Speaking to CVG last week, Epic Games’ VP Mark Reign stated that the next generation of video game consoles from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will have to use “bleeding edge” technology. If they don’t, Reign warned that “Apple will go right past them.”
“This is why we did Samaritan and why we’re doing a really high-end demo in the room here. We really are pushing these guys, because if they don’t, Apple will go right past them.”
“We really like the big screen, home console experience and we really like iPad gaming. We like all these gaming experiences and we don’t think consumers want them to go away.”
“The only way they’re going to go away is if they don’t stay true to what they are. The console gaming experience is about delivering something that’s way out past the bleeding edge and subsidising it through the software royalty model – just like Apple does with the phones. It’s not that much different.”
“That’s the console gaming model, and if you don’t do that – if you don’t stretch just far enough, you don’t just have enough of a difference to make people want to take the leap with you… it all falls down.”
Epic Games did show off Unreal Engine 4 at GDC last week behind closed doors, and considering what we saw Unreal 3 pull off with the “Samaritan” video last year, I think it’s safe to say that next-gen consoles will need to be packing some serious power under the hood to run the new engine.
With that said, I think the days of graphical arms race between console manufacturers is behind us. Consumers seem to be fairly happy with the current generation of consoles, and the games that are coming out for them. With the economy the way it is, going big and expensive will be a blueprint for bankruptcy. In my opinion, the next-gen consoles would do well to stick to a modest (ie. cheap) bump in horsepower and focus their efforts to attract consumers on some other innovative aspect that can’t be done on the current generation.