Square Enix's worldwide technology director Julien Merceron has said the next generation of hardware will bring cinema technologies to consoles.
"I think that we're still going to see a big leap in graphics. In terms of technology I think we'll see developers taking advantage of physically-based rendering, physically-based lighting," Merceron told VideoGamer at Develop.
"I think people will take advantage of global illumination, or at least some form approximation of global illumination, so that could have a significant impact on graphics quality."
Merceron said if the games industry embraces these techniques, used in film and animation, it will allow cross-media sharing of assets, so tie-in games approach the quality of their source material.
The executive argued against the possibility that game have reached their graphical peak, saying more photo-realistic games will make continuing improvements in graphics more obvious to end users.
"If you take most of the Pixar movies from the last five to six years… do you see a big difference between one that was released five years ago, and one that was released last year? I'm actually not sure we see a huge difference," he said.
"But if you take a film like Avatar, there's a huge leap in the graphics techniques that are being used and the level of realism. The conclusion I would draw from that is we might end up seeing the difference way more in realistic-looking games, rather than those trying to achieve a cartoony look.
"At some point, with all these games [that are] going for a cartoony look, consumers might get the feeling that it's plateauing. But for games striving for a very realistic look, it's going to be easy to see all the improvements, all the time."