Posted on March 11, 2008,

Sweeney: “Consoles Have Definitely Left PC Games Behind”

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Joining his Epic Games colleague Cliff Bleszinski, Tim Sweeney – the co-founder of Epic – has stated in an interview that he believes the PC gaming market is being beat down by consoles, thanks in large part to the growing prices to build a high-end machine. With such a massive performance difference between low-end and high-end PCs (which Sweeney estimates to be “something like 100x”), he says it’s impossible to design a game for those high-end machines and then scale it down to play on what he calls “mainstream PCs.”

If we go back 10 years ago, the difference between the high end and the lowest end may have been a factor of 10. We could have scaled games between those two. For example, with the first version of Unreal, a resolution of 320×200 was good for software rendering and we were able to scale that up to 1024×768, if you had the GPU power. There is no way we can scale down a game down by a factor of 100, we would just have to design two completely different games. One for low-end and one for high-end.

That is actually happening on PCs: You have really low-end games with little hardware requirements, like Maple Story. That is a $100 million-a-year business. Kids are addicted to those games, they pay real money to buy [virtual] items within the game and the game.

Sweeney didn’t deny that there is a market for PC games, though  — quite the contrary.

… PCs are more popular than ever. Everyone has a PC. Even those who did not have a PC in the past are now able to afford one and they use it for Facebook, MySpace, pirating music or whatever. Yesterday’s PCs were for people that were working and later playing games. Even if those games were lower-end ones, there will always be a market for casual games and online games like World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft has DirectX 7-class graphics and can run on any computer. But at the end of the day, consoles have definitely left PC games behind.

It’s a very insightful interview. He’s make some good points without bluntly proclaiming that PC gaming is dead. Integrated graphics are a major problem with PCs nowadays, according to Sweeney, and the fact that you can go buy a new PC and it be incapable of running a modern game is a serious problem.

Read the full interview here.

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6 Comments on Sweeney: “Consoles Have Definitely Left PC Games Behind”

Mustikos

On March 11, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Yeah I used to see best buy sales adds with low of low hardware in them, graphics cards that can’t barely use Dx9 then have something next to them that says “Can play Crysis at maximum settings with 2109823 fps” type bs. But really if people are going to go out and buy even a modestly price pc why don’t they at least point some effort in to actually research a little about what their getting them selfs into.

Also he needs to take a look at what the guys over at sins of a solar empire say. It deals with piracy but responds a lot to what this guy is saying and proving him wrong in some points.

Though why don’t people like him just come out and say “Its easier to make a game for a console since pretty much every one is the same specs unlike everybody’s PC and we have micro soft who will pay crazy extra amount of money to get exclusive stuff”

What really annoys me the most and keeps me away form things like the xbox 360 is that paying a yearly fee for what I Can get free here. First don’t respond zomg its only XX amount a year! Thats bs, microsoft doesn’t need the money. With the way bush is killing the economy, that money does hurt. Specifically the way they are trying to push that crap on us pc users, here we are going to take everything away from you, turn around and sale it back to you and have the same if not worse quality.

Time to get flamed by the console fanbois (even though I like both pc’s and consoles)

Casey

On March 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm

It has always been more difficult to develop for PC. It has always been easy to develop for a console who’s specs don’t change.

The insight is AMAZING!!!!

Jiki

On March 11, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Blah, games shouldn’t be about graphics but gameplay and story! I ain’t surprised about this attitude though – Epic has beautiful games with nice gameplay, but crap for story if even that so it’s no wonder they’re only looking for the glitz.

Also, Crysis is mediocre shooter with too demanding engine and so many lost opportunities.

dano

On March 11, 2008 at 3:40 pm

Its cheaper than ever to make a decent gaming machine that can run almost anything @ decent settings (settings that will look better than an console)…
Anyone who claims otherwise knows very little about the state of the pc market.
(A side note, Crysis is an exception not the rule when it comes to game requirements)

Nicholas

On March 11, 2008 at 6:09 pm

I agree , PC is much cheaper now to upgrade then it was before. I recently built my own PC expecting to spend like 3000 dollars but I got a good machine for 800 bealive it or not. Just have too look in the right places for the right parts. Planing on going quad core next year :cool:

Mustikos

On March 11, 2008 at 8:49 pm

People seem to have their panties in a wad with crysis. What I was saying is best buy was advertising on their pos pc’s that have integrated graphics, or very crappy dx 10 cards that in no way in hell could even hope to run graphics but sure enough they acted like it would play it a maximum.

Jiki: First of all get over the whole zomg graphics vs. game play, in this day and age it should be BOTH! On your Crysis statement you (and 99 percent of the internet users) need to learn that putting the word “is” in your sentence doesn’t make your opinion a fact. As far as two demanding engine, yeah right. I recently built a new system (replace the one I used for almost 7 years, so I am no means somebody who runs out to buy a new rig every new game) and it plays crysis in single player mode with decent fps and max settings and it only cost around 1200 bucks. I do feel the online part is lacking, I stopped playing simply cause of the mass cheating, people who could fire nukes constantly for 5 minutes straight etc.

As far as “A side note, Crysis is an exception not the rule when it comes to game requirements” don’t you mean system requirement? Because last time I checked their wasn’t official rules to what is a game requirements.