Epic and Crytek Expect Xbox 720, PS4 in 2012; WildTangent CEO Declares Consoles Dead

By Chris Faylor, Aug 19, 2008 10:03am PDT While technology developers such as Epic Games and Crytek believe the next generation of consoles will appear in 2012, WildTangent CEO Alex St. John believes that the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii represent "the last generation of consoles."

"There's not going to be an Xbox 720 or a PS4, I'll make that bet, not going to happen," St. John told UK newspaper Telegraph. "The era of consoles defined by graphics and high-production values is over."

He explained that consoles are a "game-disabling experience" designed "to prevent you [from] playing games you didn't pay for," a technique he believes is rendered obsolete by games that require players to be online, such as Blizzard's World of Warcraft (PC).

"The principal reason that Sony and Microsoft get a cut of everybody's games is because they prevent piracy," he said. "This allows the publishers to invest more money in a game because they can be confident that it won't get stolen and will have to be paid for at a premium."

As for the Wii and its incredibly popular interface, St. John likened the Wii's focus on a motion controls to the peripheral-centric arcade games that signaled the arcade's demise. "The only arcade machines you can find left today are ones based on big input controllers which are expensive to put into the home: dance pads, steering wheels, guns," he reasoned.

In addition to massively multiplayer games, the WildTangent CEO thinks that the online distribution of PC games, such as Valve's Steam and WildTangent's upcoming Orb storefront, represents the industry's future.

"I'm the guy who talked Microsoft into the console business in the first place," boasted St. John, who helped craft Microsoft's game-focused DirectX initiative. "I made several observations about the console business and why it would be strategic for Microsoft at that time. What's interesting is that the assumptions that got Microsoft into the game business are also reasons why I think consoles may be at an end."

Meanwhile, Crysis and Far Cry creator Crytek, which is increasing its focus on consoles and moving away from PC-exclusive projects, thinks the next generation of consoles will arrive alongside its new engine in 2012.

That time will also be marked by "renaissance of graphics programming," Crytek CEO Caveat Yerli said during a recent keynote. He also promised that the new CryENGINE will produce graphics three to five times better than Crysis, according to 1UP.

Gears of War and Unreal Tournament developer Epic Games likewise estimates that the next generation of consoles will hit in 2012, the same timeframe projected for its console-focused Unreal Engine 4.

"Version 4 [of Unreal Engine] will exclusively target the next console generation," Epic founder Tim Sweeney said earlier this year. "Microsoft's successor for the Xbox 360, Sony's successor for the Playstation 3--and if Nintendo ships a machine with similar hardware specs, then that also...PCs will follow after that."

However, St. John is not without his supporters. Last year, former EA VP and CEO of publisher Trion World Network Lars Buttler prophecized that "the console are numbered" with "one more generation of gaming consoles and that is it."

Since then, Trion has become a licensed PlayStation 3 publisher.

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Comments

39 Threads | 127 Comments


  • I couldn't read beyond the 3rd paragraph where he's completely ignoring the subsidised hardware, standardised hardware, streamlined user experience and coherent services/infrastructure aspect of consoles and saying the only reason companies develop for them and pay MS/Sony/Nintendo royalties is because of anti-piracy measures. LOL. What a fucking idiot.

    I find it odd, though, as I read an interview with him a while ago (the only other one I've read) and he came across okay in that one. Whether that was an off day or this was, I don't know, but I can't read anymore of his bullshit today.









  • In addition to massively multiplayer games, the WildTangent CEO thinks that the online distribution of PC games, such as Valve's Steam and WildTangent's upcoming Orb storefront, represents the industry's future.

    ^-- this sentence is what everyone should pay attention to. "Nobody gives a shit about my company, so I'm going to say that black is white, the sky is green, and consoles drool just to get some attention on my ailing, useless little company for the announcement of our platform that will fail against the already heavily entrenched competition."

    He doesn't believe that "Consoles are dead!" shit anymore than we do. He just wanted your attention so he could make his sales pitch in the guise of editorial.











  • Um...

    Console gaming will always have its place in the world until the day that we all use a completely new visual medium (like virtual reality or something I don't know) to completely replace computer monitors and televisions (or they figure out a way to cram a 60" + monitor onto my computer desk). I want to play games like Madden and Halo on a huge TV, not a 22" computer monitor. I could of course abandon all console gaming and instead hook my computer up to my TV but that isn't what the average consumer is going to do.

    PC gaming will have a place in the world until the day that consoles support and start shipping with a mouse, keyboard, and/or controller combination good enough for complicated MMORPG games... oh and of course there is a large portion of troll-like MMORPG players who I would guess probably despise the idea of playing such games in an open space like a living room.




  • That guy really overestimates the power and vested interests in the console market, but he forgets that consoles will do what any product should do, evolve to what they feel the consumer wants.

    We have already seen the evolution looking at just one branch of the console tree.:

    Genesis/SNES etc: Games Machine.
    PS1: Games Machine + CD Player.
    PS2: Games Machine + CD/DVD Player + Limited Online Functionality
    PS3: Games Machine (now with patches, installs ) + Bluray Player + Media Server + Full Internet Fuctionality. + Downloadable media.

    The box under our TVs has already changed way past what we considered a console in 1990. I dont know what tricks a PS4 will pack into it but if that dude suggests people will want PC-like openess, maybe thats where they will go.

  • While I rather doubt consoles are going away ever, I do agree with his point about the primary reason consoles are getting so much industry support is anti-piracy. There's little technological advantage to a fixed platform like a console, but it's very easy to sell a CEO on the fact they can make a lot more money in the relatively piracy-free console space. With games as expensive as they are to produce I really can't blame developers running to the console to protect their investment.

    The death of the PC platform will be the day we get a console-based MMO that's as popular as WoW is currently. MMO is probably the only thing really keeping developers in the PC gaming space at all.











  • [ [ WildTangent CEO Alex St. John believes that the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii]
    =
    ["the last generation of consoles." ] ]
    =
    [ "The era of consoles defined by graphics and high-production"]

    ERROR

    [Rev 2] START;

    [ [ WildTangent CEO Alex St. John believes that the Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3]
    =
    ["the last generation of consoles." ] ]
    =
    [ "The era of consoles defined by graphics and high-production"]

    AND

    [ [ WildTangent CEO Alex St. John believes that the PS2, Xbox and Wii]
    =
    ["the last last generation of consoles." ] ]