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A chat with Futuremark

A chat with Futuremark

Futuremark LogoI had the opportunity to meet with Oliver Baltuch, president of Futuremark, at CES 2012 this year. For those not in the know, Futuremark has established itself as a de facto standard for PC benchmarking with their 3DMark and PCMark suites. Recently they brought out PowerMark, which tests notebook battery life in a variety of operating environments (We were the first review site on the web to use it in our HP EliteBook 8760W review). They’ve also ventured into gaming with Shattered Horizon on the PC, Hungribles on iOS, and Unstoppable Gorg on the PC and iOS (coming soon for XBLA as well). We sat down in a quiet restaurant well away from the show floor—a welcome retreat from the chaos of previous days—to talk about the previous year as well as  Futuremark’s plans for 2012.

Just going by the numbers, 2011 was a good year for Futuremark. Shattered Horizon sold over 100K copies, Hungribles for iOS did very well, over 2 million users submitted 3DMark scores, and the number of benchmark submissions from China jumped from 48K (in 2010) to 100K per month on average. But don’t think for a moment that Futuremark is slowing down. Far from it.

Unstoppable Gorg is now out for the PC and iOS and in the next few months it will be released for XBLA. Several of our community members were part of the beta period for this game, and Basil has a spot-on review. I was not among that number but I heard many things about the game, saw the trailers, and thought the concept sounded pretty fun. My first actual exposure to the gameplay of Unstoppable Gorg was at the meeting with Oliver. He handed me an iPad with a development copy of the game loaded and had me play through the first two levels. I don’t normally play tower defense games, but this will be an exception. The 1950’s sci-fi theme is hilarious and very well done. At $10 for the PC and Mac versions and $5 for the iPad version, this game should definitely be on your buy list.

PowerMark will receive a patch very soon, bringing the benchmark to version 1.1 (the patch fixes a few bugs and enhances performance without affecting the overall outcome). The benchmark’s goal is to provide accurate estimation of battery performance in a wide variety of tasks from idle to office applications to gaming. Custom settings allow adjustment of both the duration of specific tasks as well as the score weighting for those tasks. It’s not a benchmark for consumers, so there isn’t a free version available, but the Icrontic hardware review staff has licensing. We’ll be using it to test any compatible mobile devices that cross our paths.

Futuremark has many exciting things in the works for 2012 that we cannot talk about just yet. Rest assured though, they’ve got lots of plans and a couple of game-changing announcements coming soon, and we’ll be here to share them with you.


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