Home Gaming Take-Two CEO predicts photorealistic graphics within the next decade

Take-Two CEO predicts photorealistic graphics within the next decade

2 min read

Red Dead

All it required was roughly R50,000 worth of hardware, but hot damn do video games look amazing right now! Every generation of PC and console gaming hardware has made a tremendous stride forward in the graphical department, and we’re in an age where the uncanny valley divide is growing that much smaller with each new big budget release.

Facial animation technology captures every nuance of a performance, worlds look real enough to live in, and ray tracing is resulting in the lighting that gives life to these environments looking better than the real deal. There’s going to come a time when video games are indistinguishable from reality, and Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick believes that it’ll only be a mere decade to reach photorealistic visuals within video games.

Speaking at the UBS Global TMT Virtual Conference this week (cheers GamesIndustry.biz), Zelnick said that Take-Two’s business model had changed tremendously thanks to increasingly profitable mobile games and in-app purchases, and noted that the only safe bet for the future was that more change was on the way. “And I can’t quite say what that will involve, but I think what you’re going to see is technology will allow our creative folks to do things they’ve never been able to do before, including make games that look exactly like live-action,” Zelnick explained.

Some of what we do now looks a lot like live-action, but it’s still animation. In 10 years, you’ll have the option if you want to make things that look completely realistic, all done inside a computer, never mind all the other advances technology will enable.

I can believe that. I can see games looking photorealistic, but I think the big challenge lies in how those visuals are animated to move more realistically. There’s a certain level of jank in how characters move and react, due in no small part to the demands of how a game plays. It’s a tough balancing act, because having to move like an actual human being with frail meat-bones and great big organ-sacks is lame doesn’t make for a fun time. Just look at Red Dead Redemption 2 for evidence of that.

What excites me more though? Seeing what game developers with an art for an artsier style of visual design will be doing in the next decade. This year has had no shortage of games flexing those art design muscles, with the likes of Ori and the Will of the Wisps, DOOM Eternal, and Ghost of Tsushima being graphical slobber-knockers.

Last Updated: December 9, 2020


  1. Pffft. We already have photorealism.
    Just look around! The simulation we live in is amazingly detailed.


    • cloudzn

      December 9, 2020 at 09:43

      Shhh ……You not supposed to say that out loud, you will upset the lizard overlords


      • Original Heretic

        December 9, 2020 at 09:57

        Don’t GET me started on those blue-blooded bastards!
        They have the nerve to think they rule over us just because they created us?!


    • Mandalorian Jim

      December 9, 2020 at 13:38

      But this MMO called Life is so hard. I’m not levelling up fast enough, there’s too much microtransactions, far too much micromanagement (like who wants to buy milk every day?) – and let’s not talk about end game or the really bugged death mechanics.


      • Original Heretic

        December 9, 2020 at 13:51

        Ah, see, now you went and made the mistake that most people did when starting this game out.
        “Oh, I’m a real gamer, so I’m gonna play on hardcore mode.”
        If you’d chosen easy, you would have spawned with a rich family and everything would be a breeze now!


  2. Seeker

    December 9, 2020 at 10:21

    This is not the first time I’m hearing this. I think environments in games have reached a very high level of visual detail. What’s left is simulating the finer details like interactions with plants and dust.
    Characters detail has mostly lagged behind compared to environments because they are a lot more complex. And I think the trend will remain the same even a decade from now.

    This reminds me of back in 2006 when Intel was saying we’ll be playing games with real time ray tracing by 2010 with their Larrabee cards.


    • HvR

      December 9, 2020 at 13:16

      You’ve hit the nail on the head there, physics processing is also getting better but it eventually will need to reach the level of micro-particle simulation which on a processing level is orders more complex than ray tracing


  3. MechMachine

    December 9, 2020 at 11:23

    For once, I can actually see this happening. On a surface level anyway.


  4. Mandalorian Jim

    December 9, 2020 at 13:38

    Do we really want photorealistic graphics in our games? I can definitely see it being awesome to play a FIFA game that looks like it’s a real match on the telly, or a car racing game that’s almost indistinguishable from a real Formula 1 event, but when it comes to FPS or TPS games… ?

    I have to say, I’m a little apprehensive.


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