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Xbox Series X - Games Showcase 23 July 5pm BST

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I'm not sure how valuable it is to compare last gens transition to this upcoming one. It's worth noting the hardware differences from last gen to this were pretty minimal outside of GPU grunt (which scales quite easily), the CPU's were only modestly quicker and we were still using the same 5400RPM laptop drives as storage. Both of these bottlenecks place significant constraints on design, particularly open-world games. It looks like were going to see a massive leap in the performance of both, especially storage, which frees game design from many of these constraints. Neither of these factors scale easily either so it's not at all going to be trivial to port PS5/Scarlett games that take advantage of the CPU and bandwidth available to them as a fundamental part of their design.

 

Financial pressure to make the game available to the largest audience may dictate differently of course.

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10 minutes ago, HarryBizzle said:

But incremental change is what drives the industry forward and gets us from GTA3 to RDR2. Being tied to ancient hardware for another two years isn't going to help.

Totally true, but nobody will have to do that, will they? I’ve not watched that Digital Foundry video yet, so they might have some insider info, but as I said before, surely it’s only games that will be launching in the next couple of years, that began development before any next gen specs were known, that will be cross-gen. Anything that’s begun development since the next-gen specs have been nailed down will presumably be allowed to only run on the Series X, if the devs want.

 

I hope that’s the case as it makes the most sense. MS really need to get it across though, as without any solid information, it’s leaving a lot of people wondering, as this conversation is demonstrating.

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1 minute ago, jonamok said:

That’s not the same as no new SX exclusives is it?

 

But at the same time, any exclusives released within the first 12-24 months would have probably been started dev on the previous gen. So outside of better graphics it's unlikely they will have many features that would only work on next gen. So why not release on both platforms. 

 

Microsoft don't care if you buy an SX or an X1 or an XS. As long as you're playing their games and their subscriptions, that's all that matters. 

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6 minutes ago, Hitcher said:

Microsoft can't win it seems.

 

If they'd said you need to buy a different versions of games you already bought on the One when you upgrade to the Series X people would be complaining.

It does seem that way at the moment. Like I just said, MS could really do with clarifying things, to stop people trying to pick holes in it.

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The messaging needs cleaning up and concrete examples given. People need to be able to look at something like a Forza 8 (I'm going out on a limb and saying Forza 8 will come out this year) and see what benefits you get from playing it on a Series S/X over playing it on an Xboxone. 

 

Does Halo Infinite allow local co-op on a One or is that a Series console exclusive feature? 

 

How sweaty does Kasumi get on a Series X versus a One X?

 

 

Important stuff like that basically. 

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2 minutes ago, Mr Tony said:

 

But at the same time, any exclusives released within the first 12-24 months would have probably been started dev on the previous gen. 

Why would they? Microsoft first announced the next Xbox was in development in 2018. It'll be almost two and a half years between E3 2018 and the likely release of these consoles. 

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3 minutes ago, bear said:

Why would they? Microsoft first announced the next Xbox was in development in 2018. It'll be almost two and a half years between E3 2018 and the likely release of these consoles. 

Don't most games take a lot longer than a couple of years to develop these days?

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I really don't expect these mythical changes to game design due to CPU that everyone expects. We've been through multiple generations where people insisted more power would be used to change everything, and it didn't. And now we've got this narrative that it only didn't happen due to the CPUs, and everything is going to change, but it's not hard to see it as just a rebrand of "well it didn't happen last time, but this time..."

 

The unpopular truth is AAA games are pretty popular the way they are, they need to be accessible for a wide audience, and most are power fantasies, so enemies are going to be blind mooks to enable stealth and you'll be able to cut through them like a hot knife through butter in combat because people wouldn't enjoy it if they would instantly spot you from a mile away, fight at realistic combat ranges where you're getting hit by a dot in the distance and push your shit in. That's kind of detrimental when you want them to just drop loot.

 

I mean like, that's the real limitation, even if you have the power and solve all the project management stuff, the truth is gamers are probably not actually going to want it much, it's like those 90s visions of the future where everything would be arty experiences - sort of failing to realise that gamers actually quite like the ultraviolence and looting and didn't actually want it to go away.

 

I mean, devs will still keep up the pretense, tying some feature they're supposed to emphasize in previews in and say it's only possible due to extra power (remember Call of Duty's next-gen fish AI last seen in Mario 64?), but I think we'll be here five years later saying "well it didn't happen last time, but this time..." and laying the blame at something else.

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5 minutes ago, Mr Tony said:

 

But at the same time, any exclusives released within the first 12-24 months would have probably been started dev on the previous gen. So outside of better graphics it's unlikely they will have many features that would only work on next gen. So why not release on both platforms. 

 

Microsoft don't care if you buy an SX or an X1 or an XS. As long as you're playing their games and their subscriptions, that's all that matters. 

I think they definitely do care. Momentum is crucial in this industry, Sony had it this time and MS were never able to catch up. If Sony take a big early lead we could be looking at a repeat. I mean, I don't personally care, but I'm pretty sure Microsoft do.

 

This sounds like a crazy business decision to me, but I would say that I'm absolutely terrible at predicting how consumers will react to things. So it will probably be massively successful.

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18 minutes ago, Mr Tony said:

 

But at the same time, any exclusives released within the first 12-24 months would have probably been started dev on the previous gen. So outside of better graphics it's unlikely they will have many features that would only work on next gen. So why not release on both platforms. 

 


Devs literally can't do Series X exclusive features anyway, feature parity is a certification requirement.

Ramping up the visuals/frame rate is fine, though.

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21 minutes ago, JPL said:

Totally true, but nobody will have to do that, will they? I’ve not watched that Digital Foundry video yet, so they might have some insider info, but as I said before, surely it’s only games that will be launching in the next couple of years, that began development before any next gen specs were known, that will be cross-gen. Anything that’s begun development since the next-gen specs have been nailed down will presumably be allowed to only run on the Series X, if the devs want.

 

I hope that’s the case as it makes the most sense. MS really need to get it across though, as without any solid information, it’s leaving a lot of people wondering, as this conversation is demonstrating.

 

As far as I'm aware, they've only said the 2 years cross-compat is for 1st party titles, anyway. So third parties can do as they please.

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22 minutes ago, bear said:

The messaging needs cleaning up and concrete examples given. People need to be able to look at something like a Forza 8 (I'm going out on a limb and saying Forza 8 will come out this year) and see what benefits you get from playing it on a Series S/X over playing it on an Xboxone. 

Graphics. Frame rate. Possibly more cars on the road.

 

Does Halo Infinite allow local co-op on a One or is that a Series console exclusive feature? 

Halo Infinite has been in development since 2015. It's having a beta test this year. It's having split screen. All of those features will be on XB1

 

 

19 minutes ago, bear said:

Why would they? Microsoft first announced the next Xbox was in development in 2018. It'll be almost two and a half years between E3 2018 and the likely release of these consoles. 

Most games take more than 24 months to make. Even if they didn't, the final specs of the machine are to have likely changed slightly within that period.

 

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8 minutes ago, Bojangle said:


Devs literally can't do Series X exclusive features anyway, feature parity is a certification requirement.

Ramping up the visuals/frame rate is fine, though.

How would devs have planned in Series X exclusive features for games that started development before they knew what next-gen specs were anyway? They wouldn't have known what the CPU was going to be, or if it was to have an SSD with fast access.

 

The first couple of years or so, will be the same for both consoles. Anything that started development before the final specs were nailed will just be increases in visuals/frame rates. Anything that's started development after the specs were nailed will be able to leverage those new features. The only difference is MS have acknowledged this and are willing to put that first wave of titles on their current gen consoles as well.

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1 hour ago, HarryBizzle said:

 

How many games are fundamentally different from the gen before anyway? Is RDR2 a fundamentally different game than GTA5? Is it fundamentally different from GTA3? 

 

No. But incremental change is what drives the industry forward and gets us from GTA3 to RDR2. Being tied to ancient hardware for another two years isn't going to help.

I’m sure MS have assessed the situation looking at development across the board including that of third parties and concluded it makes sound business sense and Series X owners will still get added benefits - I mean if they’re wrong and development speeds up then it’s not like they can’t reverse the decision at some point.

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I don't get this focus on fundamental changes as if people genuinely expect the wheel to be reinvented when the PS5 comes out. I don't see any of the people saying that setting the base level a bit higher is going to revolutionise game design. Like Harry has pointed out it could just be something like flying in a title like Horizon that gets cut because the PS4s CPU wasn't up to the job. A PS5 exclusive Horizon might get flying, a cross gen game might not. 

 

 

Not sure either about this idea that devs couldn't start planning features that take some advantage of the next gen until specs were nailed down. Any ass could look at the PC market and figure out that the next set of consoles would have Ryzen processors that are a lot better than Jaguar processors and that the consoles would have SSDs. These aren't technologies that have just emerged in the last six months. 

 

 

 

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DF mentioned that Cyberpunk will be an interesting test-case. It looks like a game designed for high-end PCs and the next generation of consoles. Open world with very detailed interiors and exteriors. For example, will the current consoles have ugly loading pauses whenever you transition between indoor and outdoor? Will the game be designed with those loading times masked (waiting for doors to unlock, lifts etc) or will it be optimised for SSDs with the HDD users getting a noticeably worse experience?

 

How the next-gen consoles run Cyberpunk might be a key battleground, and also whether PS5 owners need to buy a new copy of the game whereas Xbox owners just use the same copy and seamlessly benefit from the extra power and continue with the same save file.

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7 minutes ago, Stanley said:

I’m sure MS have assessed the situation looking at development across the board including that of third parties and concluded it makes sound business sense and Series X owners will still get added benefits - I mean if they’re wrong and development speeds up then it’s not like they can’t reverse the decision at some point.

 

Absolutely. I just don't think "oh, no one uses the extra power for like two years anyway" is their line of thinking.

 

 

It's undoubtedly going to have some effects, even if it's just down to people with their £600 Series X having to wait longer to get into a multiplayer game of Halo Infinite because there's people with a crappy 5400RPM drive and Jaguar CPU trying to load the map in. But the upside is you have a larger player base.

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21 minutes ago, bear said:

Like Harry has pointed out it could just be something like flying in a title like Horizon that gets cut because the PS4s CPU wasn't up to the job. A PS5 exclusive Horizon might get flying, a cross gen game might not. 

 

I don't think it is a valid point. 4 years after console release, a PS4 game had a feature cut because the PS4 wasn't powerful enough to do it.

 

That argument is different to: On launch, a PS5 game had a feature cut because the PS4 wasn't powerful enough to run it. 

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23 minutes ago, bear said:

I don't get this focus on fundamental changes as if people genuinely expect the wheel to be reinvented when the PS5 comes out. I don't see any of the people saying that setting the base level a bit higher is going to revolutionise game design. Like Harry has pointed out it could just be something like flying in a title like Horizon that gets cut because the PS4s CPU wasn't up to the job. A PS5 exclusive Horizon might get flying, a cross gen game might not. 

 

That would be a GPU power thing or SSD thing though, rather than CPU.

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18 minutes ago, Pob said:

How the next-gen consoles run Cyberpunk might be a key battleground, and also whether PS5 owners need to buy a new copy of the game whereas Xbox owners just use the same copy and seamlessly benefit from the extra power and continue with the same save file.

That’s a good point actually and one MS should be shouting about, if it’s going to be the case.

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44 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

 

That would be a GPU power thing though, rather than CPU.

 

It's a host of issues - it's mostly a texture streaming issue and a CPU issue to simulate a wider game area. The GPU would need to draw it all of course but that's not particularly problematic even for vanilla PS4/Ones.

 

To your other point, as texture sizes have increased open world game design has if anything had more constraints placed on it this gen than last. The ability to move around game worlds rapidly would seem an obvious way in which you could meaningfully change the way you approach designing open world games. Having 6 times the CPU power available suggests to me you could do something quite interesting there too, off the top of my head environmental destruction and massively increasing the scale of the simulated world would seem like worthwhile avenues to explore. I'm not suggesting it's going to radically alter game design from day 1 but it seems to me like these are bigger jumps than we've seen from one generation to the next in a long, long time so there's reason to be cautiously optimistic.

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13 minutes ago, JPL said:

That’s a good point actually and one MS should be shouting about, if it’s going to be the case.


I suspect it’s probably not going to be the case universally. They’ve only spoken about their own first party stuff being cross compatible.
 

It might work on a case by case basis but I suspect certain publishers will not sign up to it, similar to how they blocked 360 back compatability for some games. 

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they can do one of those 'how do you share games?' videos like Sony did last time. With a bro playing Cyberpunk, taking it out of his Xbone and putting it into his Xbox SX and continuing happily. Whereas the Sonyprole goes out to a shop to buy a PS5 copy of the game and gets eaten by bears.

 

I doubt many third party publishers will want to give up all that sweet 'buy this game again, asshole' money though.

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3 hours ago, womblingfree said:

This MS statement seems to be saying the exact same game will service all consoles.

 

 

There's a feature in most programming languages that allows you to do different thing based on a set of rules.  IF...THEN...   

I mean clearly won't be THAT simple in this case but that sort of feature toggling is rife already and if a dev thought about it I bet that they could design their way round this in 95% of cases. After the first year it probably won't matter. 

 

 

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I've not paid much attention to the incoming consoles so have only just realised that Series X is the final name ( I think?).

 

Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, and now Xbox Series X seem like a list of names that are so alike they could easily confuse buyers - like those stories of potential buyers not realising that Wii U was actually a new console.  Sony may be unimaginative in their naming at least PS 1, 2, 3, 4, and now 5 are clearly differentiated whilst remaining very much on brand.

 

I'll stilll be focussing on the Xbox this generation as, aside from the hope of maybe a Boodborne 2, there are no Sony IP's that encourage me to own a Sony console anymore. Game Pass is a significant benefit too of course.

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55 minutes ago, petrolgirls said:

off the top of my head environmental destruction and massively increasing the scale of the simulated world would seem like worthwhile avenues to explore

 

Both of those like, already exist though. You could destroy almost everything in Crysis in 2009, which ran on the 360, or Red Faction Guerilla, and every generation has increased playable area, the latest Assassins Creeds are massive, but show it's more about budget than tech.

 

Your list of stuff that will only be massively improved due to CPU is stuff we've had every generation without it.

 

I'd rather people just said they want a new generation because everything will have amazing graphics than keep pretending new power will result in a massive load of innovation, especially when they're unable to back up their own narrative.

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21 hours ago, RubberJohnny said:

 

Both of those like, already exist though. You could destroy almost everything in Crysis in 2009, which ran on the 360, or Red Faction Guerilla, and every generation has increased playable area, the latest Assassins Creeds are massive, but show it's more about budget than tech.

 

Your list of stuff that will only be massively improved due to CPU is stuff we've had every generation without it.

 

I'd rather people just said they want a new generation because everything will have amazing graphics than keep pretending new power will result in a massive load of innovation, especially when they're unable to back up their own narrative.

 

The environmental destruction is Crysis and Red Faction was rudimentary (but fun) simply because you couldn't simulate much more detail, something like a building in a city tippling over, taking other buildings with it had us all pretty excited when it was shown as a cloud rendered feature in early alphas of Crackdown3. My point about the simulated game world is unrelated to the size of the map - it's the bounding box in which enemies appear and stuff like physics is simulated. It's very obvious in games like BotW where enemies will simply appear not very far in front of you or objects that roll down a hill, say, just vanish. In tandem with the ability to move rapidly around your world it strikes me there is a reasonably rich vein of possibilities to explore.

 

We haven't seen anything like a 6x increase in CPU speed from one generation to the next for an awfully long time, perhaps ever - certainly not post open world games which are often heavily reliant on it so, as I mention, comparisons with the last few gens aren't particularly revealing.

 

If you're only looking forward to next gen for graphics I sense you'll be disappointed, given diminishing returns of resolution and the fact that we had pretty capable mid-gen refreshes, ray-tracing aside I reckon you'll see a pretty limited difference in next gen games.

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1 hour ago, Boozy The Clown said:

Cyberpunk will be an interesting test case when it comes to GamePass at Series X launch.

Why? It's not on GP.

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