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Sweeney: There are too many platforms on the market

DICE 2012: Expect consolidation, but industry's brightest days are yet to come says Epic CEO

There are too many competing computer platforms on the market, with Epic CEO and technical director Tim Sweeney predicting consolidation to three or four winning devices in the technology market.

Speaking at the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, Sweeney said that consumers currently have an abundance of choice with tablets, PC, smartphones, Mac, consoles and new handhelds.

"This is too many platforms. We're seeing now iPad sales have surpassed the sales of PCs. This is a real revelation, this is a product that wasn't invented until a few years ago and its basically supplanting personal computers.

Over time these platforms will be whittled down to a competing set of platforms to maybe three winners worldwide across everything.

Tim Sweeney, Epic Games

"Over time these platforms will be whittled down to a competing set of platforms to maybe three winners worldwide across everything - computers, game platforms, smartphones… We should expect a lot of consolidation here and winners and losers according to who picks the right directions and executes successfully," he said.

Sweeney also pointed to a number of new and emerging technologies as having significant relevance to games in the coming years, including Kinect-like tech for accurate human body inputs, voice recognition such as Apple's Siri, cloud computing and cloud gaming, virtual goods creation and augmented reality.

And although he predicted less hardware devices on the market, he added that the games business has only just scratched the surface of delivering new experiences, and a new generation of developers will be raised to use new, persuasive technology.

"There are a lot of technical challenges. We've barely scratched the surface of the consumer implications, what we can do with an iPad or iPhone today is limited by our experience of our computers and history. When a whole new generation of kids is raised with these devices pervasively around us it's going to lead to entirely new worlds."

"I see a bright future for technology and its implications on games. The ability of game developers to exploit another thousand-fold increase in computing power on future generations of platforms. Some of it will be consoles, some of it PC and some of it tablets. The form factor we can't predict, but the opportunity is there. Our industry's brightest days are yet to come."

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Latest comments (10)

Johnathon Swift9 years ago
"games business has only just scratched the surface of delivering new experiences"

Duh, here's how the rule goes. "If people can tell it from reality, there's still more to do."
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 9 years ago
The more platforms the better. Then when one gets its business model destroyed by piracy the game developers can just switch their resources away to one with a business model that still works. This happens all the time.
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Nick Parker Consultant 9 years ago
Publishers and developers want their games on every device/platform/service where the consumer resides. Tim Sweeney didn't mention all Internet connected devices like smart TVs, Blu-ray players, STBs as well as all the obvious choices. Any connected device will positively impact the proliferation of browser based games and streamed on-demand experiences which should have the added benefit of combatting piracy.

Johnathon, it seems that the core gaming public seek more realistic graphics but most gamers are content to let their imagination take over in animated games which offer similar rewards to tripple A titles. Mario, Sonic, Spyro, Angry Birds even Tomb Raider, Assasins Creed and Uncharted do not need to get to photo realism to enthral and engage gamers.
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Graeme Quantrill Mobile App Developer 9 years ago
"We're seeing now iPad sales have surpassed the sales of PCs. This is a real revelation" - I can't quite believe that total iPad sales have surpassed total PC sales over the past say 10 years. PC sales will be lower as people have PC's and they weren't invented in the last couple of years.

This is not a revelation.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 9 years ago
I'm sorry, but gaming on a tablet is IMHO not good due to bad controls (or all games are the same), as long as it doesn't have real controls it's just a gadget, nothing more.. On screen 'joysticks'/'gamepads' are really awfull.

Also surfing the web (and posting stuff) just sux on a pad, yes surfing alone is handy, but in the end it's still isn't as easy as just using a mouse and keyboard and a big screen..

What I really want to know is, when will the UDK support Android? I know there are unrealengine based games out, so it does already work..

And as Graeme Quantrill says, I also can't believe the iPad has surpassed pc sales, especially since a lot cannot be done on a iPad what can be done on a pc..

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Jakobs on 10th February 2012 5:56pm

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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 9 years ago
Why would they be "whittled down"?

Is there some Technology Overlord who's going to whittle them down?
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so you guys can't believe that ipad sales have surpassed pc sales because "a lot cannot be done on a ipad compared to pc"?...

the ipad and other tablets are computers for the 99%

in addition the stat is that ipads last year sold at higher volume than pc's. this trend will only continue.
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Tin Katavic Studying MSc-Games Technology, University of Abertay Dundee9 years ago
@ Nicholas Parker I agree with you that realism isnt be-all-end-all when it comes to gaming. Sometimes a bit of cartoonishnes makes a game more fun. My favorite example of this is Doom 3. Game looked amazing and yet after one pass-through I never played it again.

@ Michael Kingery Like you I think that tablets can do the work 90% (wouldnt go as high as 99%) of people need to do. And with bluetooth mouse and keyboard the only advantage a PC has is the size of the screen.
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Bryan Robertson Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto9 years ago
Tablet ownership and PC ownership is not mutually exclusive, so if tablets outsell PCs, it doesn't imply that people are ditching their PCs in favour of tablets.

I agree that a lot of people will ditch PCs in favour of tablets, as there is a certain segment of the market whose computing needs can be completely fulfilled by a tablet, but I don't think it's anywhere near 90%.

Some activities are more comfortable on a PC than a tablet. Programming is one, but I'm sure there are other examples that are less of a minority activity.
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Akos Nemes Studying Game Designer, Train2Game9 years ago
Well from my point of view there'll be PC's (for a very long time) to develop for those gadgets what not too technical people uses. My grandma cant even turn the PC on but she goes mad with the tablet so to be honest tablets going to oversell everything until everybody get one and its good. But I cant see app development on a mobile or tablet device (unless the Siri, Kinekt technologies going to be so advanced than I can have a conversation with it about what I want in my software).
Probably we have some mixed emotions about what's happening today in the IT. But that's ok, it will be clearer in the future.
Interesting article!
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