Setting The Bar High
Speaking at the DICE Summit 2012, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny revealed that their luscious 'Samaritan' tech demo for the next Unreal Engine required "2.5 terraFLOPS" in order to run. Since the Xbox 360 is capable of producing 0.25 terraFLOPS, this means that Unreal Engine 4 could potentially require a console ten times more powerful than existing hardware (not taking optimisation into account). Current rumours place the next-generation Xbox at six times the power of the 360 - but you can believe that Epic will be fiercely lobbying behind the scenes for as much power as possible. Hell, they've already thrown down the gauntlet. [Develop]
We can expect Unreal Engine 4 to make a formal debut this year ahead of a 2014 launch, and it's apparently already running on hardware that even Epic aren't allowed to talk about. Interesting.