Earlier this evening, I came across some rather breathtaking early screenshots from an upcoming game engine that is very likely to feature on the next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft in some shape or form. Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 2 should be available by Christmas time this year, but we don't expect the graphics chips inside these next-generation consoles to be fully utilised until the end of 2006 - unfortunately the more complex games get, the longer they take to code. The screenshots, which are test renders, have come from an early alpha of a future EA Games graphics-rendering engine. The quality of the images isn't fantastic, but if you take a look at the quality of the models that are being rendered, you will see that the athlete's faces are cinematic in their realism. They are not photographs of athletes, they're being rendered by the next generation engine, which is codenamed Fight Night Next Gen. Our sources suggest that EA uses their game engines for any number of different titles, so we could expect this engine to be used in the likes of Madden 2007, FIFA 2007 and NHL 2007 to name a select few that are sports-based titles. click to enlarge We also learnt that EA are currently making a huge push towards developing their next-generation graphics engines using High-Definition TV quality imagery. We believe that all of their future games are targeted towards the HDTV format, while we expect them to port games back to lower-density imagery for normal television sets. Unfortunately, HDTV isn't likely to be widespread here in the UK until 2007, but we do expect Sky to launch HDTV during the course of 2006. This should fall in well with EA's expected HDTV-enabled games that we expect to arrive at the end of 2006 and in to the early part of 2007. This could also be a teaser for the next-generation desktop graphics products that are on the way from both NVIDIA and ATI, who are supporting Sony and Microsoft respectively in the console battle, as their next-generation desktop parts are said to have a similar architectural structure to the respective console graphics chips.