Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Epic Games, believes that his studio's next graphics technology, the Unreal Engine 4, might be ready around 2014, although it's still anybody's guess when trying to determine how powerful next generation platforms like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox 720 might be.
Epic Games is certainly one of the most influential studios in the industry, what with its Unreal Engine 3 powering most major games these days, so you know that lots of developers are now interested in the next generation of the rendering technology, which was showcased with the already famous Samaritan demo earlier this year.
There's quite some time before the Unreal Engine 4 becomes a reality, however, as Sweeney told IGN that even as he and his team are putting in a lot of work, around three more years still need to pass until it's going to be ready.
"I spend about 60 percent of my time every day doing research work that's aimed at our next generation engine and the next generation of consoles," said Sweeney, who estimates we might see the fruits of this work in around 2014."
The Epic Games boss then shared his predictions on two of the biggest areas where video games are going to improve in the next 10 years: movie-quality graphics and improved, almost human-like AI.
"Number one is achieving movie quality graphics and movie quality pixels on the screen, which mean no flicker in the visuals, no popping artifacts, no bulky character outlines on the screen at all. I expect I'll be actively programming at the time we've achieved full movie-quality graphics because that's really just a matter of brute force computing power and clever algorithm."
"The other area is simulation of human aspects of the game experience, simulation of gameplay characters, artificial intelligence, character dialogue and all of these other things which aren't really problems of brute force computing. They require increasingly sophisticated algorithms and simulation of human intelligence. I have no idea when those problems will be solved. I'm quite sure they won't be solved in the next ten years," Sweeney concluded.
While the Unreal Engine 4 may appear in 2014, next generation consoles, like the PlayStation 4 or the new Xbox, are expected to be announced next year, according to various rumors up until now.