Epic Boss Sees a Mobile Future for Consoles

Epic Boss Sees a Mobile Future for Consoles


Don't get too attached to those disk trays and buttons, because Epic Games co-founder and VP Mark Rein thinks that consoles are going to get a pretty significant redesign.

The future of consoles won't necessarily have anything to do with that big screen TV that has pride of place in your lounge. Rein says that future consoles will be smaller, more mobile devices that you can carry with you wherever you go.

Rein described a new console - in his example it was a new Xbox - which was very different from existing designs. This theoretical device was a tablet that had more power than the Xbox 360, and had Kinect technology built in, so you could play games like Kinect Adventures or Dance Central wherever you liked. Once you got the tablet home, it would wirelessly connect to your TV, and you could use a wireless controller, or even a cellphone, to play a new Gears of War game.

"Today the companies making the hardware going inside phones know that games are important," he said. "They are incorporating processors that suit games and are as powerful as a PC or console. We're turning a corner with GPUs and CPUs that support the intensive gameplay functions we need." He said that there was an opportunity for consoles to grow into something more than just games machines, and that they could also contain productivity apps and media collections, becoming a more central part of people's day to day lives.

What Rein is describing doesn't really sound like a console at all, but rather some future iteration of the iPad or similar device. That's not to say that it's a bad idea, but it doesn't seem something that Microsoft or Sony would do instead of making a traditional console. Instead, it seems like a completely different product line that would run parallel to the Xbox or PlayStation.

Source: Develop


A tablet more powerful than a console? Maybe. A tablet more powerful than an up-to-date high end PC? Not a chance...

unlikely, if the future is more mobile then sony and ms better watch out since nintendo is pretty much king of mobile gaming, hes probably just responding to ppl thinking that smart phones can offer real gaming anyway, I mean beyond simple flash type games

Sounds like a good idea, if it could be made affordable.

P.S. When i first saw it i thought he meant the boss was epic, and not the boss of Epic

You'll never find a battery big enough to support handheld game consoles for hardcore gamers anyway, have fun and good luck with your pixies and unicorn farts, Mr Epic Boss.

Yea... this observation is based upon incomplete data. The only reason the graphical arms race has slowed down at all is because one console was designed specifically for a very poorly optimized, very specific engine thats existed for twice as long as the console itself.

As soon as this piddling shit generation ends, hand-helds are going to be left in the dust.

Carmack saw the writing on the wall, so he made RAGE. Epic saw carmack put RAGE on the ipod, so they, as usual, followed suit. Epic is still going to have to make a new engine, as unreal 3 doesn't scale gracefully at all.

Flying car bullshit from a company that doesn't have any sort of capacity for the future.

Epic Boss! That's either the title I want in life, or the end boss I will flee. :)

OT - I am skeptical that we will have pocket sized XBoxes more powerful than the 360 any time soon. I am not a PC gamer so I will leave them to cast their own insults towards this idea. See above.

I am not saying that technology isn't evolving fast enough to do it, I just don't think the desire is there. Portable gaming is to pass the time when you are standing in line at the MTO/DMV and you can get in a few rounds of fight night 3 for your PSP.

For real gaming I want my big screen... for co-op gaming I want to sit on a buddies couch and play on their big screen.

To be truly portable the screen will not be big enough to sell me on it. Ipad sized screen you say... ok... doesn't fit in my human sized pockets I say.

Last snipe... will this new super small console have a storage cubby for all my Rock Band instruments?

I agree with the "differant product line" analysis, if it's even something that would garner interest.

Right now we have tons of differant groups out there all invested in differant kinds of technology and all of them want their technology of choice, that is going to make them fortunes, to be the one that succeeds. Part of succeeding today is oddly to convince people that your product is the future, so they will create a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Differant developers looking at billion dollar markets like gaming, of course go to groups like game designers that they feel are influential to the target consumers to "pimp" specific developments that they want. I think a lot of people are savvy enough nowadays to realize that just because a game company, or big developer, speaks on behalf of a given product or innovation, doesn't mean much in of itself other than someone likely paid them for the endorsement specifically so we'd hear about it in connection to them.

One of the key elements that needs to be looked at with these products is of course how the people who would be in control of producing and selling those products plan to make money off of it. With anything that is "mobile" or "online" the answer isn't typically that it's through the product itself (though that will be pricy) but through support and services attached to it. The gimmick behind things like multi-purpose cell phones replacing handhelds, or anything that you could take with you, is not so much that it's a wonderful thing for gamers, but the fact that they can sell consumers expensive plans and service agreements to pay to keep those devices running. There was actually a time when people literally paid by the minute to play games online, and some of those games are quite pathetic by today's standards. To many the idea of mobile gaming, or interconnected "on the go" gaming devices are a way to hopefully return us to those days. People are dumb enough to pay by the minute to use their cell phones, so with the mainstream being involved maybe we're dumb enough to pay by the minute to play video games as well.

I can virtually guarantee that the gimmicks behind this kind of technology are going to be entirely service related, even if not as transparent as what a lot of the cell phone companies want.

Being a veteran cynic, nobody is going to sell me on any of these innovations unless they can explain to me how they plan to provide it at an affordable price. By this I mean affordable to me, the average consumer, not what some company things is "a wonderful deal for what you get". How much is the service? How often would you expect me to pay (yearly, monthly, by the hour, by the minute?). Those are the key questions above and beyond any technological wonder nowadays because there is no point in getting excited by someone's glorified money grab when it's really not worthwhile from your perspective as a consumer. I do not think playing a was ever worth a by-the-minute fee, or ever will be.

Heck, I still remember reading ads in "Dragon Magazine" where people were running phone-adventure 1-900 numbers where for like $5 a minute you could do a "choose your own adventure" thing via phone. People view us nerds as financial prey, and more vulnerable prey than other kinds of consumers it seems. Keep that in mind and don't trust anyone, especially a fellow nerd in business (unless of course it's me, you can trust me implicitly). :P

I dont want to use my cellphone as a controller or console. I want my cellphone to be a fucking PHONE. I like where the consoles/controllers are now.

Ummm no, you sir are wrong. A hand-held and a full size console will never become one because that is expensive and stupid. Why make one device when an interface between 2 will suffice. besides, who actually like the controls on hand-held consoles / phones?

I don't think he's thinking of what we're thinking of when he says console.
This also goes back to downloadable games discussion. It's not an idea I'm opposed to but I'm not paying $60 for any game I'm downloading.

Overall, this tablet idea sounds fun: except the part about playing Gears using a phone for a controller. That sounds painful.

Someone didn't pay attention to the demographic charts.

Im all for it. Something on the line of what Ben Heck does would be great. If its even smaller? Spectacular ^-^

As much as something like this could be possible by the next console generation I just don't see it happening. The expense of making smaller motherboards and the alike is rather high. A Droid phone without a 2-year service agreement runs something like 600$. Making a console that is actually next gen in the format he's talking about would probly run for 1000+ dollars. That would make for a pretty small install base customer wise. Other factors like battery life, weight, and still needing a REAL controller to play most games would make it a clunky at best counterpart to actual handhelds in terms of playing anywhere. While the next gen consoles are likely to see more applications and abilities added to them I just don't see something like a 'xPad 720' anywhere on the horizon.

So he thinks in the future, consoles will be more like iCraps? No, those will just be iCraps, we'll still have consoles to play real games on instead of iCrap Tetris and iCrap watered down spinoff of a franchise that most people would pretend doesn't exist, much like the Zelda CDi games.

You'll never find a battery big enough to support handheld game consoles for hardcore gamers anyway, have fun and good luck with your pixies and unicorn farts, Mr Epic Boss.

Not to mention the monitor size, playing any game on consoles on a phone would be soo annoying and it would look really bad, it would be like 800 x 600.


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