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Games will be "indistinguishable from reality" in 10 years, says ILM

Industrial Light & Magic predicts the end point for gaming's journey across the uncanny valley

The market leading visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic believes that video games will cross the uncanny valley within 10 years.

In an interview with CVG, ILM visual effects supervisor Kim Libreri discussed the cinematic aspirations of LucasArts' new project, Star Wars 1313. However, while the game's visual fidelity impressed the crowds at E3, Libreri claims it points to far greater achievements in the near future.

"The way its going, it's gonna be pretty hard to tell the difference between something that is interactive and rendered in real-time, and something that was done for an animated TV show, or even a live action thing," he said.

"Ten years from now, I'm pretty sure, if you extrapolate where we've gone with the console generations and the changes in video and ATI hardware... We're getting to the point right now [with real-time rendered graphics] where we're matching the quality of an animated movie seven or eight years ago, and another ten years from now, it's just going to be indistinguishable from reality."

In an interview with GamesIndustry International last week, 2K Games' Christoph Hartmann described the importance of games achieving photo-realism, specifically the ability to render believable human facial expressions.

"Until games are photo-realistic, it'll be very hard to open up to new genres. We can really only focus on action and shooter titles; those are suitable for consoles now," he said.

"To dramatically change the industry to where we can insert a whole range of emotions, I feel it will only happen when we reach the point that games are photo-realistic; then we will have reached an endpoint and that might be the final console."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.