Ultra high-end graphics are "a terrible mistake"

Written by Tim Smalley

March 11, 2008 // 10:02 a.m.

Tags: #3-way #crossfire #crossfirex #gpus #high-end #industry #integrated #intel #low-end #mainstream #pc-gaming #quad #sli #sweeney #tim #ultra

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney has spoken out about the state of PC gaming and how the hardware industry is sending out the wrong message to gamers. He believes that a lot of things need to change in order to improve the PC's potential as a gaming platform.

When asked about ultra high-end solutions for "gamers" with unlimited budgets—including 3-way SLI and CrossFireX—Sweeney admitted that it was a bad move for the industry.

"That was a terrible mistake," he said. "Marketing people believe that there are a small number of people who are gamers and who can afford to spend a good amount of money on buying high-end hardware."

He claimed that the push towards extravagant high-end products was leaving the masses behind. "The biggest problem in this space right now is that you cannot go and design a game for a high-end PC and downscale it to mainstream PCs," said Sweeney. "The performance difference between high-end and low-end PCs is something like 100x."

He went onto explain that this difference was too big. "If we go back 10 years ago, the difference between the high-end and the lowest-end may have been a factor of 10. We could have scaled games between those two."

In what is undoubtedly going to be a setback for PC gaming, the Unreal Engine creator said that "PCs are good for anything, just not games."

Ouch.

"PC gaming is in a weird position right now," said Sweeney when asked about the future of the platform. "60 percent of PCs on the market don't have a workable graphics processor at all. All the Intel integrated graphics are still incapable of running any modern games. So you really have to buy a PC knowing that you're going to play games in order to avoid being stuck with integrated graphics. This in unfortunate, and this is one of the main reasons behind the decline of the PC as a gaming platform. . . . In the past, if you bought a game, it would at least work. It might not have been a great experience, but it would always work."

And if that wasn't enough, he rubbed even more salt into Intel's wounds by saying that "I don't think [Intel's integrated graphics] will ever work."

You can see the rest of the interview here – it's full of juicy quotes and is definitely worth a read. It's an interesting perspective, and I don't think he's too far from the truth because, in many respects, we feel same way about the hardware industry's direction. Something has to change, guys, and it has to change for the better.

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