Epic on the industry’s giant leap to next-gen

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The next-generation games being made right now with Unreal Engine 4 are a substantial leap above current console tech, says Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney.

He told us that the next-generation console experience  – something we’ll likely see at the future of PlayStation event next week – will be similar to what Epic can do on PC right now.

“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 studio CFO also told us that he is looking forward to the day that developers can ditch retail distribution to deliver leaner, more flexible and more profitable videogames.

“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,” he added.

You can read more about Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 and what it means for next-gen development in the current issue of Edge Magazine, available in print or on iPad.