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Is the Xbox Series S a "potato" console holding next gen game dev back?


MattyP
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49 minutes ago, Strafe said:


No, Panic Button got Doom running on Switch. ID don’t dirty their hands with that sort of thing.

 

Arghhhh. Again, and I’m really trying here, it’s still isn’t the stuff you know about that’s in question. It’s the games - or more likely features within them - that may end up compromised due to having to work to a lower end spec.


The thread title is asking if it’s holding development back. And the answer to that is, “potentially, yes”. We probably won’t be aware of it because no developer is going to release a game and say “we actually had this extra feature but had to drop it because whilst we had it on Series X we couldn’t get it working well on the S and Microsoft won’t allow it”.

 

No one is saying that the S can’t run perfectly serviceable versions of games already released. Well, maybe Digital Foundry when they get pernickety but you get my drift.

 

 

We see features such as ray tracing or fidelity modes cut from Series S already. 
 

Ok forget games already out, what games on the horizon (excuse the pun) do you think will be held back due to Series S? 
 

Are there all these BOTW beaters just ready to be announced if it weren’t for them being held back? I don’t think so. 
 

Maybe Id just need to speak to Panic Button and they’ll put them straight. 

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12 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Are there all these BOTW beaters just ready to be announced if it weren’t for them being held back? I don’t think so.


You’re really not grasping this or pretending not to.

 

It a machine can’t handle a game it’s not likely going to be announced in the first place, is it? When they say ‘held back’ it doesn’t mean that they make the game/feature and then sit on it, it means they probably don’t bother in the first place or abandon it early doors if they realise it just doesn’t work (that’s not just a technical thing, obviously, it might just turn out that although good on paper it was no fun in practice).

 

I’m not really referring to graphical downgrading or cuts in frame rate. The comments by ID and remedy, people who make these games whose own comments you keep ignoring, talk about the problems it can cause which can’t just be solved by slashing the frame rate or resolution.

 

It also takes more time and money to make an extra version. Time and money that could - could! - be allocated elsewhere.

 

I haven’t mentioned BOTW yet and no one is suggesting it isn’t anything less than a masterpiece but unless you’re deluded you would have to think that Nintendo have plenty of games at concept stage that just won’t work on the switch so haven’t started developing them yet. 
 

Honestly, I’m chuffed to bits that you think your Series S is great (I do too!) and you see no issues whatsoever but you don’t need to ignore basic logic that other people - including the people who make the fucking games - might not entirely agree.

 

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@Strafe honestly, I am not sure what you think is holding the games back? 

 

The CPU in the Series S and X is incredibly close in terms of performance (I imagine it is the same, but due to thermal handling is dialed back), but the GPU is not as powerful, and there is less RAM. 

 

The higher output from the GPU on the Series X is mainly good for higher resolutions, and hitting those higher FPS targets, so actually cutting the FPS and resolution for games is a big way to get the games running. In terms of what we might be missing out on, are things like number of textures being able to be loaded at once, but many engines handle multiple textures into memory very efficiently, and having a good CPU that can juggle it all is already there and working. Maybe GPU particles, to allow the CPU to handle things like more dynamic events, such as large numbers of NPCs with unique animations etc, but again, it's not something that is lacking with the console at all, and is something that has other additional design/development costs.

 

If I am being honest, we are years away from making anything that would be impossible to run on the Series S. It is a little powerhouse, that pushes more units, and gets more games in the hands of gamers. 

 

I don't disagree with you totally, but the power difference between the two systems is not great enough where the s would significantly hold the x back, and if the designers wanted to be creative and try something new and exciting there is plenty of wiggle room elsewhere to find an unnoticeable compromise. 

 

I do speak from experience too, having optimised games for 360, PS3, Xbox One and PS4. It was a challenge, and compromises were made across generations, but the hardware in the new systems is so much more flexible, easy to develop for, and modern engines scale really well to low end hardware. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Stanley said:

We see features such as ray tracing or fidelity modes cut from Series S already. 

 

None of the consoles are good at ray tracing. Slapping it on old engines is barely working with the X/PS5 in some cases. It shouldn't surprise that it doesn't make the cut on the S. We have seen enough examples were the S does just fine in relation to it's bigger brothers (Metro, Matrix Awakens).

 

I can't help but feel we'll see less disparity in graphics features as games using technology designed for this gen, particulally UE5, appear.

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5 hours ago, Strafe said:


You’re really not grasping this or pretending not to.

 

It a machine can’t handle a game it’s not likely going to be announced in the first place, is it? When they say ‘held back’ it doesn’t mean that they make the game/feature and then sit on it, it means they probably don’t bother in the first place or abandon it early doors if they realise it just doesn’t work (that’s not just a technical thing, obviously, it might just turn out that although good on paper it was no fun in practice).

 

I’m not really referring to graphical downgrading or cuts in frame rate. The comments by ID and remedy, people who make these games whose own comments you keep ignoring, talk about the problems it can cause which can’t just be solved by slashing the frame rate or resolution.

 

It also takes more time and money to make an extra version. Time and money that could - could! - be allocated elsewhere.

 

I haven’t mentioned BOTW yet and no one is suggesting it isn’t anything less than a masterpiece but unless you’re deluded you would have to think that Nintendo have plenty of games at concept stage that just won’t work on the switch so haven’t started developing them yet. 
 

Honestly, I’m chuffed to bits that you think your Series S is great (I do too!) and you see no issues whatsoever but you don’t need to ignore basic logic that other people - including the people who make the fucking games - might not entirely agree.

 

We’re going round it circles here. Let’s just ignore Switch and BOTW for the sake of argument.

 

There are currently over 300 titles ‘optimised for Series X|S’ and none of them have performance issues related to Series S, not unless they are inherent to the game and suffer some way on Series X or even PC as well. 
 

Games such as Flight Sim push even the beefiest of PC’s to the limit, yet it runs fine on Series S. A Plague Tale Requiem, just released, is also quite a demanding title, again runs fine. 
 

So far Series S has done exactly what MS said it would do, next gen performance but lower resolution, or graphical features downgraded. 
 

Let’s be honest this whole thing is based on a couple of comments out of how many developers overall making games for these systems? And Id is owned by Bethesda, who in turn are owned by MS, the hardware manufacturer, so I’m fairly certain they’ll find a solution to whatever problems they might encounter along the way. 
 

Let’s see how upcoming games such as Dead Space, Callisto Protocol, Starfield, Hellblade II (which uses UE5 I believe) Forza, RE4 Remake, Redfall (another UE5 game) etc. perform, but my guess based on what we’ve seen so far is that they’ll run just fine. 


Even the UE5 Matrix demo runs fine on Series S with no noticeable drawbacks, and it is an incredible showcase.

 

You said that my opinion is based on nothing but optimism, or that I’m being naive, but I’m only going by the evidence we have, which to be honest makes a pretty healthy argument. 
 

In theory these machines (Series X|S and PS5) all share the same architecture, so in terms of logic and game design there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to get their games running on Series S. 

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11 hours ago, Stanley said:

60FPS is essential for this type of game (shoot em up) and just the sheer amount of shit and effects moving about in a 3D space, and none of it feels superfluous. It’s worth owning a PS5 for, or a PC of its on that now, I’m not sure. 


Haven't paid much attention to returnal, I was wondering what amazing features it had that were only possible on PS5. I’m not going to lie, the answer being an acceptable frame rate and nice graphics is a touch disappointing. 

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1 minute ago, Broker said:


Haven't paid much attention to returnal, I was wondering what amazing features it had that were only possible on PS5. I’m not going to lie, the answer being an acceptable frame rate and nice graphics is a touch disappointing. 

It’s not just that, it’s a bullet hell shooter in 3D, I’ve never seen that amount of stuff on screen before. 

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1 minute ago, Stanley said:

It’s not just that, it’s a bullet hell shooter in 3D, I’ve never seen that amount of stuff on screen before. 


Fair. I still feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something that’s made me sit up and take notice of the amazing power of new hardware. I don’t think it’s hardware holding developers back, it’s insane team sizes to produce assets and resolutions that barely look any better, and publishers who are more interested in releasing the same game ever year or bunging more content into the same game forever than trying to do something new. 

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4 hours ago, Stanley said:

We’re going round it circles here. Let’s just ignore Switch and BOTW for the sake of argument.

 

There are currently over 300 titles ‘optimised for Series X|S’ and none of them have performance issues related to Series S, not unless they are inherent to the game and suffer some way on Series X or even PC as well. 
 

Games such as Flight Sim push even the beefiest of PC’s to the limit, yet it runs fine on Series S. A Plague Tale Requiem, just released, is also quite a demanding title, again runs fine. 
 

So far Series S has done exactly what MS said it would do, next gen performance but lower resolution, or graphical features downgraded. 
 

Let’s be honest this whole thing is based on a couple of comments out of how many developers overall making games for these systems? And Id is owned by Bethesda, who in turn are owned by MS, the hardware manufacturer, so I’m fairly certain they’ll find a solution to whatever problems they might encounter along the way. 
 

Let’s see how upcoming games such as Dead Space, Callisto Protocol, Starfield, Hellblade II (which uses UE5 I believe) Forza, RE4 Remake, Redfall (another UE5 game) etc. perform, but my guess based on what we’ve seen so far is that they’ll run just fine. 


Even the UE5 Matrix demo runs fine on Series S with no noticeable drawbacks, and it is an incredible showcase.

 

You said that my opinion is based on nothing but optimism, or that I’m being naive, but I’m only going by the evidence we have, which to be honest makes a pretty healthy argument. 
 

In theory these machines (Series X|S and PS5) all share the same architecture, so in terms of logic and game design there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to get their games running on Series S. 

 

Please can someone else explain to him what held back means.

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22 minutes ago, Broker said:


Fair. I still feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something that’s made me sit up and take notice of the amazing power of new hardware. I don’t think it’s hardware holding developers back, it’s insane team sizes to produce assets and resolutions that barely look any better, and publishers who are more interested in releasing the same game ever year or bunging more content into the same game forever than trying to do something new. 

Yeah that’s exactly how I feel, Returnal does the hardware justice in this instance though I believe 

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11 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Don’t be so rude, if you can’t explain it other than by citing some tweet about memory issues, then leave it :)


But I have explained it, many times. Please read it again. You’re asking me to write the same thing in different words, which I’ve already done a few times and you don’t get it.   I don’t think you’re trolling but if you are then it’s real Keyser Soze level and I am impressed.


 

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Huh,

 

The SSD alone tells me it's next gen. I sold my PS4 pro and other consoles as I simply can't deal with those load times and sluggish UI anymore. Quick resume is another thing that could only happen with an SSD. VRR is great as well along with the introduction of 40fps modes on 120hz TVs.

 

I realise that quite often it's graphics when people think next gen but for me the fact you can play Halo MCC, I know it's older games, in 4k at 120fps with HDR and VRR. Add in the lightning-fast load times and using quick resume to hop from it to other games which results in a great over all experience you would never have gotten on previous consoles. That is 'next gen' for me.

 

Honestly if 'all' we got from this generation was a 25% bump in visuals, but we got 60fps as standard, much more widespread use of HDR and all those user improvements enabled by using SSDs I would be happy.

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43 minutes ago, Strafe said:


But I have explained it, many times. Please read it again. You’re asking me to write the same thing in different words, which I’ve already done a few times and you don’t get it.   I don’t think you’re trolling but if you are then it’s real Keyser Soze level and I am impressed.


 

Honestly I am not asking you, I just plain disagree with the motion. Perhaps when the next Remedy or Id game comes along I’ll eat my words, but I doubt it. 

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27 minutes ago, womblingfree said:

This gen is definitely the least next gen I’ve ever seen. Not that games aren’t shinier and smoother, just that most of them are are years old or cross-gen.

 

Nothing yet’s made me think wow, next gen.

Agree with this. It very much the most iterative move along I've seen.

 

It's no bad thing though I think the hardware is fine and as mentioned elsewhere for me this gen has brought SSD and QR in for me which really has been huge improvement in the experience. 

 

TBH I think there is more of an issue on the game side and how long they take to make these days. And of course how much they cost to make. With respect to the S many of the games that have already been in development will be fine on it. Things in development now that have a release date of 2-3 years away will be fine. 

 

Anyway personally think the S will play host to anything significant that gets released for at least the next 5 years or so. Besides I don't think we really have "generations" of hardware in the sense of what a typical console generation has given us. It is very much like a PC upgrade that is fixed until the next iteration is released by the manufacturers. I don't think for example we will ever have to worry about backwards compatibility again. Which let's face it is a great thing if you want to play your favourite game again.

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I can't believe anyone seriously thinks a Series S version of games will be dropped by MS before the end of the generation. It was marketed as a next-gen console by MS and it's been out for just two years. Its also responsible for around half of all Series sales in total. Amazing idea to piss off half of your userbase and ensure they never trust you again.

 

All that will happen if games start getting too demanding for it is that the Series S versions of games will start resembling the PS4/xBone versions of Cyberpunk. It's not going anywhere, owners might just need to accept that they may get a few sub-optimal versions of big hitters some years down the line though.

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14 hours ago, Broker said:

Games don’t necessarily need to get bigger, but up until the PS360 generation it felt like we were always getting a new biggest game ever and the amount of world games could have was always increasing. Whereas now most of the biggest games ever made are 15 years old. 

 


 

Well,  we did get No Man's Sky last gen and that's the biggest game map ever. 

 

 

On an actual serious note I'd argue that the reason game maps stopped ballooning in size was less to do with development getting less ambitious and more down to consumers getting less impressed by promises of the biggest game world yet.

 

Being reductive if Ubisoft, king of the map game, haven't gone down the route of ever bigger maps then it's because their research has told them it's not worth it. 

 

I'm sure that Bethesda could put more planets and stars in Starfield if they relied on algorithms and the like to generate worlds but they are going with 1000 planets (obviously still a very big number) and are doing a certain amount of crafting those world's. Maybe not mapping out each planets surface but certainly picking it's starting orbit and the condition of the star it orbits. 

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33 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Honestly I am not asking you, I just plain disagree with the motion. Perhaps when the next Remedy or Id game comes along I’ll eat my words, but I doubt it. 


Yeah, you’re not disagreeing with me because you don’t understand what’s been said.

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At the core of this is what "held back" means.

 

Will some game devs have to spend time optimising for S that they wouldn't otherwise? Are they held back? Does making a game that is cross platform hold games back? Optimising for slightly different specs?

 

Are there any experiences that cannot or won't be made because the S is in the market? None of the half quotes from developers even suggest this is the case. Simply that devs might need to pay attention to memory (as they already should) and that they might not push the very very top end of some configs.

 

Personally I don't think slightly less optimised graphics counts as held back in the slightest. Doesn't matter. At all. If you think it does then make sure you've bought a PC because you're already playing a substandard versions of most games.

 

I think the S is important and will do more to push the platform forward than anything. A bigger addressable market means more products can be made for smaller segments of the market. I think it invites a wider range of games types beyond the already over served shootymans and action games.

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2 hours ago, Mallet said:

Honestly if 'all' we got from this generation was a 25% bump in visuals, but we got 60fps as standard

Not gonna happen. As soon as the previous gen is dropped, expect to see 30fps loom back into smeared, blurry view. 

 

In some ways this gen hasn't at all felt like next gen, but the best version of the previous one. In that sense, it'd be quite good if cross gen went on forever, because there's a good chance that things are about to get less enjoyable.

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1 hour ago, Stanley said:

Again, stop being rude, dude.


I don’t think I am. I’ve explained it like 3 or 4 times now and you keep saying the same thing. I genuinely do not believe that you understand what is meant by holding stuff back when you use examples of things that have made the cut. You keep coming back to the same thing and I’m banging my head against a brick wall trying to rephrase the same thing in different words. You could have a read through what I posted again.

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I don’t understand how this question even makes sense on its own terms. The whole point of the S is that in theory it can do whatever the X can do, but at a lower resolution. So developers can develop for the X as the target platform, utilising its full power to whatever extent they like, then in theory they just drop the res and hey presto there’s your S version. If in practice MS have got their sums wrong, and there’s an unintended bottleneck or two somewhere in the S’s architecture compared to the X, then simply lowering the resolution won’t always be enough and they would then have to switch off some of the graphical effects to keep the game running properly. But even if that’s what they have to do for the S it makes no difference whatsoever for the X version which will still be as designed and developed in the first place.

 

tl;dr the S has been designed to be an afterthought for developers that has no impact on development for the X.

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1 hour ago, Strafe said:


I don’t think I am. I’ve explained it like 3 or 4 times now and you keep saying the same thing. I genuinely do not believe that you understand what is meant by holding stuff back when you use examples of things that have made the cut. You keep coming back to the same thing and I’m banging my head against a brick wall trying to rephrase the same thing in different words. You could have a read through what I posted again.

 

to be fair your point isn't exactly a good one, you keep saying that there will always be limitations anyway but the series s presents the biggest one, being totally ignorant of what the limiting factors actually are for developers. it's just the creative process, limitations don't restrict creativity - they drive it. earlier you mentioned super mario bros 3 and yoshi, like smb 3 not including yoshi meant we got a dearth of creativity.

one notable example this gen of limitations providing benefit is the developer for ori, who said when making the ports for switch found a way to make their code so much more efficient that they went back and patched the xbox versions with improvements.

 

the real limiting factor for games development is the return on investment, devs want to develop as few a number of versions as possible but at the same time want their games to release to as many potential customers as possible. sony were forced to keep making ps4 versions because the numbers aren't there on ps5 to justify a next gen only version  of their games. microsoft releasing the series s has given people an upgrade path that's much cheaper than the xbox series x and ps5. it means that in theory they could get to next gen only versions before sony if the numbers make sense. it also means they're less pressured to cut the price of the series x to ensure people can afford to move on from ps4 and xbox one.

 

the games you claim that don't exist because of the limitations are neither here nor there. developers have always managed to figure out how to implement their ideas or shelve them because it's genuinely not feasible. you wouldn't argue that because of the mega drive's specs, we didn't get hollow knight. you get what you get at the time because of the technical and financial realities of the era.

 

think about it like this, if the series s and xcloud do numbers that let enough people get on board with microsoft's ecosystem so that a developer can afford to cut out the last gen version, is it a limitation still?

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8 minutes ago, SMD said:

 

to be fair your point isn't exactly a good one, you keep saying that there will always be limitations anyway but the series s presents the biggest one, being totally ignorant of what the limiting factors actually are for developers. it's just the creative process, limitations don't restrict creativity - they drive it. earlier you mentioned super mario bros 3 and yoshi, like smb 3 not including yoshi meant we got a dearth of creativity.

one notable example this gen of limitations providing benefit is the developer for ori, who said when making the ports for switch found a way to make their code so much more efficient that they went back and patched the xbox versions with improvements.

 

the real limiting factor for games development is the return on investment, devs want to develop as few a number of versions as possible but at the same time want their games to release to as many potential customers as possible. sony were forced to keep making ps4 versions because the numbers aren't there on ps5 to justify a next gen only version  of their games. microsoft releasing the series s has given people an upgrade path that's much cheaper than the xbox series x and ps5. it means that in theory they could get to next gen only versions before sony if the numbers make sense. it also means they're less pressured to cut the price of the series x to ensure people can afford to move on from ps4 and xbox one.

 

the games you claim that don't exist because of the limitations are neither here nor there. developers have always managed to figure out how to implement their ideas or shelve them because it's genuinely not feasible. you wouldn't argue that because of the mega drive's specs, we didn't get hollow knight. you get what you get at the time because of the technical and financial realities of the era.

 

think about it like this, if the series s and xcloud do numbers that let enough people get on board with microsoft's ecosystem so that a developer can afford to cut out the last gen version, is it a limitation still?

 

Christ. My point about SMB3/Yoshi was in contrast to Stan’s assertion that the “only limit to creativity is a developers imagination”.


I used the Yoshi thing to point out - as just a single example - of how that isn’t true. This is because, evidently, they imagined something that they could not yet do with the technology at the time.

 

That technology can limit aspirations does not equal the death of creativity. I didn’t say that before, I’m still not saying it now. Two things do not have to exist in isolation, so please don’t put words in my mouth.


On the final point, I do keep saying that the S is a net benefit as it increases the user base. I’d say you make a very good point on this if I hadn’t already said it myself more than once.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Strafe said:

 

Christ. My point about SMB3/Yoshi was in contrast to Stan’s assertion that the “only limit to creativity is a developers imagination”.


I used the Yoshi thing to point out - as just a single example - of how that isn’t true. This is because, evidently, they imagined something that they could not yet do with the technology at the time.

 

That technology can limit aspirations does not equal the death of creativity. I didn’t say that before, I’m still not saying it now. Two things do not have to exist in isolation, so please don’t put words in my mouth.


On the final point, I do keep saying that the S is a net benefit as it increases the user base. I’d say you make a very good point on this if I hadn’t already said it myself more than once.

 

 

 

then why do you keep arguing lol

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Interestingly none of the developers quoted have said they may need to cut features, or that they can’t do what they intended, just that it presents a challenge and they will pursue different avenues when it comes to memory usage/graphics options. 
 

And as someone else keenly noted this will have a net benefit for all developers if their methods are added to the UE5 suite and what have you, so if anything it will mean games run and scale more efficiently across platforms. 

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