Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games, had an interview with TG Daily about the game industry. One of the more surprising things he said is that PCs are good for anything, just not games.
TG Daily: But we mostly talk about conventional retail sales. Do you see an increasing divide between the Pc and consoles?
Sweeney: Retail stores like Best Buy are selling PC games and PCs with integrated graphics at the same time and they are not talking about the difference [to more capable gaming PCs]. Those machines are good for e-mail, web browsing, watching video. But as far as games go, those machines are just not adequate. It is no surprise that retail PC sales suffer from that. Online is different, because people who go and buy games online already have PCs that can play games. The biggest problem in this space right now is that you cannot go and design a game for a high end PC and downscale it to mainstream PCs. The performance difference between high-end and low-end PC is something like 100x.
TG Daily: In other words: Too big?
Sweeney: Yes, that is huge difference. 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 320x200 was good for software rendering and we were able to scale that up to 1024x768, 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.
TG Daily: Broken down, that means today’s mainstream PCs aren’t suitable for gaming?
Sweeney: Exactly. PCs are good for anything, just not games.