Epic Boss Talks About How PlayStation Neo and Scorpio are Great for Industry, PC-Like Graphics Settings on Consoles and More
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney may have a problem with the way Microsoft is handling the consumer PC ecosystem, but he is very appreciate of the steps that the American platform holder has taken to introduce a more powerful console hardware amid the life-cycle of its Xbox One system. When asked to share his thoughts on Project Scorpio, the esteemed game programmer said that mid-generational hardware upgrades from both Sony and Microsoft are a "great step forward for the industry."
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney Says PlayStation Neo and Project Scorpio Are "a Great Step Forward For the Industry - Talks About Change in Console Industry
Last week Tim Sweeney professed that he is “absolutely thrilled” about the idea of Sony and Microsoft’s upcoming more powerful game consoles, saying that “it gives you the best of both worlds” with upgrade cycle similar to that of the PC and portability and ease of use of game console. He recently more to added to his thoughts, saying that mid-cycle hardware upgrades like PlayStation Neo and Project Scorpio are nothing but a “great step forward” for the console industry.
Talking with GameSpot in an interview, Sweeney noted that one of the most challenging elements of the entire console industry is that when manufacturers release new consoles after every six or seven years, developers as well as players have to start again from zero, as games and accessories for the older machines are then of no use. However, if console hardware is upgraded incrementally, like PlayStation Neo and Project Scorpio, platform holders will be able to give more power to developers and players without having to invest everything from the start. He said:
“Well, upgrading consoles midlife is a great step forward for the industry. The most difficult part of the entire console industry has always been resetting the user base to zero every seven years or so, whereas if we incrementally upgrade the hardware, then we can bring more performance to gamers without wiping the slate clean. That's incredibly valuable. To be able to invest the kind of money it takes to build a high-end game today requires a base of tens of millions of users. By doing these incremental updates, the industry can move forward technologically at a much faster pace without those business challenges.
“I think it's really the ideal model: bringing the best upgradeability of the PC with the reliability of the console kept, so you're never going to have to deal with driver problems on a console, but you will get the newer hardware.”
When asked whether the console industry is really shifting its pace with PlayStation Neo and Project Scorpio to become more like PC or smartphone industry, the graphics guru said:
“Yeah, I think this is a fundamental change in the way the console industry operates. I think it's been a long time coming in recognizing this is possible. You could imagine this approach being extended out in the future where once we have a hundred million gamers on the current generation of consoles. No console company would desire to start over from scratch, but would continue to deliver more and more performance with hardware upgrades every few years. I think that's an incredibly smart approach, both to benefit gamers and to make industry economics more palatable for game developers.”
PC-Like Advanced Graphical Settings on Consoles?
Sweeney did point out that with only two systems per console family (Xbox One/Scorpio and PlayStation 4/Neo), hardware variations won’t nearly be as extensive as what we have in the PC space. That is why there won’t necessarily be a need to introduce PC-like advanced graphical settings in console games. Developers will know the capabilities of both machines and this will allow them to decide exactly what features they want to put in their game for each system. He said:
“The problem with the PC is it's such a continuum. Pick any performance number and somebody has a PC with that number. It makes it hard for us to make specific choices about what to do on this machine, and what to do on that machine. I think console with two performance points is going to be a very easy target. We can decide exactly what features we can turn on in each of the two cases, and really polish the game heavily for both cases and not have to worry about all of these intermediate points.”
Sony’s PlayStation Neo is rumored to launch this year, along with a slimmed-down version of standard PlayStation 4 console. Microsoft’s Scorpio is expected to hit the market in holiday 2017. Xbox One S, a smaller version of Xbox One with added features, is scheduled to start shipping in August. You can read Tim Sweeney’s complete interview with GameSpot here.