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Ubisoft CEO plans 'fewer big console games next gen'

Firm to use the free-to-play market as a testing ground for new ideas

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot expects the publisher to make fewer triple-A games for Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 than it has for the current generation of consoles.

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The executive told the Guardian: "With next gen consoles, it's going toward bigger games, and yes, we will make less of them. But with free-to-play games, the teams aren't as big so we can try different things and find subjects that are of interest to consumers."

Assassin's Creed 3 creative director Alex Hutchinson recently described the latest game in the series as one of the last of the triple-A "dinosaurs". Approximately 600 Ubisoft Montreal staff have worked on the project, supported by numerous other Ubi studios including Quebec City, Bucharest and Singapore, and Hutchinson believes this type of massive production is a dying breed.

Cliff Bleszinski is another to express the belief that we'll see fewer blockbuster releases each year once the next generation of consoles arrives, suggesting last December that the cost of developing major games on new hardware could prove too prohibitive for all but the biggest names in the industry.

Guillemot also said next gen consoles "will be more powerful, but we can expect this generation - because they took quite a long time - to actually come with something really new, really interesting that will boost the market enormously".

He added: "You have a glimpse at what could happen with SmartGlass from Microsoft. Microsoft is also moving in to mobile - we can look at what they and Google are doing - those guys are trying to consider the universe we inhabit.

"Being connected, playing with your friends on any device - consoles can continue to improve that experience and make sure it's more believable, that you're immersed in those worlds. The potential is there, with everything that's been created in the last seven years, to give us new sensations."

EA Labels president Frank Gibeau suggested last month that Xbox 720 and PS4 are due to launch "in about a year's time". More recently, he labelled next gen consoles EA's currently making games for "spectacular".

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