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Ubi: Transition to next-gen in 2-3 years

Still life in current gen.

Ubisoft reckons we'll see Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo "transition" from the current generation of consoles to the next in two to three years.

"I was reasonably optimistic and still remain so in terms of how the industry will perform this Christmas," Murray Pannel, head of marketing for the UK, said.

"There's absolutely some amazing product coming. The new hardware, if it's not new platforms coming, the things like Move, Kinect, 3DS, these will all reinvigorate the market, and I do see in the next 12 month if not growth then stabilisation before what I assume to be a new transition into new consoles probably in the next two to three years."

As the three home consoles near their fifth year of life some are asking: what's next?

But now is not the right time for the first parties to start talking about their next consoles, the Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell publisher told Eurogamer.

"When you can see what Microsoft can deliver in terms of Kinect, a brand new gaming experience without the need for new hardware, just a peripheral effectively, it does change the game," Pannel said.

"When you consider that the Nintendo Wii is still selling the volumes it is, month in, month out, there's still an opportunity there with a current hardware to grow the audiences and grow people's experiences on those platforms.

"It's difficult to say what's coming next, because we're not with Sony or Nintendo or Microsoft. But there's still life in all those machines. I genuinely think games can get better. Experiences can get more rich and varied, and the new platforms, Kinect and Move, can help enhance that, certainly."

Analysts have banged on about the need for Nintendo to release the Wii HD for a couple of years, now. But so far the Japanese console manufacturer has been keen to talk up the continued success of the Wii, which currently sits pretty on 70.93 million units sold to date.

Of course, Sony's trumpeted the PS3's planned 10-year lifecycle. And Microsoft hopes motion sensing add-on Kinect will extend the life of the Xbox 360 by five years.

"It would be nice [for the first parties to start talking about new hardware]," Pannel said. "I don’t think it's a requirement right here, right now, because there's enough new tech coming to the market. Maybe it's deemed irrelevant for the hardcore gamer, things like Kinect and Move. I disagree with that to some extent. There's more stuff to come that showcases what Kinect can really mean for the hardcore gamer. I would love to see new technology coming. I'm a tech guy and I'm a gamer. But I think in the broader mainstream audience, it's probably not necessary until there's more to show on that stuff."