GDC: EA sounds note of caution about next-generation development

Industry veteran Schappert tells developers to look before they leap.

EA Canada general manager John Schappert has warned developers not to rush into creating titles for next generation consoles, admitting that EA missed "hundreds of millions of dollars" of revenue by abandoning PSone too soon.

Speaking at the opening session of GDC's business track, titled "Prepping for the Transition: Will you be ready?", Schappert said that developers should be wary of repeating the mistake of the last transition period by leaving the previous generation of systems behind too soon.

This was a mistake which EA made at the transition between PSone and PS2, he admitted. EA "left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table" due to the decision to move teams onto PS2 projects too soon, thus allowing the PSone release list to dry up, he said.

"Keep some of your stars on the existing platforms," Schappert advised, referring to the development talent at the studios, and he was also adamant on the topic of quality control in early launches for the next generation platforms. "It's important not to rush games and release crap," he said.

Although Schappert was upbeat on the topic of next generation systems in general - particularly 3G mobile phones, which he said could represent the best return on investment in the near future, and the PSP, which he described as the platform he was most excited about - his overall message was that even if developers want to be there for launch, they shouldn't over commit to the new hardware - and his question to the 200 strong audience was "Do you really want to be the pioneer with arrows in his back?"

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