'PC retail space is a complete mess' — Mark Rein
Outspoken Epic Games VP Mark Rein has launched a scathing attack on the representation of PC games at US retail — but believes a "renaissance" of the sector is coming thanks to Microsoft's Games For Windows branding initiative and the arrival of Vis
Outspoken Epic Games VP Mark Rein has launched a scathing attack on the representation of PC games at US retail - but believes a "renaissance" of the sector is coming thanks to Microsoft's Games For Windows branding initiative and the arrival of its Vista operating system.
Speaking exclusively to our sister site Eurogamer TV in an interview now showing, Rein bemoaned the difficulties facing PC gaming, which he believes has received terrible support from US retail.
And he argues that this problem is compounded by the advent of Intel integrated graphics in consumer laptops, incapable of playing the latest games -a topic on which he recently attacked the technology giant over, accusing it of "killing" the PC games market.
But Rein was full of praise for Microsoft, backing the Redmond giant to effect a turnaround in the platform's fortunes thanks to the heavy investment it is making in it.
"I really like that Microsoft's going to help brand Games for Windows, help push that and help clean up the retail space which is just a complete mess here in North America," said Rein. "It's really sad how little facings PC gaming is getting - so I think that there will be a renaissance of PC gaming."
On the difference new Windows OS Vista will make to the gaming experience, he added: "We'll get a really nice performance boost and get closer to the theoretical limits of the hardware, in much the same way that when you build a console you're much closer to the iron than you are normally on a Windows system. That difference is slowly melting away with Vista so we absolutely applaud that."
Returning to the Intel issue, Rein reiterated the dangers he believes its "well below the minimum bar" integrated solution represents in turning consumers off PC gaming:
"The problem is it's very hard to take a game that's designed for PS3 and Xbox 360 - where the big money is now - and make it run on a graphics card that isn't capable of rendering even what a third of what those things do," he explained.
"We need a larger market to sell to. A lot of this is educating users and educating the manufacturers to build systems that are a little more balanced," he continued.
"Intel integrated graphics are well below the minimum bar if you're going to play next-generation games. When you take a laptop and put in Intel integrated, there's no taking it out and putting something else in. The person who relies on that computer for the next two years is out of gaming, we've lost them as a customer. And that's inexcusable."
The full, exclusive video interview with Mark Rein is now showing on Eurogamer TV.