In an interview with Gamasutra, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney suggested that video games will achieve absolute graphical realism in the near future. "There are two parts to the graphical problem," he said when asked if games would ever achieve a "100%" movie-like quality.
"Number one, there are all those problems that are just a matter of brute force computing power: so completely realistic lighting with real-time radiosity, perfectly anti-aliased graphics, and movie-quality static scenes and motion."
"We're only about a factor of a thousand off from achieving all that in real-time without sacrifices. So we'll certainly see that happen in our lifetimes; it's just a result of Moore's Law. Probably 10-15 years for that stuff, which isn't far at all. Which is scary — we'll be able to saturate our visual systems with realistic graphics at that point."
Sweeney continued to say that there are specific issues that will need to be fixed. "But there's another problem in graphics that's not as easily solvable."
"It's anything that requires simulating human intelligence or behavior: animation, character movement, interaction with characters, and conversations with characters. They're really cheesy in games now."
"A state-of-the-art game like the latest Half-Life expansion from Valve, Gears of War, or Bungie's stuff is extraordinarily unrealistic compared to a human actor in a human movie, just because of the really fine nuances of human behavior."