Questions surrounding AI, resolution, framerates, price and more. By Colin Stevens Yesterday, Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki shared a
Questions surrounding AI, resolution, framerates, price and more.
Yesterday, Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki shared a video of Sony’s demonstration of the next-gen PlayStation vs. PlayStation 4’s performance, and while the difference in loading times is significant, some fans have raised questions around what this hardware boost means for AI improvements, display resolutions, frame rates, and its ultimate price point.
In the demonstration, Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4 was running on prototype next-gen hardware, which was compared to how it runs on a PS4 Pro. The video showed the new hardware loading Spider-Man’s version of NYC much more quickly and seamlessly than current-gen hardware.
Having trouble viewing this video? See the original tweet here.
This demo has led to a lot of fan speculation across the internet as to what the new hardware is capable of, and what this extra power and speed means for developers.
In an r/PS5 Reddit thread, user HopOnTheHype noted his interest in potential improvements in AI and physics that new hardware could bring, saying “More power means devs have more freedom to do what they want with their games. Yeah some devs will just make open galaxy games with procedural generation and all that, but some might focus on other things. Some might focus on ai, physics, lighting, animations, or whatever, some might focus on graphics, but more power means less limitation on the creatives.”
Responding to a comment suggesting the hardware’s power boost will simply result in bigger and more intensive games, user OmNomDeBonBon responded “More RAM, which is also higher bandwidth, also means bigger worlds with more detail. The PS5 will have a significantly faster CPU… which will allow for more complex worlds, lots more NPCs, more destructible elements, more realistic physics and so on.”
User Bikonito hopes that instead of developers focusing on graphics and loading times, they start aiming for higher frame rates, saying “Really hoping devs start focusing on 60fps as a main feature instead of stuff like 50% faster loading times. Same for 4k, really don’t care. Gimme that 60fps.”
This is gonna be expensive as heck, isn’t it?”
With the first round of information we received about the next-gen PlayStation, lead system architect Mark Cerny attributed much of its boost in speed to the console’s solid-state drive (SSD) which he claimed has a raw bandwidth higher than any SSD available for PCs. While users can swap out the PS4’s HDD (Hard Disk Drive) for a faster SSD, speeds are only marginally improved because of it. Furthermore, high-capacity SSDs remain expensive, and fans are concerned that its inclusion in next-gen PlayStation systems will help drive up the cost of the console and potentially hinder its overall storage capacity.
These concerns were quickly brought up in Mochizuki’s post on Twitter, with commenter @Whiffy5 saying “This is gonna be expensive as heck, isn’t it?” and @WarOnFanservice saying “Harddrive wont be replaceable and will be overpriced like the PSVita, i am calling it now.” Other commenters, however, didn’t think Sony would sell
On an r/Games Reddit post, commenters were also impressed at the jump from the PS4 Pro to this next-gen hardware. User Swiperrr wrote “The addition of a SSD or m.2 drive equivilant on the PS5 is a crazy upgrade. Not only does this mean loading times would be way faster, it also means that development can be easier because devs dont have to worry about how to hide loading screens or how they organise their data as much.” To this, user CaptainCrunch replied, “It probably means storage space will be an issue though. I doubt a PS5 is gonna come with a 4tb SSD. Worried that might mean smaller textures and less uncompressed audio.”
However, user Khanarx wasn’t so impressed by the demo, writing “Am I the only one who thinks this isn’t that wild of a showcase. It’s literally just showing HDD vs SSD load times essentially.” To this, user Ninety9Balloons responded “Given how people still don’t think the next-gen’s are going to have SSD’s even though Sony confirmed it for the PS5, this is a pretty big deal.”
Further comments from AccursedBear suggested this speed boost is being downplayed, and noted how walking portions of current-gen games often mask loading screens, saying “We might finally be spared from loading times masquerading as slow, annoying walking segments. Travelling through portals in God of War gets pretty damn boring when Mimir runs out of lines.”
On his original Twitter post, Mochizuki also mentioned that Sony explained the console’s “seamless” feature, saying the company used the phrase “anytime, anywhere, without disconnections.” Several comments on this post determined Sony might attempt to make its next console portable, a-la the Nintendo Switch. However, the presentation was done in Japanese, and the translation leaves room for interpretation – there’s little else that suggests the PS5 will go portable.
In an official release from PlayStation, Sony reiterated that the next-gen PlayStation will include a new GPU and CPU, an SSD, Ray Tracing capabilities, backward compatibility, 3D audio and more. However, this same release also reasserted that the company has not yet talked about the system’s price, specific release date, games and more.
For more on this next-gen console, check out every detail we know about its specs, potential price and more. It will be able to play the best PS4 games already on store shelves, but there are some PS5 games we think may already be in development.
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Colin Stevens is a news writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.