Forums - Gaming Discussion - Reasons why next gen consoles don't have to be much more powerful

While we all wish for next gen consoles to be extremely powerful and cutting edge, here are a few logical reasons why this really doesn't have to be the case. 

1. 1080p resolution displays @ 60 hz

This is the limit of 100% of TV's available on the market today and 95% of TVs sold in the next 5 years. Even the TV's that run at supposed 120 and 240hz, don't actually accept signal higher than 60hz. Therefore 1080p@60fps is the optimal performance benchmark that next gen consoles need to aim for. 4K resolution gaming is not a reality for console gaming for next gen, no matter what Sony and Microsoft end up claiming on the box. 

2. Gaming optimized hardware and software 

The hardware and software development tools that go in to gaming consoles are very highly optimized and allow devs to squeeze as much performance as possible. A gaming machine doesn't have Windows or some other heavy duty operating system running in the background and a more processing power can be utilized for game performace. Look at Halo 4 and the impressive visuals devs are getting out of 7 year old 360, which at this point has laughable specs in terms of current PC's.

3. Game budgets 

The current state of AAA gaming is very expensive and a massive leap in visual fidelity and production is not something that an industry can support as a whole. 

4. Hardware cost

Looks like next gen will bundle motion sensers, tablets, waggle controllers and standard controllers. Trying to bundle all these technologies while also offering cutting edge hardware and keeping the price at $299-$399 level is not something 2 out of 3 console manufacturers can afford to do. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that next gen consoles won't be more powerful than current gen consoles, far from it. However we shouldn't be expecting cutting edge high end PC-like graphics performance on paper. When the consoles come out games will look as good as they do on PC and 1080p resolutions, but with lesser hardware. 

Remember a console game running at 1080p @60 fps looks exactly the same as PC game at 1080p at 200 fps on a 60 hz display. It actually may look better @ 60fps as you won't see any frame tearing. 



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It's not just about resolution. AI, physics, etc. There are so many areas games can improve in. I look forward to the day where I feel a lot more immersion due to my interaction and experiences with the terrain around me, rather than it all feeling like just a bunch of pretty geometrical shapes.

I agree with everything you wrote, mainly about the rising cost of games not being sustainable.

About the graphics hardware, yes 1080p is pretty much max but GPUs still need to be capable of a lot of newer technologies - for example D11 capabilities. More powerful, expensive CPUs make more realistic games.

On the other hand MS and Sony have created an arms race between them and brained-wash a whole generation of gamers that "ultimate power" rules.

But yeah, you made good points.



wfz said:
It's not just about resolution. AI, physics, etc. There are so many areas games can improve in. I look forward to the day where I feel a lot more immersion due to my interaction and experiences with the terrain around me, rather than it all feeling like just a bunch of pretty geometrical shapes.


This sounds like it will be very taxing on the CPU rather than the GPU. :)



This sounds like a compromise thread. MS and Sony next gen systems should be on par with gaming PCs. We must hit the graphics wall

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wfz said:
It's not just about resolution. AI, physics, etc. There are so many areas games can improve in.


But with the current emphasis on online multiplayer, will that ever be the focus?



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disolitude said:
wfz said:
It's not just about resolution. AI, physics, etc. There are so many areas games can improve in. I look forward to the day where I feel a lot more immersion due to my interaction and experiences with the terrain around me, rather than it all feeling like just a bunch of pretty geometrical shapes.


This sounds like it will be very taxing on the CPU rather than the GPU. :)


I am not a huge techie, so I wouldn't know! All I know is what I want. :P

 

Salnax said:
wfz said:
It's not just about resolution. AI, physics, etc. There are so many areas games can improve in.


But with the current emphasis on online multiplayer, will that ever be the focus?



Alright, so maybe AI will be on the backburner for years to come, but what about physics? There are multiplayer-focused games that do focus a lot on physics (like Battlefield) and I see no reason why they wouldn't want to improve them even more! Outside of the FPS genre, complex physics can really open up games to a much more in-depth playstyle. Or maybe I'm just dreaming.

 

 



I agree.

Whenever I see mentioning of hitting the graphics wall, I get the urge to post the following:



And yes, this is all computer generated, off-line off course. Once we get there in real-time, we might be able to talk about that wall. Not to mention all other things, like physics and AI, you need power for (both CPU and GPU).

As for game budgets - yes, they are rising, so is the market. If you look at Hollywood action flicks, their budget is steadily rising, but that doesn't stops them making new ones. I can only see similar thing happening with games.

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sales2099 said:
This sounds like a compromise thread. MS and Sony next gen systems should be on par with gaming PCs. We must hit the graphics wall

Depends on the gaming PC you're talking about. If it's the "Enthusiast-style" PCs, you can forget it. However, I would hope MS/Sony could pump out a GTX 480 equivalent with sufficient RAM. Graphics, however, are not the only area consoles need to improve. UI and overall functonality should take center stage. For example, PSN's recent PS Store update - for a guy that loved the way it worked before, it is an utter mess now. It's not so much the Store itself, but the hardware it's running on can't handle the tasks it requires without long load times and choppy usage.

So I back Disolitude: the #1 area next gen consoles need to focus on is optimization. Flashier hardware is awesome, but a huge leap is not only unlikely, it is unnecessary.

Besides, until we reach the level where games can depend on something called voxels (which even the highest-end PCs can't run with efficiency right now), we're nowehere near hitting that "graphics wall" on consoles.