Epic Games boss reckons the iPad is the future of consoles. Agree?

What do you want from the next generation of consoles? Pixar-quality graphics? Ultra-capacity Blu-ray as standard? Immense game worlds with procedurally-generated everything, to create a sense of lifelike interaction like never before? Or how about a beefed-up tablet computer that'll make you look like a twat in the pub for the few brief moments it survives before being smashed, covered in booze, or converted it into heroin by the local scallies via the transformative medium of theft?

Epic's Mark Rein is swinging towards the latter. Check out his arguments, then tell me what you think.

Speaking to Develop, the Vice-President of Epic Games detailed his vision of a new set of consoles unrestrained by the need to be connected to a TV:

“Imagine a future Xbox 360 that is actually a tablet you carry around. It will have more power than 360 does today, with technology like Kinect built right in.

"Imagine walking into a bar with some friends, propping it up on the table and playing games like Dance Central or Kinect Adventures anywhere you go. Then when you get home that same device will use technology like AirPlay or wireless HDMI to connect to your big screen, you’ll pick up a wireless controller, or use your phone as controller to play games like Gears of War."*

“A lot of gaming is going mobile and I believe that console-style gaming is going there as well,” he goes on.

“It feels like there’s a great opportunity for game consoles to cease to be something you plug into the wall and rather become something you take with you. Of course it will be more than just your game console; you can have your productivity apps, your documents, and your media collections on it as well.”

So like an iPad then. That Apple thing that runs iOS. That Apple operating system that Epic have recently got their Unreal Engine 3 running on, as revealed at a big Apple event in London. Introduced by Steve Jobs. I see no coincidences here.

I get that Epic wants to expand into the exponentially growing mobile gaming market. And no-one was more impressed than me by their Epic Citadel demo. But come on guys, I don't even take my iPhone out of my pocket in a pub without an armed guard. There's no way in hell I'd whip out my main console, balance it precariously against a dirty pint glass on a soggy table, and then start squinting at its in-built screen in an effort to play something I can enjoy in much greater comfort at home. With more space. In surround sound. Without looking like an anti-social loser/irritating poser, while getting in the way of the bar queue. That shit's just uncivilised.

I'm really into mobile gaming these days. And I'm really, really excited to see what Epic can pull off when it turns Epic Citadel into a full-fat game. But portable gaming and home gaming are two different cultures, with very different design needs. The PSP's greatest problem has always been its failure to recognise that. I don't want the eventual next set of 'big' consoles hampered by the same issue. But what do you reckon? Is everything merging into one quite happily these days? Or do you still want distinct machines for distinct purposes?

*No. Just no.


iPad Mobile


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  • ringslinger - October 7, 2010 11:02 p.m.

    David, I'm not sure if it's that you didn't pay attention to what Mark was saying or it's just easier to write a negative piece but for the sake of argument let's parse the quote. magine walking into a bar with some friends, propping it up on the table and playing games like Dance Central or Kinect Adventures anywhere you go. Then when you get home that same device will use technology like AirPlay or wireless HDMI to connect to your big screen, you’ll pick up a wireless controller, or use your phone as controller to play games like Gears of War."* He's not talking about "mobile" gaming as you have it now, but rather a true portable console in your pocket or bag. I suppose it's easy to just latch on to the bar analogy but there are a lot of settings where having a powerful computer with a built in screen and motion tech could be fantastic. Not that playing in a bar is a horrible prospect. Think about travel? Going to visit Grandma for the weekend? You don't have to lug your giant 360 or Xbox (and it's massive power supply). Grab your tablet and a controller and go. Oh and hey it's got a couple of movies, some TV shows, my music library, and some nice apps to keep me busy. Don't want to play on a small 10 inch screen. Beam that over to the TV and off you go. Sounds pretty nice to me. Maybe this would help bring back some actual face to face gaming parties back. I don't have to lug 30 pounds of tech over to my pals house. My tablet, controller and possibly a monitor. Bam! Instant fragfest. In a few years, we'll have portable tech that's as powerful as the consoles we have at home. The possibilities are wide open, but as long as people keep their minds closed to any other experience than the one they are accustomed to. To me it's funny. Games journalists and "teh" Hardcore are always bitching about having new experiences. Right until someone offers them one.
  • Nuglord - October 6, 2010 6:18 a.m.

    This clearly won't happen. If tablets are powerful, consoles will always have twice as much power. Not only that, but when capacity for game content increases, it will mean longer games that you don't want to sit around playing on your crappy tablet in some pub with your bros, it'll be something you end up playing while sitting at home. Who would want to play a game in a noisy place like a bar anyway?
  • TheWerebear - October 5, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    This man has quite possibly made the most idiotic prediction I have ever heard, hands down, about anything. I could go on and on about how much I despise Apple and their bullshit "aesthetic before functionality" products but I'll just say that I read all of the comments made before me and I agree 100% with everybody opposing this sentiment on all points. Smaller/portable is never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever better, only more convenient.
  • GrandMoffBubbles - October 5, 2010 8:21 p.m.

    So instead of throwing my controller across the room when I get aggravated, I will be able to throw my console across the room.
  • TruckThunders - October 5, 2010 3:50 a.m.

    If only I had the Power of Antista to play a Rorschach "No" soundclip in this comment.
  • gibsonend - October 5, 2010 12:06 a.m.

    I'd love to take my gaming console/ipad device anywhere I went...about as much as I'd love a broken glass and sand enema! I think I'll stick to my HDTV, surround sound, and swilling pints with my friends while playing games at home! This guy's an idiot. Suspenders are RAD by the way...!
  • DavidMacphail - October 4, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    What a stupid idea, we already have consoles that work without TV's. They're known as the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP and they're both a heck of a lot better than the retarded iPhone/iPad. The iPad is not the future of gaming, in fact the iPad doesn't even COUNT as gaming. 10 years from now the main consoles will still be in our homes, connected to our TV's and the handheld consoles will still be handheld, the iPad will still be gay.
  • Dondada - October 4, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    When did suspenders go out of style? How else are my pants going to stay on?
  • D0CCON - October 4, 2010 9:36 p.m.

    Being the future of handhelds is more likely and I REALLY, REALLY do not want that to happen either. Screw Apple and its overpriced Icrap. Why does the Ipad even need to exist? It's the exact same as an Ipod touch but bigger. I'd take a 3DS any day over an Ishit and a 360/PS3 WAY more than an Ijunk. People said it was too hard to get controllers to do FPSes right when you only had two thumbsticks to work with. Now try playing an FPS with one finger while your other hand holds up the Ipad.
  • ultimatepunchrod - October 4, 2010 9 p.m.

    yeah. no. i want my console at home. ill buy a 3DS, iphone, and PSP2 for portable gaming in the future. if this is the future then im not sure if ill be a part of it.
  • DreamWeaverPL - October 4, 2010 8:40 p.m.

    I had a damn good day until i've read this piece of EPIC BOLLOCKS. The difference between iPad games and portable console games is... Well, just like between Minesweeper and Bioshock. If epic wants to make graphically overhauled minesweepers, well... Fuck them. Just saying.
  • Strangleme - October 4, 2010 8:40 p.m.

    HELL FUCKIN' NO!!! I don't want this future!!
  • thekeith82 - October 4, 2010 6:33 p.m.

    Has being able to carry your video library around with you killed dvd/blu-ray? What about television? Nope, pretty sure TV is stil more popular at home on an actual TV than on a tiny screen in the pub. If anything this guy is saying was true, netbooks would already have done what he is claiming the ipad will. File under pointless hyperbole and be done with it.
  • AnonymouZ - October 4, 2010 5:22 p.m.

    not so sure. as far as i know appleheads like to jailbreak their stuff so they can get stuff for free. so, in a way, they'd be doing a disservice to themselves... unless they just wanted to give away games for free as advertisement. as for ever more regular dudes who got their ipads and itouchs, and don't know anything about jailbreaking, i doubt they'd be interested in vidjagaims on their stuff. nuff said.
  • Waldo - October 4, 2010 5:15 p.m.

    I have managed to resist the urge to whack it despite how portable my dick is, just like how I've resisted the urge to do some portable gaming while out on the town. It's just rude. Don't most people go out for a reason, like watching a sporting event, catching up with friends or trying to get laid? I can't imagine ever whipping out my hand-held and playing with it at a bar. The guy from Epic sounds like he's trying to sell his stuff.
  • ThePigHostage - October 4, 2010 5:07 p.m.

    Please no.
  • TURbo - October 4, 2010 4:27 p.m.

    I wouldn't mind if the tablet supported the 360 or PS3 wireless controller, and you use the tablet as a screen.
  • blynd_cyte - October 4, 2010 4:09 p.m.

    This would be a mistake somewhere beyond the realm of EPIC FAIL (Pun intended? You decide...). The size a portable system would have to be to sustain console-like performance would make the device grossly impractical. The PSP and DS are already pushing the edge of portability and an iPad-type gaming system would be a joke - think PSP Go but bigger (not only in size, but in the blunder department as well). I don't think a touch screen (only) interface will ever be as immersive as buttons and sticks either. If you want to make a good console, do it. If you want to make a good portable, go for it. But don't mix the two together. Not yet at least. I think we're still close to a decade away from seeing a portable that plays console-quality games without any compromises. And if you did somehow manage to develop one now, it would have terrible battery life and be so overpriced, nobody would buy it. I think 3D is the way to go with portables. Its a good way of compensating for the limited screen size and, frankly, its a 'good gimmick'. Nintendo is doing it now so its only a matter of time before Sony makes it better. One has to wonder why Microsoft hasn't thrown their hat into the portable ring yet. I would bet that fewer than 3% of gamers would NOT want to play a go-anywhere version of Halo. But there's an even smaller market for a 'PSP Go 2' and maybe Microsoft doesn't want to take that risk. This is not the future I want to see in gaming. I welcome advances in portable gaming, but just give me a PSP with 3D, two analogues, two more triggers (its not impossible), an on-board hard drive WITH a UMD drive, and a better battery. Consoles are where they are now because that's where they belong: proudly displayed in my living room next to my television. Its not about gamers being reclusive or antisocial. Video games are meant to be immersive - dark room, big screen, wake-the-neighbors sound system. When you're passionate about video games, you don't just play them, you become them. You are Soap MacTavish scaling a frozen cliff, you are Master Chief single-handedly dismantling the Covenant armada, you are in the cockpit of a $300,000 Subaru screaming through the woods at 120mph. Nothing should take that away from you, much less, the industry that gave it to you in the first place.
  • 510BrotherPanda - October 4, 2010 3:50 p.m.

    If anyone is willing to "prop it up on a table and play it like Kinect with friends", the guy who brought it to the bar in the first place is just asking to have it stolen.

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