Epic Games Co-Founder Talks The Future Of The Games Industry

Mark-Rein-Epic-Games-QA

At a recent Q&A session that took place back at GameStop Expo 2013, Mark Rein of Epic Games took part in a discussion panel focused on the future of the gaming industry. The panel featured himself, Jared Gerritzen (studio director, Zombie Studios), and Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman. Rein being one of the more informed panelists when it comes to future technology due to his work with the Unreal Engine 4.

When posed the question about how content will be delivered in future ie. digital vs physical Rein had a poignant argument of why the disc isn’t going away anytime soon,

“I have Time Warner Cable, and I think I have a 30GB cap or limit. I don’t know that I’ve ever reached it because I buy games on disc. I do buy digital games as well, the problem is when we get to next generation and both consoles have Blu-Ray disc drives, now the games creep up in size. It’s going to get expensive to download four of those games a month.” Rein continued, “It would really suck if the biggest amount of money in the ecosystem went to Time Warner, Verizon and Charter cable providers. In other words, if they started metering internet service to homes in the United States, we’d be fucked in an all digital future.”

This is a great point that’s not discussed often enough, and one of the major reasons that Microsoft‘s constant internet connection on the now augmented Xbox One was a pipe dream in the current market. Plenty of avid gamers have a great broadband plan, but it’s not above cable providers to start taking advantage of higher data consumption. Comcast has already introduced plans with higher internet speeds, what’s to stop them from capping customers after they’ve become accustomed to using data at a certain rate? For now, the disc protects us from this possible financial exploit.

Rein saw the continued post release support of games to be one of the better uses of digital delivery, at least in the console space. Patches and DLC content were his ideal application of delivering content digitally.

The panel then shifted to what will define the next generation of video games and Rein commented that he believes there’s going to be two defining points that next gen will bring about. Firstly was the sheer graphical upgrade, not to mention more sophisticated AI, open worlds and size of online multiplayer matches. Secondly, and more importantly he talked about accessibility, not only for the gamer, but for the developer.

“There’s also this whole explosion of the independent developer…Xbox and PlayStation 4 are making a big deal about this sort of thing, about giving developers access..This is really powerful and it means that we’ll get experiences that weren’t economical or too crazy for some of the more conventional companies with stockholders to invest in. The rise of the small teams finding avenues to your gaming experience.”

Rein also mentioned web based games, specifically HTML5. Stating that he thinks current gen quality console experiences, in time,  will be possible to deliver directly browsers without plugins.

It seemed like the Epic Games co-founder had a wide perception of what next gen means. Not only in the console space, but in a general sense as well. Not to mention the fact that he admitted he was a graphics whore.

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Dylan Zellmer

Dylan splits time between games journalism, designing video games, and playing them. Outside of his deep involvement in the games industry, he enjoys It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Shameless, A Song of Ice and Fire, fitness, and family.
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