Consoles don’t need a five year turn-around unless there’s a “big enough leap,” – Epic VP

Wednesday, 8 May 2013 19:22 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Epic Games vice president Mark Rein doesn’t believe console manufacturers have dropped the ball by not releasing a new console every five years.

Speaking during a round-table during Game Horizon in Newcastle today, Rein said it would be inconceivable for consoles manufacturers to release a new system every few years unless there was a major leap in technology to warrant it.

“The amount of technology put into them would not have been a big enough leap to make a difference to people,” he said. “I don’t think you can do the console business the same as you do tablets.”

Rein used Apple as an example of a company which releases a new form of its tablet every year with an upgrade to the prior year’s tech – tech which seems to move faster for the form factor.

“I don’t think you can do that with consoles because they have a longer design cycle, and they are more expensive,” said Rein. “I mean, here you are looking at 16 times the memory in new consoles than we had before. That will enable new kinds of gameplay experiences.

“I think the manufacturers had to wait until they could put something together. I think the days of them subsidizing the hardware with massive R&D expenses have disappeared. I think that happened when they started buying more – I’m not going to say commodity parts because they are still custom GPUS – but more commoditzed parts.

“They’re using Intel architecture now, and they’re using more off the shelf type of GPUs so now they are better able to build a much better PC if you will, to put inside that box.

“I think the timing [on new hardware] is just what it is because they are trying to make a big difference.”

Sony has announced its PS4 console will release this holiday season, and Microsoft will announced its new console on May 21.

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