Adoption rate of the CryEngine is low, and too much money was spent on Ryse, which has put CryTek in a perilous financial situation.
Looking back at March’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, one of the big stories of the event was CryTek’s showcase of the CryEngine.
The entire gaming industry is dominated by a few main players in the engine business: aside from the Unreal engine, Unity, Source and FrostBite there aren’t that many other major engines powering AAA-titles. There’s certainly room for competition, and CryTek has been trying to disrupt this established ecosystem with the CryEngine. On paper, the engine should have a fighting chance. It’s capable of delivering, or even beating, the visuals of the Unreal 4 Engine and it’s also available in the competitive engine as a service pricing scheme (which charges a $9.99 flat licensing fee, then royalties based on sales).
But CryTek is facing a two-fold problem: developers don’t seem to be interested in the CryEngine, and the company is hemorrhaging cash after significantly ramping up manpower to get its Xbox One exclusive Ryse out the door on schedule — which was a dud for sales. According to DSOGaming’s summary of a report from the German magazine Gamestar, the company is in such bad financial shape that its only option might be to declare bankruptcy. Reportedly, employees are leaving and a number of companies are reportedly waiting to snatch up IP should the company declare bankruptcy and put its assets on the auction block.
While the CryEngine is technically impressive, and is able to push the envelope of graphics realism, it’s now a product for which there’s no market. Gaming consoles set the standard for game development; there are more console than PC gamers and Sony as well as Microsoft provide financial incentives to developers that simply don’t exist in the PC world. Given that both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 are packed with, in terms of PC hardware, last-generation technology there’s just not a demand for an engine that looks to push the latest GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.
Until the gaming industry somehow re-aligns itself to be less dependent on consoles, there simply won’t be the economic incentive to push the technical envelope of graphics thus the next CryEngines of the world won’t likely make it off the Powerpoint deck.