Epic president addresses hopes for next-gen consoles

Mike Capps talks limitations of pricing models in the console space; says Samaritan demo graphics should be expected.

Between the Gears of War series and Unreal Tournament III, Epic Games has seen success in the $60 game business during the current generation of consoles, but company president Mike Capps feels that other models are also important going forward. In an interview with Develop, Capps outlined current issues in the console space.

Mike Capps

One area where Capps hopes platform holders will evolve is at the marketplace end of the business. He also stressed that console manufacturers need to allow for "double-A" games at price points less than $60.

"[Consoles] need to be able to do something where small virtual items can be sold and bought for 20 cents without a long certification process and a price approval process," said Capps. "The best way of driving developers to PC is telling them they have no freedom in what prices they can set for virtual items."

In addition to marketplace issues, Epic's president feels next-generation systems face an uphill battle on the technical front. "I think it’s very important that a gamer sees an Xbox Next or PlayStation Next and can clearly see the tech is not possible on current consoles. Otherwise they won't be a success. And that's a very tall order," said Capps.

Staying on the topic of hardware, Capps said that Epic has attempted to influence console makers in what kind of functionality will be in the next-gen consoles. He also said the level of quality displayed in the Samaritan demo (below) is what "gamers should be demanding for next generation."

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120 comments
warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

"I think it’s very important that a gamer sees an Xbox Next or PlayStation Next and can clearly see the tech is not possible on current consoles. Otherwise they won't be a success. And that's a very tall order," EXACTLY!!! That's what I've been saying. At this moment in time I don't think new consoles can offer us that much more technology-wise so I ain't hyped. Announcing at E3 2013? That gives them just under 2 years.... So I'll live in hope :)

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

Mike...what the hell happened to your hair?! Last time I read about an article with regarding he had hair, hardly recognized him lol.

wyan_
wyan_

Everyone is so pessimistic about next gen consoles. The current gen has been allowed to get long in the tooth because the console giants wanted to wait. By the time we see another Sony or Microsoft console it will be about 2 or 3 years past due. I think we will see a huge leap forward because of that. One of the things I'm betting on is flawless 3D support for both new and old games. I've really been hating the wait for next gen, but overall I think it will turn out to be worth the extra 2 or so years.

mattcake
mattcake

Better hardware is always gonna help. Every engine is scalable, be it increasing the distance the grass is drawn to, to increasing the LOD on distance objects - even the crappest engine will benefit from more power. Its easy to sit around and say you want better games, but graphics are a huge part of the immersion - if they are better, you will feel more involved in the game. Who didnt play gta4 and spend the first hour in awe, spinning the camera around looking at the slightly grainy and blurry, but albeit pseudo-realistic graphics? Imagine that but 10x better (current pc tech is easily on that scale) Gameplay is gameplay, I still play Space Invaders nowadays, albeit dressed up in pretty graphics with a different name, and enjoy it. Always push for better. I'm sad gta5 is gonna be on current gen hardware but it will rock and just make me think how incredible gta6 will be on the next generation...

Taegre
Taegre

@jsmoke03 Not necessarily. Physics are derived from the machine's CPU and the developer's software ingenuity, only in special cases are they handled in the GPU. One game that really impressed me with its physics is Limbo, which is a 2D indie sidescroller. @ZeRo2545 So improving our graphics cards and television sets is somehow going to help the progress of humanity?

McGregor
McGregor

@mattcake, Well written. Current gen consoles may have old hardware, but developers are always finding ways to max out the capability and wow me. I stopped building gaming PC's because of the cost vs the small amount of gaming I did on them; not to mention I still couldn't play the latest game on the highest settings. As for micro-transactions, If i can pick and choose the maps I want, then I'm all for it...after 2 failed map packs (in my opinion) for black ops, I stopped buying them. Not to mention I never even touch the zombie stuff. What should happen is a "try before you buy" approach. Give me 30 minutes or so of trying a map/zone/item out, and if I like it, I buy it, if not. No obligation. This will hold developers to higher standards than what i feel like I received for my $ recently, because if they don't, they don't get paid. Ultimately the point that needs to be driven home to the next gen consoles and the developers, is, give us a legitimate, reliable upgrade, or don't bother.

Gusz2
Gusz2

i don't want a new generation of consoles now, it's too early, what i want is better games, with better gameplay, if we look the graphics they're already great, unless for me who plays since 1995... the important is the gameplay, if we take a look on the past we'll see few games with a good gameplay, uncharted, red redemption, Batman AA and AC... for the numbers of games done, only few is worth of our money...

deathblow3
deathblow3

@Vodoo i agree if that was true then why was the captain america movie game only 49.99 from day one 20 dollars cheaper than every thing else

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

@taegre-arent physics generally tied to graphics?

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

im actually expecting more than that when it comes to characters...im thinking more tekken demo from before ps3 came out

ZeRo2545
ZeRo2545

@Kravyn81 If the human race didn't look into the horizon and move towards the future, we would still be in the stone age. You herp a derp.

Taegre
Taegre

Frankly, I'm done waiting for better graphics. Lately I've been playing a lot of games from the late 90's and early 00's, and I just don't find myself even thinking of the graphics anymore. I mean, when you watch a good movie from the 70's, are you enjoying the movie for what it is or are you saying "God this picture quality is terrible!"? If the next generation of consoles really wants to make an impact, they need to provide gameplay that wasn't possible on previous consoles with more advanced physics, larger multiplayer matches, smarter AI and so on. Otherwise, why upgrade to new tech when I already have two decades worth of great games with the tech available to me now?

y3ivan
y3ivan

@Dragon240sx DX11 is just a marketing tool to fool PC user after nvidia success on dx10 cards and the success of crysis. Considering that Dx11 was developed just in 1 year while dx10 has been in development for nearly 4 years. Difference between Dx11 and dx10 are marginal. However Dx10 vs Dx9 is huge. So the answer is, the longer the development time is spend, the larger package is going to receive. i wouldnt go into detail of dx11 vs dx10. i ll just summarized dx11 over dx10. 1.Tessallation - increase more polycount with a higher demand of resources 2. update of lighting and shadows DETAILS: http://www.overclock.net/amd-ati/597046-dx11-vs-dx10-vs-dx-9-a.html

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

Unfortunately, we'll likely see something not even half as impressive as Samaritan. Were the proper industries booming like back in 2004, I'd be hopeful, but consoles don't push hardware manufacturers, so things have slowed noticeably.

imprezawrx500
imprezawrx500

The real question is will the put in enough ram for once. anything less than 8gb is a crime. Even a 5 year old console should not be out done by a mid range phone in the ram department.

Vodoo
Vodoo

I agree with what he said about only triple-A games should be $60. Double -A should be cheaper. But he said that the console manufacturers control that? I was under the impression the publisher controls that. Because there are cheaper games, though rare, that do come out.

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

I'm happy with my PS3 and HDTV tech, thanks. The problem today is nobody has their possessions long enough to appreciate them. This generation of consoles is obviously the exception since it ran a couple years longer than the "norm," but had the global economic climate been healthier you can be sure that the next gen consoles would have already been announced by now. People need to enjoy what they have now and stop looking out towards the horizon. For God's sake, compared to where games/consoles started and where we are today? You'd have to be a complete moron to take any of this for granted.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

I'm leaving Nintento out of this because they are running a different race. However, I believe Nintendo needs to start showcasing some online services that attracts our attentions and they need to do it by E3 2012. Otherwise they'll be using all the Wii money to figure out how to not become another Sega.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Sony is heading in the right direction with it's PlayStation Suite (currently for Android and soon-to-be for PSV). The PS4 could easily integrate this service and introduce a quick way for developers to get smaller games out to the masses. The trick will be for Sony to figure out how to properly recommend good games to gamer's as well as introduce them to new games that are coming out without those new games quickly fading into the nether-realms of the marketplace before getting a chance to be a hit. The platforms need to greatly consider digital distribution and "apps" as part of the new ecosystems. The manufactures have a good business with physical media and AAA games. But the $5-20 and $20-40 game sectors need more attention. Apps are going to be important for the manufacturers to expand what their devices can do and what partners they can bring in and how quickly they can do it. Excellent hardware is a given. I'm not worried about that. I expect top-of-the-line equipment from both Sony and Microsoft. I don't expect big changes in controls outside of integrated Move and Kinect. I'd prefer if the default packages still come with the standard controllers. I really think that the services available on the console will have almost as big of an impact on how well the console sells as the games that are available. This is where Microsoft is ahead of Sony and where Sony should be putting a great deal of effort into figuring out.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

I see where he's coming from with micro-transactions. Consumers don't want micro-transactions. Games have had a bad, short history of micro-transactions. And what is being done in the smartphone economy is disturbing. However, micro-transactions have been very successful and are a driving factor for companies to decide which platforms they will deploy on. So, it needs to be considered from the Manufacturer's perspective when moving forward into the next generation.

mattcake
mattcake

I could happily buy a new console every year or 2 providing it had proper backwards compatibility. But at the same time, constant hardware development leads to laziness - I used to spend 1k a year upgrading my PC, and still all I ever heard was it wasn't good enough to run the latest PC game at max. Well, look at games on the xbox 6 years ago and look at em now, developers find new ways all the time to optimise stuff and it would be a shame to lose that drive. I'd say every 3-4 years is a sweet spot - the current consoles are absolute junk compared to the tech available, but the new games that come out continue to surprise me.

minivirus2
minivirus2

In all honesty, I can't see graphics getting much better than they are any time soon. The next gen of consoles will have to front some MAJOR advances for them to be worth anything at all. Devs need to look towards innovation such as the Wii. Good idea in practice, but with poor execution. Companies need to find ways of making the next gen of consoles a lucrative purchase. Adding social media/sporting media and what not isn't the answer. They need to take these systems much further than a slight bump up in graphical quality because they're destine to cost upwards of $600. I tend to think the gaming industry is going to see it's decline with the next gen of console because there's little room for innovation, there's a scarce amount of high quality new IP's coming out and the whole industry seems to rely on sequels as their main source of profit (in terms of game sales). People will get tired of playing the same damn games with sub par stories tacked on to continue the franchise and they sure as hell won't be dolling out $600 nicer textures.

deathblow3
deathblow3

i hope they put in more ram in this next gen last gen memory was horrible. more memory is never a bad thing. also even though i hate microtransactions they are big business just ask facebook maybe i dont want every map in a map pack....... or every gun in the dlc

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

He has a great point. Did you know that pretty much all of Valve's DLC on PC is free? Free. Not $15 for a map pack. It would probably also be free on consoles, but I assume Microsoft won't allow it. Also, all shooters need to be running at 60 FPS minimum next generation. None of this maxed at 30 FPS crap. Meh, I just hope the next-gen console wow's me.

febreez123
febreez123

Yes I agree to faster regulation process for smaller developers, and yes to having developers set prices for their games and add-ons(but only if it's within a range). But do realize your distributor, whether it be Sony or Microsoft, will add on to the price so that they may make a profit as well. You are using their store for your product. You can't just set up shop there and play by your own rules, but there has to be some compromise from both sides. It's an iffy situation with consoles since Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo run them and monopolize their own consoles and services associated with them.

megakick
megakick

This is unreal 3 for the PC and it's not even new this is an old video. Most of the models are robots and are metalic. The Human still doesn't look real but cartoony. I guess you need to buy a workstation for that and back a developer for anything better. This shows that PC graphics advancements are slowing down. Good luck playing this on your old PC rig with one 560 gtx ti i5 cpu. This was done with a workstation and SLI. PC gaming has a long way to go.

Grovilis
Grovilis

In my experience, it's NEVER good to trust a devs description of a console's graphical capacity. Yes, it may be able to play Samaritan, but at what cost? Super low frame-rate, screen tearing, no anti aliasing, texture pop-in, terrible physics? The list goes on.

endorbr
endorbr

What he meant was that actual gameplay on the next gen of console needs to look like the tech demo, not just cutscenes if you want gamers to get the sense that console hardware has truly progressed since the previous gen. Do I think it's possible? Sure. Do I think they could do it affordably? ... Probably not. Totally agree that next gen consoles need to do more to change the model than just provide better graphics though.

Psy_m_on
Psy_m_on

svaubel, your 100% right and even more!! finally someone that understands. PS2 days where the best (bought me a "small" idition a view months ago btw. :)

Psy_m_on
Psy_m_on

whats so impressive about this demo? its just a trailer/movie. btw. i din't see anything innovating or wauw factor-like stuff.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

Sorry, Caps, but that demo with those kind of CGI effects have been seen before, lol. Movies, game cut-scenes (Batman AC anyone?) it's nothing new... Although the story was cool.

macca366
macca366

Wait, he was saying what he doesn't like about consoles is that they have to go through a regulation process to price DLC-like content? Isn't that a good thing? I wouldn't want a company being allowed to price content they'd intend as micro transactions however they wanted, namely that they could simply overprice it. If he actually means that the middle-man MAKES it too expensive, and it should be cheaper, THEN I agree with him. But either way, I don't approve of his passion to move into profiting off of micro transactions, ala casual/social gaming. I just don't find any substance in it.

alchdemon
alchdemon

honestly doesn't look that good, uncharted 3 and FFXIII are at similar levels, I'm sure once we get Kojima's Rising or FFXIII versus the engines of those respective games will be at the level of that demo. Also i kind of don't see his logic, there is NO way they can try to sell games lower than 60 dollars, consoles are already extremely competitive and in order for sony/nintendo/xbox to compete they have to price their consoles at low, sometimes unprofitable marks and then charge developers. its a double edged sword, if they dont sell consoles people wont make games for them, if they do sell consoles, the people making games will have to raise prices or cut spending.

faneboogie
faneboogie

It seem like to me he was just pushing the unreal engine. this stuff has been seen before.

Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

THIS is not leaps and bounds above what is out there now. YES its better but not like looking at something from the begining of last gen to something out now... with each generation the difference is less and less.

John_Read
John_Read

it is sad that Epic has moved away from PC

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

That demo is impressive, but what it doesn't make clear to me is whether all that we can see is rendered real-time, so it represents what it would look like to play. If all that is, is effectively CGI, then we already have cut scenes of that same quality right now on consoles.

marvel456
marvel456

I like the pun in the title, 'Epic President' :P

onixevil
onixevil

i think the Nvidia will go back to the next gen Xbox gpu cause they are already canceling the contract with Sony

svaubel
svaubel

Next gen should be about games that have actual meat to them, not just graphics. Games this gen already feel too short compared to the PS2 area. franzito said it right. We have moved into an era where it is no longer about quality it is about milking the consumers and using bad business practices to hide the fact that games are no longer 60$ but more if you want the full experience. DLC milking and online pass crap have got to go.

Fritzzland
Fritzzland

The future of the next gen seems to be attached to social gaming,what is terrible because casual gaming is just kill time. Graphics and such are just gimmicks,gimme what I want: real games!

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

Nice demo, shame it was all rendered cut scene junk, we may aswell have been watching Shrek. - that's how relevant it was to games. Anyway, I'm sure there's enough hardware on the market to boost consoles power significantly for roughly a £500 price tag (Which i believe was the production cost of the X360/PS3 at launch?).. CPU / GPU / PPU are all MASSIVELY more advanced than they were say 2 years ago.... and the 360 is 6 years old, so the hardware power is there to do anything developers can currently do and I'd imagine doable for less than £500, it just needs putting into a box.

franzito
franzito

Next gen should rescue the game's tradition that is lost. I see much more profits involved in games today than real fun, real play values. Hyping makes cheap titles look like revolutionary while, in the past, we saw better and played better too.

edinko
edinko

anyone else noticed that how his biggest concern seems to be the technology of nickel and diming people tilto death ? They need a system where you can spend 20 cents or 1 dollar just with pushing 1 button so they can rip people off with items and microtransactions even more effective than today cause its not enough and its not fast enough. Thats the main thing this man is saying if you read carefully. I have an idea. Insted of buying 20 sodas for "insert generic shooter name" experience gamepads and PC keyboards will have the 1 DOLLAR BUTTON next to the fire button so you have access to it all the time. You press it and 1 dollar is deducted from your account guaranteed within a few miliseconds to get something amazing like a cosmetic change of a weapon or a 5 minute experience boost. ANd i suggest that half of it lands directly for example on Bobby`s private account so there is no unneccessary administration and he doesnt need to wait so long for the next yacht

CptRexKramer
CptRexKramer

It would be exceptional if future consoles actually produced game-play that looked like that demo, and not just cut-scenes and such. I guess we'll eventually see.

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

@YoungCardinal Its a very valid point and I didn't mean to sound like a company can't be successful on the PC. But Crysis for example was built from the ground up for the PC and was pirated heavily to the point where Crytek swore they would never make another exclusive for the PC. I just think viewing at a publisher side, dealing with used game sales where they got a profit to begin with on consoles is far better than dealing with rampant piracy on the PC, suffer with low sales numbers, and having to be called in on Christmas because the servers were overloaded with pirates before the game was released as what happened to Demi God. If publishers want to turn a profit on the PC, they have to come about it differently now. Sadly where low cost graphics and free to play in League of Legends makes more money than high budget games on PC. If publishers want to cut down on used game sales maybe they shouldn't make games where I can beat in a weekend. Where I can get a used game from Gamstop and return it in 7 days after casually beating it over the weekend but that is a different conversation.

edinko
edinko

You forget 1 important thing. Consoles are for the mass market LOW BUDGET gamers. Wii U will ship with i think 3 generations old GPU from 2008 in 2012 (Radeon 4 series i think the current one is number 7). Forget the Samaritan demo. you can get in on the PC but never on consoles. "Next-Gen" will be just a small difference and will have hardware that is outdated even today and not just in 2014. otherwise the price would be unbearable for console masses which are ppl who MOSTLY dont have money in the first place. If somebody has money he gets a powerful gaming rig.THere is absolute no reason to even own a console if he is not interested in the 3 o 4 good exclusives which would be much better on the PC in the first place for ppl with money. I rellay wish next gen consoles would take a big leap but it just wont happen. We can expect a small increase similar to the WII U witch 4-5 years old outdated cheap hardware otherwise the price would be unbearable for Joe Average (which is the target group for consoles). And another gen wont happen. consoles are already dead. online infrastrucuture and stuff like ONLIVE etc will take over in a few years.They simply wont produce hardware when most of the ppl can get a maxed out HW PC version of a game on some 5 dollar box