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Square Enix: "This generation has been way too long"

The director of worldwide technology at Square Enix believes that Sony and Microsoft's decision to let the current generation of consoles approach its eighth year has been a costly mistake.

Speaking with  GI International, Julien Merceron feels the current generation of consoles has outstayed its welcome, and pushing for an extended life-cycle of current hardware is the biggest mistake Microsoft and Sony have ever made.

"Now you don't need to manage longevity by complexity of programming, because your longevity is ensured by your online model. And I would suggest that maybe we don't want long generations. We have Sony and Microsoft talking about this generation lasting 7,8,9 or even 10 years and it's the biggest mistake they've ever made," he said while discussing hardware complexity and opportunities for longevity.

He went on to say that those developers that might otherwise have jumped aboard the next generation of hardware have instead investigated other possibilities in the absence of new consoles.

"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. 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.

"So you could look at it that thanks to Microsoft and Sony and the length of this generation, it helped the emergence of other platforms and helped them get strong before the next hardware comes out."

Merceron's comments came as industry analyst Wedbush Morgan predicted a 34% year-on-year sales decline in the industry's performance for June.

Analyst Michael Pachter pointed to the lack of innovation and over-reliance on sequels as key factors contributing to the industry's struggles.

“In this unprecedented eighth year of the console cycle, we believe there are few new intellectual properties to reinvigorate interest in the games sector/ Consumers have been offered a never-ending series of sequels, and have been offered fewer choices each year for the last several years, with the result being waning interest in new software purchases and an unprecedented three years of software sales declines,” Pachter said.

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