Mark Rein talks about the games industry

Written by Brett Thomas

July 13, 2006 | 16:39

Tags: #brighton #conference #developers #industry #mark #market #rein #vp

Companies: #epic #games #intel

Mark Rein is a name we've seen many times before, particularly since he's VP of Epic Games.

With a position like that, he's sure to know a lot about the gaming industry. He took some time earlier this week to share those thoughts with other developers at a convention in Brighton, and had some interesting things to say.

Episodic Content:
Rein had a lot to say about episodic content, but much of it revolved around what a terrible idea it is for the gaming industry as a whole. He cautioned of fans developing a 'franchise fatigue,' where even timely released content could feel long and grinding because the player cannot progress through the game at his or her own pace. If the content moved from producer to consumer too slowly, the gamers would grow disinterested, and too quickly the game would begin to feel too 'recycled.'

Overall, Mr. Rein stressed staying with the more 'blockbuster' style releases of a finished product. If a developer felt it had to do episodes, Mark said that chunks feeling like full-fledged sequels would be the next safest bet (a la Half Life 2: Episode 1). "Gamers want rich experiences," he said. "We are cool already so why must the game business continually feel the need to emulate other mediums?"

On Integrated Graphics:
He pointed out that many games are simply too much for integrated graphics to handle; but that, at the same time, too cheap for computer manufacturers to avoid. This means that your average purchaser of a pre-built system will often not get the components they need to play today's games, but also not have the expertise (or, depending on the hardware, even the ability) to upgrade.

This is a lose/lose for the gamer and game makers, as it's cheaper to just not buy games than to buy a whole new computer to then spend money on games. If faced with that decision, Mark thinks that an average consumer will just go buy the Xbox 360 or PS3 to play the games, and PC gaming could wash up all together. This point was further spelled out as he warned of an industry left "at the whim of Sony and Microsoft."

"If Intel exited the gaming market we would all be better off," he said.

Some heavy thoughts from one of the industry's leading men...but with so many companies championing episodic content and NVIDIA and ATI joining in on motherboard-integrated graphics, is the industry heading down the right path? What do you think on the situation? Let us know your thoughts in our forums.
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