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Epic: Next hardware generation must have “dramatic leap” in quality

Thursday, 2nd February 2012 00:53 GMT By Brenna Hillier

A little bit of extra grunt under the hood of the next PlayStation and Xbox isn’t going to be enough to satisfy Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney.

“You should only replace the hardware when you can make a dramatic leap in quality, not just two times or three times. It has to be huge and fundamentally new,” Sweeney told VentureBeat.

That’s not to say Epic isn’t ready for new tech.

“The longevity of this console generation has been a mixed blessing. On the game side, it’s been really great for our business. With each new title, there is a bigger and bigger Xbox 360 installed base of users, so the games can sell more. On the other hand, it gets harder to generate the same excitement from the same hardware. That is when the new hardware is justified,” Sweeney said.

Epic’s Unreal Engine is an industry mainstay, and as such, Sweeney said the developer is proactive about ensuring upcoming tech meets its needs.

“The really important thing that we do long term is work with the hardware manufacturers like AMD, Nvidia and Intel and really talk deeply about their long-term roadmap,” the CEO noted.

“Not just what’s coming next year but what’s coming out in two years, five years from now. Where is the industry going to max out? We give each other a lot of feedback and can have considerable impact on their direction.”

One such piece of “considerable impact” was Epic’s exhortation to Microsoft to double the Xbox 360′s RAM from 256MB to 512MB.

“And they came through. They put in extra memory and that is one of the reasons we were able to make Gears of War look so compelling,” Sweeney said.

“Without that extra memory, we would have far less space for details. That decision cost Microsoft about $1 billion, but you can say that it paid off big time. They would not have succeeded to the extent they have today if they had not done that.”

At GDC 2011, Epic wowed with the Samaritan tech demo, which it positioned as a target for console manufacturers to aim for with next-gen hardware.

Thanks, IndustryGamers.

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7 Comments

  1. fearmonkey

    I agree with Tim in this completely. better not let us down MS (and Sony)

    #1 3 years ago
  2. FeaturePreacher

    4-8 gb of physical memory for 2014!!!

    #2 3 years ago
  3. lexph3re

    Well considering that consoles are not computers and don’t need nearly as much multi-tasking power as a desktop computer and utilizes a less taxing OS I don’t think the need for 4-8 gb’s of ram is really necessary on a customized gaming device with custumized software and GUI. So honestly in the end THEY need to make an adaptable solution of a graphics engine that can run not only on a PC and have a seamless engineered graphics engine without stripping it down for custom hardware

    #3 3 years ago
  4. FeaturePreacher

    @3
    They may or may not need it, but no one will be unhappy if they have it.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Clupula

    Exactly. I’m very happy with my PS3. In order for me to move up to a PS4, I need to see a huge leap in graphics, first and foremost. I also want to see games with things going on in them that aren’t possible in this gen. Millions of fully detailed enemies in a battle scene or scene.

    I will have to actually be impressed, otherwise, why bother with another gen?

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Maximum Payne

    @5 Exactly.It needed to be just like any other gen.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. m2stech

    I think this next-gen will be the last hardware based console generation and by 2025 the PS5 and XBOX4 are going to be cloud-based.

    #7 3 years ago

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