At the recent Game Horizon round-table in New Castle, Epic Games vice president Mark Rein spoke about releasing a new system every few years and how it would be difficult in practice.
“The amount of technology put into them would not have been a big enough leap to make a difference to people. I don’t think you can do the console business the same as you do tablets.”
Citing Apple’s example of refreshing hardware each year, he stated, “I don’t think you can do that with consoles because they have a longer design cycle, and they are more expensive. 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.”
Among the next-gen consoles, Sony will be releasing its PlayStation 4 during the Holiday season, while Microsoft is set to unveil its next Xbox, codenamed Infinity, on May 21st.