Integrated graphics solutions could cause a "catastrophic failure" of the market
Epic Games boss Mark Rein has launched a broadside against top technology firm Intel, accusing the company of "killing" the PC games industry by promoting integrated graphics chips which cannot play modern games.
Speaking at the Develop conference in Brighton yesterday, Rein pointed out that most laptops, and many desktop systems, now ship with integrated graphics solutions from Intel - or what he described as "their evil, ugly ATI equivalent" - many of which cannot be upgraded after being purchased.
"Integrated graphics cannot compete with the console gaming experience," he told the audience. "If you're going to be out there creating these great next-generation games that kick ass and look wonderful, and help to sell these next-gen systems, you're screwed if your customers have Intel integrated graphics."
"Statistics show that people are moving to laptops in record numbers - laptops, as we know, are generally not upgradeable," he continued. "What I think is happening is that we're actually losing PC gamers in record numbers. People are going out and buying new computers at prices they feel should be fairly reasonable, and they're ending up with computers that make games look horrible."
Rein, whose firm is behind the popular Unreal Engine middleware as well as games including the Unreal series and forthcoming Xbox 360 title Gears of War, believes that part of the problem is that the graphics chip is not a component with which most consumers are familiar - and he accused Intel of "preying" on this ignorance by selling its integrated solutions to uneducated consumers.
"I see the potential for a catastrophic failure in the PC gaming market out of this," he said. "The functionality of these chips is way, way below par, and it skews the development economics. For example, a game like Gears of War - there's just no way we can make that run. We can dumb it down to run on a lower-end 7-series or 6-series NVIDIA GPU; we can dumb it down to run on an ATI X1300, something of that nature - but it just will not scale down to Intel integrated graphics. It's just not possible."
And the outspoken Epic VP's final conclusion on the situation? "If Intel exited the gaming market we would all be better off," he concluded. "This is something that really angers me. This affects everybody in this room that makes PC games - everybody has pretty much given Intel a pass on this!"