NextGen PlayStation Expectations
Okay gamers, are you ready for some interesting news regarding the next gen PlayStation? We have heard the rumors and speculations, but today it seems Wired.com has dropped some Intel for us to tickle our trigger fingers on the L2 and R2 buttons. The main question I’ve always had was, “What do we really need in our next gen consoles that we already have?” Hopefully we can get an answer.
PlayStation and its great expectation!
“The key question, is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be.” – Mark Cerny
The first thing is, do not expect a release date this year that is a sigh of relief because I am not ready to let go of the PS4 just yet. This is the thing that my colleagues and I have said for years when it first came to light that there was a PS5 in the works. “No Duh” comes into mind, especially that many developers have had their hands on dev kits testing out and learning what they need to know for future games. It is just a PC people with all the high tech bells and whistle for the updated consoles.
For those of you that do not know Mark Cerny is the lead architect that brought us the PS4. So it is no surprise to see him there again helping developers with the new integrations which are paving the way for more of a revolution than an evolution which is well said.
Revolution instead of Evolution
“PlayStation’s next-generation console ticks all those boxes, starting with an AMD chip at the heart of the device. (Warning: some alphabet soup follows.) The CPU is based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line and contains eight cores of the company’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. The GPU, a custom variant of Radeon’s Navi family, will support ray tracing, a technique that models the travel of light to simulate complex interactions in 3D environments. While ray tracing is a staple of Hollywood visual effects and is beginning to worm its way into high-end processors and Nvidia’s recently announced RTX line, no game console has been able to manage it. Yet.”
A colleague of mine who is a huge twitch caster in the fighting games community has a few ryzen processor PC’s and I have to admit I trust his judgment above anyone else. I am not going to sit here and make any claims that I totally understand what all this means. What I would like to share is in my opinion what I and some other gamers care about when it comes to a new console.
In the next paragraph, it goes in about the Ray Tracing program. Recent games using this has been Fear the Wolves and a demo of Minecraft running it. Making a game look appealing to the eye is a given that will have many consumers running to pick up a console. For gamers like myself, we care about framerate or my fellow friend and gamer Lady Arsenic states,
“Instead of pushing 8k, why not do that consoles have yet to offer which is higher refresh rate and higher FPS. Even in my low-quality TV can push out 60hz which many consoles can’t.”
Not knocking the Ray Tracers impressive visual quality in games, but Lady Arsenic has a point. The Human eye does have a limit and I don’t think going past 1080p is that important. However, I do like where Mark Cerny dives more into how interactive the world can be with this program going beyond graphics.
“If you wanted to run a test to see if the player can hear certain audio sources or if the enemies can hear the player’ footsteps, ray tracing is useful for that. It’s all the same thing as taking a ray through the environment.”
It is funny how that is mentioned because there are titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice where you can stealth kill an enemy while another enemy is 4 feet away and they never notice. I would like improvements to NPC’s to give us a challenge. These little exploits seem to never evolve with the times.
The AMD chip also includes a custom unit for 3D audio that Cerny thinks will redefine what sound can do in a videogame. “As a gamer,” he says, “it’s been a little bit of frustration that audio did not change too much between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. With the next console, the dream is to show how dramatically different the audio experience can be when we apply significant amounts of hardware horsepower to it.”
It is true I didn’t see much of a difference between the PS3 and PS4. It does show that most next gen games looked like they belonged on previous gen consoles. Nothing wrong with that since they turned out to be fun. But, giving us a better audio experience enhances the game fully. We may not have full gameplay experience that a 4D theater can give us. It can get a bit close with visuals and sounds working together.
The next area touched base on file size and loading times. I have a big issue when a game of this current generation has horrible loading screens. For example, Anthem which was horrible when it came to loading into a new area or starting a mission. A little over 45 seconds of loading time in one screen, sometimes a minute. That is embarrassing when you think about it.
The larger a game gets—last year’s Red Dead Redemption 2 clocked in at a horse-choking 99 gigabytes for the PS4—the longer it takes to do just about everything. Loading screens can last minutes while the game pulls what it needs to from the hard drive. Same goes for “fast travel,” when characters transport between far-flung points within a game world. Even opening a door can take over a minute, depending on what’s on the other side and how much more data the game needs to load. Starting in the fall of 2015, when Cerny first began talking to developers about what they’d want from the next generation, he heard it time and time again: I know it’s impossible, but can we have an SSD?
Solid-state drives have been available in budget laptops for more than a decade, and the Xbox One and PS4 both offer external SSDs that claim to improve load times. But not all SSDs are created alike. As Cerny points out, “I have an SSD in my laptop, and when I want to change from Excel to Word I can wait 15 seconds.” What’s built into Sony’s next-gen console is something a little more specialized.
Cerny in the article demonstrates Spider-Man on a PS4 Pro using the fast travel feature which took our hero 15 seconds to load into the other area. Keep in mind while you fast travel you are given a funny cut-scene of him riding the subway. This took your mind off the fact that you are waiting for the game to load. On the dev kit though it gets knocked out in 0.8 seconds.
I do not want to keep on grab points from this article which was well written. Please head on over to wired.com and read it yourself fully. As of right now it has me thinking on what to expect and happy to read that there will be backward compatible features. What say you about the new console from Sony? What are you looking forward too and what would you like to see? Please comment in the area below. – Beast Out –