Robert W. Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian has said the firm still expects Sony and Microsoft to launch next-gen consoles as early as 2013, especially now Ubisoft has admitted during its call to investors today it was “well underway in development on games for next generation video game consoles,” according to an analyst note.
Sebastian said Ubisoft’s comments were “consistent with prior comments from Electronic Arts,” and the firm’s comments on next-generation were “mildly positive for software publishers.”
In his note, the analyst had this to say regarding Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot’s remarks on next-gen systems being more open to online, connected services:
“Online will be a key growth driver. According to Ubisoft, new consoles will have a material increase in power, much better graphics, and more online/connected services,” said Sebastian. “Not surprisingly, the company also mentioned that online distribution of games, including full downloads and F2P business models, will also be a core component growth in the next generation.
“Management indicated that this will complement the traditional delivery of console games, which suggests to us that new consoles will continue to provide distribution on disks. In fact, the company suggested that retailers will continue to have a key role in selling software, presumably both disk-based and online.”
Sebastian said the F2P model will broaden the content offerings on new platforms, and he expects F2P versions of Wii-U titles from Ubisoft to be released in the coming year.
“It appears that new consoles from Microsoft and Sony will also allow more integration of item-based transactions within games, including a free-to-play option similar to the model used in social and mobile games,” he said. “Ubisoft expects this to drive better monetization than what is commonly available in the current generation.
“We believe the F2P model on consoles, as part of a broad multi-platform strategy (phones, tablets, connected TVs) could drive a higher level of profitability per franchise. In addition, developers of Facebook and Mobile/Tablet games may discover a new platform opportunity for their titles in the next console generation.”
During its call to investors earlier today, in his prepared remarks, Guillemot said next-gen consoles will “boost the market” thanks to a “qualitative leap” in online and social integration as well as an “item based model.”