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In an interview with Edge, Epic Games\’ Tim Sweeney told the magazine that the next-generation games being developed right now with Unreal Engine 4 are \”a substantial leap\” above current 7th generation console hardware.

He went on to say that the next generation console experience will be similar to what high-end PC gamers are experiencing right now. He also hopes that developers can ditch retail distribution for digital distribution only so that they could have more flexibility and profitable games.

Specifically:

“We’re more enthusiastic now than ever about the future of high-end platforms,” said Sweeney. “What we’re doing on high-end PCs is going to be representative of the future consumer gaming experience and it’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be a substantial leap over the current generation.”

“The market is inefficient now,” he continued. “You run ads on television so that people walk into a retail store, buy a piece of plastic and stick it into their digitally connected device. I think we have a lot of latitude – publishers and developers alike – to increase the efficiency of that. Once you have a game, it’s available pervasively online, and your devices are all Internet-connected, do you really need to run television ads to get people to find it at the top of the App Store?”

“I’m looking forward to our digital future. Development budgets are going to be the dominant cost in the industry, and [increasing] the efficiency of building games will directly improve profitability. As we move more sales of games out of retail, that creates a lot more flexibility for developers to make games at different scales and price them differently.”

“If you look at games that just encompass triple-A production values, there’s a huge range of scales where games have been successful and profitable. You don’t need $100 million to build a triple-A game. But if you want to spend that much, you can build one that looks absolutely insane,”


Editor’s Outlook:

While, I won\’t confirm my enthusiasm with digital distribution, I do agree with Epics motives behind digital distribution and believe the market could be much more sufficient.

However, I do want to make a note about the comments related to next generation. I\’m grouped among those who don\’t believe next generation will provide a significant leap and this news article helps to confirm my belief. Not only did Epic just say it will only be a substantial leap and not a significant one, they said that it would only be comparable to today’s high-end PCs which is in no way what many people seemed to be anticipating.

I\’ve asked it before (When I used to fly solo) and this time, I\’ll rephrase, if High-End PC gamers haven\’t yet experienced a significant leap in visuals, how can you expect that same leap in visuals from consoles? At the same time, if there are no existing engines that support your definition of next generation graphics, how can you be so optimistic? Lastly, to unfortunately be brutally honest, we\’re at the point of diminishing returns so it’s best not to expect the significant leaps we\’ve seen in the past. That being said, I could still be wrong be as we clearly haven\’t fully stepped into the oncoming generation, but I believe the chances predictions like mine being false are very slim.

Now, to ditch all the depression, there is a bright side to what Epic has announced. Luckily, the hardware race isn\’t all about visuals as power plays into it as well. Things such as advanced AI, advanced physics, vaster worlds, etc, are the things we should be looking forward to and we\’ve already gotten glimpses of that with Monolith’s next generation game dubbed \”X\”. Even the world of GTA has gotten bigger in GTAV. Wii U owners, especially, have a lot to look forward to with Nintendo additionally going down the innovation route.

Ultimately, all shouldn\’t be so glum in the era of the 8th generation and we certainly have a lot to look forward to as the gaming industry continues to evolve, but until then, be at peace and enjoy what you have now.

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