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Unity predicts "diminishing returns" for mobile gaming tech

Next console generation will be the last, tools and workflows key to future progress

Unity Technologies co-founders David Helgason and Nicholas Francis believe that improvements in mobile hardware will soon yield diminishing returns for games.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz at Unite 11, Francis, the company's CCO, agreed that mobile technology is approaching the power of the current generation of consoles, but questioned how useful that will be for games.

"If Sony and Microsoft did the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720, they would completely blow mobiles out of the water, and that's good if you want to make those big experiences," said Francis.

"But having something that's much more powerful than an Xbox in my cell-phone? What am I going to do with that? It's a small screen, I'm playing on the bus, everything is shaking, there's light coming in."

"With mobile, I can see a point in making them two or four times as powerful, but after that it's diminishing returns."

Francis also predicted that consoles will survive for one more generation, "and then that will be it."

This will place more emphasis on improving tools: making them more efficient for established developers, and more accessible to aspiring talent.

What doesn't go away is the need for great workflows - the ability to put in a lot of complex content into scenes," added Unity CEO David Helgason. "That may run out at some point, but we can think of so many ways we can improve that experience."

"We have already made it possible for like 10 times more people to approach game tools than before, and there's probably another 10 times more."

To read more of our interview with Francis and Helgason, along with a full exploration of Unity Technologies' current plans, visit the features section.

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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.