, but it's still the same game.

Descabar
Descabar

Honestly, linuxg100, well said and unfortunately, i will be one of the buyers.  when the price drops to 1 or $200 lol

 

 

 

linuxg100
linuxg100

@Descabar@alkybear

Unfortunately allowing Consoles Customization will break the reason they exist. as a single item require to enjoy games. you then as the PC will have requieriments that each time a new game comes out you will be force to upgrade.

that will remove most of the reason to have a console instead of a PC.

more problematic will be the fact that games will require to check for the require settings are satisfied, that games do not break if a new component is installed.

that the hosting OS(PS3 and Xbox and even WII require a OS or at least a system to control the hardware) has the drivers to control an X hardware or Force a Update.

in short, it might appear to be easy, but is not, and some of such task require user input which not all gamers are capable of tolerate, and hardware installation that some might not even understand.

 

also lets review why bother? if you want a custom console why not SONY or MICROSOFT only release a Software for management or a OS for Games, due Sony PS3 Hardware is a NVIDIA chip (alredy avail for pc)

Sony, Toshiba, IBM-designed Cell microprocessor (this is indeed unique, but current gen of processors can do a good fight. )

IBM Xeon, used on Xbox. (again the same.)

 

 

in conclusion I agree it might be a good idea, but i dont think it will be a risk neither will take, and something that the gaming population will agree with as it might be more comple that just buy, plug, play