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Game graphics will be 'indistinguishable from reality' in 10 years, says Epic founder

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Over the next 10 years, video game graphics will become "indistinguishable from reality," but this will only serve as a decorative coating to other problems raw technological power can't solve, according to Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney.

Speaking at the Develop Conference in Brighton earlier today as reported by Games Industry International, Sweeney said game environments will be "absolutely photo-realistic within the next 10 years," but to create convincingly realistic worlds there is an entire suite of technological problems to solve first.

"That just moves the challenge of graphics to the problems we don't know how to solve," Sweeney said. "Like simulating human intelligence, animation, speech, lip-syncing. There are still a lot areas that will require ongoing research for probably the rest of our lives before we come close to approaching reality.

"It feels like we're going through the last 25 years of game history at the rate of four years every year," he added.

Sweeney noted the landscape for development and distribution is changing, and the rapid change presents a real challenge for developers. However, he believes that Epic Games is well equipped for the road ahead with its new engine, Unreal Engine 4.

"We've always recognized that the industry is in a state of constant change, and those that react fastest are the survivors," he said.

Sweeney also added the "sweet spot" for seeing the true capabilities of Unreal Engine 4 will be the end of next year, and that there are a number of projects using the engine currently underway at Epic.

"The rush is on right now," he said.