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Interview: Crytek Cevat Yerli Talks Nvidia Shield

One of the benchmarks in the video game industry, in terms of sheer processing power, is Crytek’s Crysis 3. Nvidia used that benchmark during its GDC 2015 Nvidia Shield press conference by showcasing a live demo of Crysis 3 streaming over its Grid subscription service. Crytek founder and CEO Cevat Yerli was on stage during the demo, and he’s been working with the Nvidia Shield for a few months. He explains what the new gaming device opens up for developers in this exclusive interview.

What are your thoughts on how quickly mobile gaming is accelerating?

Mobile has been growing over the last eight years now through different types of device incarnations. Mobile is a big deal today, and now with Tegra TX1 we’re seeing real games heading to mobile devices now. 

What are your thoughts about the new Tegra X1 technology and what that opens up for games like Crysis 3?

The TX1 is like a mobile super computer. We were able to prove it out by actually porting one of our most demanding PC titles over and running it on an X1 chip. Playing Crysis 3 on it, we were astonished how powerful that chip is and what it can do today already. We look forward to the next iterations of it. It’s going to be a great future for SOC (system on chip) devices, whether it is a console or mobile.

Gamers are very familiar with Crysis 3, but from a development standpoint how taxing is that title for hardware?

When the original Crysis came out you needed to have a $2,000 or $3,000 PC to play it. And then with Crysis 2 we pushed it again, and Crysis 3 has been pushing the boundaries again on high end PC space. The most recent Crysis now that we have internally have is actually based on the latest engine, which is even more advanced than what we shipped almost two years ago. We took that version of Crysis 3 and remastered it. It took us some effort. But once we got it running, we were astonished how much hardware technology, computational power was on the SOC space. SOC has actually evolved so far that we have our engine running on it and Crysis 3 is playable on it.

What are your thoughts about the Nvidia Shield device itself and what impact it will have in the video game ecosystem?

It’s a great positioning to have an SOC Android TV-based console. It’s a new thing for gamers. Android has been great for playing games on mobile or tablets, but actually entering the console space is a big step forward. It has the potential to unify the device as well, and unify the development for new generation developers. It actually validates the fact that this device is able to play real games now. Hopefully, we’re showing people that mobile isn’t just for Angry Birds. Console gamers are used to playing these big productions like Halo or Call of Duty or Crysis and those games are actually really taxing on the hardware. You can’t play them on a mobile phone, but in the future with an X1, you actually might be able to play them. The Shield console is a big step forward for the industry. Streaming games is another area that’s been in development for the last five years now, but I think Nvidia has offered the most complete and realistic solution so far.

What does the Nvidia Shield TV audience open up for your company?

What it means that not just for Crytek as a high-end developer, but also now independent developers can reach tens of hundreds of millions of users going forward on a high-end platform. The way we approach game development is aimed at the mass audience. Now we’ll see the time it takes for indie developers to reach Crytek’s quality level decrease and have more options to reach gamers through Android TV, VR, PC and consoles. And eventually mobile, so they’ll be everywhere.

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