Epic’s Tim Sweeney sees games hitting fewer platforms over time

Ever find yourself overwhelmed with the choice of what platform to purchase a game on? Do you opt to get the hot new online shooter for the console A or for console B because it has other friends you could play with and other random features? Do you buy Grand Theft Auto on your iPhone or your DS? Is Bejeweled fine as a Facebook app or do you need it on your desktop and on the go as well? Maybe Plants vs. Zombies is at its best on your tablet? How about those fancy new streaming game services that let you play anything on just about, well… anything? Does this seem like too many decisions on how to play your game? Epic Games CEO and Technical Director Tim Sweeney certainly thinks so.

“There is too many platforms,” Sweeney bluntly states at his DICE Summit talk in Las Vegas, NV. So many, in fact, that he sees the number shrinking.

“Over time these platforms will be whittled down to a competing set of platforms to maybe three winners worldwide across everything – computers, game platforms, smartphones… We should expect a lot of consolidation here and winners and losers according to who picks the right directions and executes successfully.”

To put it another way, some will be Blu-ray or VHS, and some will be Betamax or HD-DVD. But also like video formats and pretty much all technologies everywhere, Sweeney is quick to point out that there’s still plenty more to come from this relatively young industry, confident that its developers will take advantage of new technology as it comes. “Some of it will be consoles, some of it PC and some of it tablets. The form factor we can’t predict, but the opportunity is there. Our industry’s brightest days are yet to come.”

Coming from a man who designed Unreal Engine 3, which powers a whole ton of modern games, and has something that looks incredible right around the corner, that’s a nice-sounding nod to what’s in store for us down the road. A little less decision-making stress on how that gets in our hands sure sounds nice too.

Check out Sweeney’s whole presentation here.