Crytek co-founder Cevat Yerli says the next major advance in graphics technology won't come until 2011 or 2012, and this time around it will be consoles, rather than PCs, that drive things forward.
Based in Germany, Crytek is known for developing high-end game engines that maximize the abilities of graphics technology. Its first release, 2004's Far Cry, was notable primarily for its impressive graphics capabilities and massive, open levels, while the follow-up, Crysis, is even more complex and is one of the first games developed to take advantage of DirectX 10.
"The next graphics breakthrough will come in 2011/12, especially because it will be linked to next-generation consoles," Yerli said in an interview with GameSpot. "I think the PlayStation 4, or the Xbox 720, and the PC generation that equals that will see a renaissance kicking in that will allow us to effectively deliver visuals that will rival offline CGI productions right now. With that, you'll see a variety of visual styles and identities, as well as techniques used to make more creative images than we have seen today."
He claimed that although there will be refinements, current game visuals will remain largely unchanged over the next few years. "We [are limited] by the PS3 and 360 hardware, but maybe on the PC we can scale some more. This will bridge the gap to some degree between current and next-gen on the PC without any new code. The possibilities we have are limited right now by the console generations," he said.
Yerli also predicted that the next major generation of graphics technology will lead to minimal changes in "realism," and will instead focus on things like big improvements in reflections, lighting, unique geometries and textures. "We'll see much more diverse visual development than we're seeing in today," he said. "So by then, maybe five out of ten games will be looking really different, whereas today eight out of ten look very similar."