We all know that tablet devices are catching up to consoles in a very big way, but Mark Rein, VP of Epic, believes that a close meeting point in terms of power isn't that far off. Considering the fact that the current gen iPad has more usable RAM than both the PS3 and the 360, he may have a point.
"I think you’ll see games that are more interactive and have lots of little details layered on that weren’t practical given prior performance and memory limitations," said Rein, when asked about the future of next-gen consoles. "I also think you’ll see games able to scale more effectively from mobile devices up to consoles although, in the short term you’re likely to see limited versions of that. For example, the new iPad has 1GB of RAM – that’s more RAM than what’s individually available in Xbox 360 and PS3.
"If that trend, along with better GPUs and CPUs continues, then it will be possible to scale the same game between tablets and consoles. Obviously, the console is going to have a much larger power footprint, so you’ll be able to do the most amazing things there, but tablets and phones will also become pretty incredible within the life cycle of the next-gen consoles."
It's an interesting idea. When next-gen consoles are released I would expect there to be a marked difference in power between consoles and even the most specced-up tablets — but with annual updates to hardware it most likely won't be long until we see some sort of meeting point.
At the moment EA, for example, has had developers like Iron Monkey creating seperate games for different devices, but creating the same game for tablets and consoles may help manage production costs. If it can be done, why not?