Epic wants PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 even more powerful for Unreal Engine 4

epic wants playstation 4 and xbox 720 even more powerful for unreal engine too much

Tim Sweeney’s grand press tour talking up Unreal Engine 4, the next iteration of Epic’s hugely successful software framework for building video games, continued this week. In a blowout feature in Wired, Sweeney showed off the first publicly available images rendered in the Unreal Engine 4 demo reel. Images of fire demon knights and snowy mountain plains show off unprecedented levels of detail for computer generated images that can be manipulated by a player in real time, images every bit as stunning as those seen in early Unreal Engine 3 demos nearly ten years ago.

The Unreal name has always been synonymous with cutting edge PC technology. Unreal wasn’t the best shooter of the late ‘90s by any means, but it looked spectacular. Unreal Engine 4 is intended for PCs as well, but it’s also the technology that’s pegged to be an essential foundation for games on Sony and Microsoft’s new machines. Sweeney told Gamasutra earlier this month that the engine is explicitly built in mind for “unannounced platforms.” What’s revealing about his discussion with Wired is that Epic is actually pushing Sony and Microsoft to make the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 more powerful than they are at this stage of development.

“We’re much more in sync with the console makers than any other developer is. That means we can give detailed recommendations with a complete understanding of what is going to be commercially possible,” said Sweeney. Epic is on a mission to get Microsoft and Sony to make Durango and Orbis aggressively powerful machines.

This was apparently part of the reason it debuted the Unreal Engine 3 demo “Samaritan,” pictured above, at the Game Developers Conference in 2011. This was an example of the current technology being used to make games that PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 couldn’t accommodate. “We used it as an opportunity to make a point to developers. We want 10 times more power; here’s what we can do with it.”

The ubiquity of Epic’s technology should leave Sony, Microsoft, and even Nintendo beholden to the company’s desires, at least to some extent, but given how swiftly the distribution of video games is changing, hardware may not need to be beefed up to much to accommodate Unreal Engine 4-based games. If Orbis and Durango offer streaming services akin to OnLive, then the issue of horsepower would be rendered moot. Super powerful PCs hosting the games would only need to handle the tech, not Sony or Microsoft’s machines. That would severely limit the technology’s reach though. Not everyone plays games connected to the Internet after all.

Game technology is at a crossroads with myriad paths leading into the future. If Epic pushes the envelop too hard, it may find its new engine a flagging heir to the mighty Unreal Engine 3.

 

Gaming

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.
Gaming

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.
Gaming

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Gaming

Xbox One S vs. PlayStation 4 Slim: Which console is worth your money?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Bright ‘hyperactive’ comet should be visible in the sky this weekend

An unusual green comet, 46P/Wirtanen, will be visible in the night sky this month as it makes its closest approach to Earth in 20 years. It may even be possible to see the comet without a telescope.
Emerging Tech

Gorgeous images show storms and cloud formations in the atmosphere of Jupiter

NASA's Juno mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016 and has been collecting data since then. NASA has shared an update on the progress of the mission as it reaches its halfway point, releasing stunning images of the planet as seen from orbit.
Emerging Tech

Beautiful image of young planets sheds new light on planet formation

Researchers examining protoplanetary disks -- the belts of dust that eventually form planets -- have shared fascinating images of the planets from their survey, showing the various stages of planet formation.
Emerging Tech

Delivery robot goes up in flames while out and about in California

A small meal-delivery robot suddenly caught fire in Berkeley, California, on Friday. The blaze was quickly tackled and no one was hurt, but the incident is nevertheless a troubling one for the fledgling robot delivery industry.
Emerging Tech

High-tech dancing robot turns out to be a guy in a costume

A Russian TV audience was impressed recently by an adult-sized "robot" that could dance and talk. But when some people began pointing out that its actions were a bit odd, the truth emerged ... it was a fella in a robot suit.
Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.
Emerging Tech

MIT’s smart capsule could be used to release drugs in response to a fever

Researchers have developed a 3D-printed capsule which can monitor patients' vital signs, transmit this information to a connected device, and release drugs in response to symptoms.