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Unreal Tournament 3 -- image courtesy GameSpot
Epic's Mark Rein opens the flood gates for a discussion on the latest tech

Game Informer recently had a chance to chat with Epic's Mark Rein on a variety of subjects ranging from Unreal Tournament 3 to Windows Vista to the PlayStation 3 vs. Xbox 360 battle. Rein, never one to bite his tongue, held nothing back in this one-on-one.

Rein first spoke about Unreal Tournament 3, which will be a headliner title for the PS3. It was also recently announced that the game would see the light of day on the Xbox 360 platform. "I think it was the realization that we might be able to sell a few copies on this PS3. We had a little success on Xbox 360, and we might be able to sell a few copies there," said Rein.

The tide then turned rather quickly to Sony as a whole, given its recent PS3 sales shortfalls in Japan and North America. The PS3 itself also came under attack recently by Valve's Gabe Newell when he stated that the console is a "total disaster." Rein balks at such commentary and says that the PS3 platform is alive and well. "They sold more PS3s in North America than Microsoft sold Xbox 360s in its same period of time, and they clearly aren’t going to have the shortage problems that Microsoft had. So as long as people are willing to pay the price for the machine -- and I’m sure lots of people are -- I think they’re hopefully in a good situation," said Rein. He went on to say "There’s not a lot of games on there, but the ones that are there are really high quality, and I’m really impressed with the games. It’s a beautiful machine, it’s a great-looking piece of equipment, so I think Sony’s going to be fine."

Rein also gave his thoughts on the Windows Vista platform. In his opinion, there are too many version of the operating system and it has boiled down to a love/hate relationship. "So, I love the feel of Vista, and I love all the cool power tools that are built right in this time. I love the way it organizes all your content for you. I love all the gaming features," Rein told Game Informer. "I hate the fact that there’s a 32-bit version of it, and I hate the fact that there are versions that can run without Aero Glass."

Rein blames the reasons for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system on Intel. "I think these were compromises they made for Intel, and I think those are mistakes that’ll hold the industry back. There’s no reason why every machine out there shouldn’t be 64-bit now. There’s great 64-bit processors -- AMD has been shipping them for years. Intel was shipping them for years -- and then threw the core processor, the original core processor, into the mix and the Core Duos were 32-bit, and they shouldn’t have."

While it's understandable that Rein would like a swift move to 64-bit computing, the rest of the industry doesn't appear to be ready. The driver support just isn't there and the performance advantages on the consumer side haven't been fully realized yet. Rein, however, will likely get his wish with the next generation Windows operating system.

Game Informer didn't let Rein get away without throwing a Halo 3 question his way. Halo 3 is due to ship later this year, just in time for Christmas. "We’re a long way from Halo 3 still, so it’s not like we’re releasing them in the same week. They’re both complementary. I mean if Gears helps build the audience for Halo 3, then I hope Halo 3 helps build the audience for Gears."

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RE: Transparent windows can stay in the walls
By smitty3268 on 1/30/2007 1:29:56 AM , Rating: 2
Also, device driver support for 64-bit is not there yet, especially for older devices, and so you have a lot of other customers that will load 32-bit Vista for that reason also.

That's a circular argument. I think you would be amazed how fast 64 bit drivers came out if that was the only Vista option. Certain older hardware has been abandoned, but I suspect most of the hardware that wouldn't be supported is old enough it is questionable whether it will run well under Vista anyway. At least the hardware makers would be happy :>.

Anyway, I agree it would have been pretty stupid businesswise for MS to abandon 32-bit Vista, but that doesn't mean I don't wish they hadn't done that. Hmm, a triple negative. I think it's time to go to sleep.

RE: Transparent windows can stay in the walls
By saratoga on 1/30/2007 1:42:40 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Vista 64 drivers (and to an extent Vista 32 driver) are slow because theres two versions that divide up developers time. If MS had drawn a line in the sand and forced Vista to be 64 bit only, there would only be 64 bit drivers, and they'd be faster then the drivers we have now (on either version).

I also agree that this is largely Intel's fault. While I love my Core 1 Yonah system, Intel did really screw over the market by dumping a 10s of millions of 32 bit only machines that the rest of the world will have to support for years to come. If they hadn't, the fastest 32 bit machines now would be aging P3 Northwoods and Dothans. MS could quite easily have bared these from Vista, since relatively few of them would have met the DX9 and RAM requirements anyway.

By Spoelie on 1/30/2007 8:34:25 AM , Rating: 2
you seem to forget the large majority of Pentium 4 and Athlon XP systems, that have no 64bit capability whatsoever. Intel in particular was very late in the game: only the second spin of Prescott processors (towards the end of 2004, beginning 2005), the 600 series. And they were sold alongside non-64bit Pentium 4.

As such, there's a much larger non-64bit part of the market than what your statement implies. As I remember, Longhorn was ORIGINALLY targeted for a Q4/2005 or Q1/2006 release (which was a bit optimistic), making a 64bit only version particularly painful for Intel, even without considering Yonah.

By TomZ on 1/30/2007 9:43:46 AM , Rating: 2
Why would Microsoft want to "draw a line in the sand," and in doing so, sacrifice the sale of tens or hundreds of millions of licenses for Vista upgrades for 32-bit processors? What is in it for them that would make up for this lost revenue?

Also, I don't follow how this is Intel's fault. Intel correctly read the market, which was telling them that, for desktop machines, there is no need for 64-bit back then. That is still true today. The only place where 64-bit is a requirement today is on new servers. 64-bit delivers no benefit for the desktop today.

AMD was clearly more progressive in delivering 64-bit, but this was due to the marketing benefit of doing so, rather than being based on any real market need.

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