Unreal developer says Intel integrated graphics bad for gaming

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Brighton (UK) - Mark Rein, vice president of Unreal studio Epic, told a packed audience of game developers that Intel's integrated graphics is bad for the gaming industry. The surprising statements were given in a keynote speech titled "Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Next Generation," which kicked off the four-day Developer's Conference.

Rein said integrated graphics is not good enough to play the latest games and that "We would all be better off," if Intel exited the graphics market.

In recent days, an increasing share of Epic's revenue has come from licensing the game engine itself. Epic's bottom line could be hurt if a higher number of systems using integrated graphics cuts into the number of people capable of running those engines. Many current games cannot be played effectively on integrated graphics, one notable example being Bethesda Softworks' Oblivion, which is unplayable even on high-end video cards cards.

Meanwhile, system manufacturers have embraced integrated graphics because it usually can lower the overall cost of a computer. This is important for many consumers, and also for businesses who generally purchase machines in bulk. But while Intel may be the largest maker of integrated graphics components, it certainly isn't the only player in that market. Both ATI and Nvidia have also offered integrated graphics for laptops and motherboards, with Nvidia's share of that market increasing.

In addition to integrated graphics, Rein spoke about how future games could be hurt by the growth of so-called episodic content where a thinned-down game is initially released, with extra levels and content released later either as downloadable expansion packs or boxed sets. He warned that gamers could get "franchise fatigue" as some content inevitably becomes recycled. However, Rein said he believes blockbuster standalone games will generally beat episodic content-based games.