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Angry the Clown

Talkin' about next gen (possibilities, expectations and hopes for PS5 & Xbox 2)

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So the Xbox thread has been veering into next-gen discussion since E3, with Phil Spencer/Microsoft having been surprisingly open in discussing where things are likely to go next. Obviously as we move forward and start to see some concrete information come out it will be worth establishing dedicated threads for each next gen system, but for now it might be worthwhile having a discussion thread dedicated to our hopes/expectations for next gen system hardware, and nerdy videos/articles (let's face it, mostly from Digital Foundry) that might give us a clue as to where things are heading.

 

As we went into E3 I shared my feelings in the Discord chats that we were entering into what feels distinctly like the swan song era of current gen consoles. Death Stranding, Last of Us 2, Cyperpunk...etc... All games that are surely still over a year away, that will likely serve as classics and technical powerhouses that close out a generation (with some even debating that some, including Halo Infinite, could in fact end up being gross generation releases). I say "close out," not to imply that the current gen dies immediately once the new one arrives of course, but titles I liken to Last of Us pushing the PS3 to the limits of its capabilities shortly before the PS4's release. 

 

I've been wondering how much we can expect graphically from the next leap forward. It's not really where I want to see emphasis when I look at what current consoles, and their mid-gen refreshes in particular, are delivering. Things will always improve, naturally, but I'd like to see more power aiding improvements in and simulation at the CPU end, and ray tracing at the GPU end (more on that in a moment). That's generally where I'd love to see more focus along with more consistent frame rate performance. I'm not even sure I yearn for native 4k on everything. It becomes standard, fantastic, but I wouldn't turn my nose up at a continuation of checkerboarding techniques...etc that help make room for performance elsewhere. 

 

Encouragingly, Phil Spencer placed particular emphasis on framerates in an interview last week, stating ""If you look at the Xbox stuff we are doing right now like variable framerate... I think framerate is an area where consoles can do more just in general. You look at the balance between CPU and GPU in todays consoles they are a little bit out of whack compared to what's on the PC side and I think there is work that we can do there." 

 

I think it is probably a safe bet to expect UHD disc support to continue on XB2, and make it into the PS5 as well, as it should open up the possibility for games to use 66GB and 100GB discs that UHD movies come on, in addition to the existing 25GB and 50GB varieties. 

 

Here's DF talking Ryzen (from July 2017)r:

 

 

 

Richard from DF theorising about next gen Xbox in their Halo trailer analysis:

 

 

 

And let's also take a look at Digital foundry's video on GPU accelerated ray tracing:

 

 

 

 

As we've also been discussing in the Xbox thread, MS have set the bar now when it comes to backwards compatibility, a bar Sony would be absolute fools not to rise up to themselves with the PS5. With Microsoft also planning their own streaming service to compliment dedicated bc it further backs Sony into a corner if they are still looking to Playstation Now as their solution. I don't doubt that the challenge to bring PS1, PS2 and PS3 games to modern Playstations is a headache given the varying architecture of the platform's history, but perhaps delays, and the meagre handful of PS2 titles that made it to PS4, is down to them doing work on emulation required to make access to a larger library of titles a bigger deal with the PS5. At the very least, you'd have to hope PS4 games will carry over natively to PS5 given that we can be sure the architecture will be similar. 

 

Here's DF six months ago theorising about current gen titles running on next-gen platforms:

 

 

 

During his closing speech at the conference I thought it was very interesting that Spencer boasted that the XB1X team was "deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles" It almost suggests an XB2 possibly launching with two tiers of performance from the outset. 

 

So what are everyone's expectations and desires in the next gen? 

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On 6/14/2018 at 8:31 PM, Rainmaykr said:

My body is ready.

 

Mine too, damn it. I've been tempted by the X lately, with the game pass being of particular interest, but I will do my best to hold out for the next gen system. What I keep coming back to is Microsoft's dedication to backward's compatibility, where you can go back to 2016 and read about Spencer's vision for backwards and "forwards" bc. At GDC that year he commented "Our focus going forward is building a gaming ecosystem for universal windows applications, what we think this does to a console generation is allows us to decouple the software platform from the hardware platform in which it runs. Anyone who plays on consoles knows that at the end of a generation, we box our old console and games and stick it in the closet and buy a new console and a whole new library of games and it invalidates our previous purchases. This is why this (vision) is great for gaming" and they seem to be making good on that vision. It's one of, if not the, very best aspects of PC gaming that they can carry over to the console space, and improve upon in terms of old game compatibility since every console is built to the same spec. 

 

Were I an Xbox owner and building a library of games, I'd feel pretty damn secure right now in assuming my collection will continue to carry over to the next system, and perhaps with even further performance improvements. Now, given the PS5, like the XB2, will be an evolution of a similar component architecture used in their predecessors, one would hope Sony recognise what Microsoft are doing and step the hell up, but you have to wonder if they might continue to pursue PlaystationNow instead. There's no reason both could not coexist in Sony's approach, but I think backwards compatibility is going to be a major selling point of the XB2, especially if they can say "hey, your existing purchases of first party greats like Forza and third party greats Cyperpunk will run even better on this new system".... If Sony can't say that your library of PS4 purchases will carry over, and benefit from performance enhancements, then they deserve a slap as I really do commend MS for raising the bar here. 

 

I think BC is going to become more popular as time goes on. We know it's still something of a niche demand, but it seems to be growing at an obvious rate. Retro is booming, people are building larger libraries of digitally purchased content, and when new consoles can enhance older games I feel as if more and more people are going to find the age old issue of leaving all their past purchases behind harder to swallow when migrating to a new generation.

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Given that my XB1 seems like it's on it's last legs, I've been tempted to upgrade to an X, but even being able to get one for $500 (instead of $600) this weekend, I'm still going to hold off.  I'm hoping for a more substantial price cut later on. 

 

I've got a theory though-they say they're working on the next Xbox for 2020, but I think that box will play all the existing B/C stuff, plus new stuff, but that new games will ALSO work on the X.  If it's just an iterative upgrade with a similar architecture, you can see a world where the 2020 Xbox becomes the new high end machine, and the X becomes the new low end version, with the S becoming the legacy version that only plays old stuff.  They could repeat that model every 3 years or so, meaning that a given Xbox would have at least 6 years of new content.  Not sure how confusing it'll be to try to message what does and doesn't work though. 

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I have *zero* inside information on this, but I think that's an utterly fair theory, and it's what I'm expecting. MS keeps talking about iteration, moving away from hard platform launches, and their software platform this gen matches that - generous BC, cross machine software, etc. It's how people expect their phones to behave. 

 

I don't know how to sell it, but I think it's the future. 

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I personally think that if either company says this generation of games won’t play on the next system, it’s a completely daft decision and basically a non starter for me. I no longer see playing old games as backwards compatibility, but as just letting me play my games. The changes to these systems are no longer the architectural leaps that they were from generation to generation, and the gaps in the games themselves is continually diminishing. 

 

I just wrote and then deleted quite a long rambling of how I think things may develop. But the more I thought about, the more unsure I was about everything. I think there will definitely be more cross generational software, but I also think developers need to be able to take full advantage of the new hardware without being limited by the old if they want. 

 

But then there are those that won’t need it, and would be happy for their games to work on systems old and new. 

 

How that will all be controlled and marketed and messaged by the platform holders will be interesting to see. 

 

The road I was seeing after I wrote what I wrote was:

 

Game A works on the NewXbox, the X and S

Game B works only on the NewXbox

Game C works on the NewXbox and the X, but not the S.

Game D (Let’s call it FIFA 21) has a version that will work only on the NewXbox and another version made for the X and S, but will also work on the NewXbox since it’s an X/S game, but is not as good as and will not play online with the NewBox only version. 

 

That seemed like too many variables and confusion. 

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Microsoft are totally going to want to stick with backward compatibility going forward, yes. They've invested too much in making the far more complex emulation of 360 hardware on x64 work to give that up, and the idea of one application building for Windows or Xbox easily is one they've been pushing hard as well. There's no way the Next Xbox isn't another x64 chip.

 

Over in Sony land I can't see them moving on from x64 either - their TV division may be doggedly sticking with Android, but it's widely regarded as an unresponsive mess. At which point the only reason to not do BC support is because they don't want it there. Which I can believe they'd do, but I hope not.

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Graeme, they could probably do it pretty easily. Particularly if the S and/or X stay around as a budget model. I can already walk into HMV and buy Black Panther on DVD, Blu-ray or UHD, knowing that UHD players will play all three, Blu-ray players only the first two, and DVD players can't cope with either new title. You just have to allow Publishers to continue releasing Xbox One games.

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7 hours ago, iainl said:

Microsoft are totally going to want to stick with backward compatibility going forward, yes. They've invested too much in making the far more complex emulation of 360 hardware on x64 work to give that up, and the idea of one application building for Windows or Xbox easily is one they've been pushing hard as well. There's no way the Next Xbox isn't another x64 chip.

 

Over in Sony land I can't see them moving on from x64 either - their TV division may be doggedly sticking with Android, but it's widely regarded as an unresponsive mess. At which point the only reason to not do BC support is because they don't want it there. Which I can believe they'd do, but I hope not.

 

PS5 and XB2 will both use Ryzen, no doubt. I just worry about Sony's focus on PSNow, but post-E3 we also know MS are working on a streaming service of their own now too on top of the BC they are offering, so MS really have raised the bar here on every level which is going to make it difficult for Sony not to offer the same options. One can only hope that behind closed doors, the reason we've not seen PS1 and PS3 backwards compatibility on PS4 (and not nearly enough PS2) is because they are working hard to get that content emulated on a next gen system, as I assume there is no other option for Sony but to emulate previous libraries given the architecture changes to their systems over the years. 

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I suppose the obvious analogy is the PC-I can buy any game I want on Steam on any PC I want, but if I try to run something like AC origins on my 4  year old ultrabook, it's going to run like crap.  I don't tend to run a lot of "high end" stuff on mobile-is there ever an indication of "hey, this might not run well on your phone"?  With a 3 tier Xbox ecosystem, I suppose you still only have 3 HW configs to test on, and if developers have the option to say which of the three they support (low, med, high) they could reduce that footprint. 

 

Nintendo got into a little bit of this where there were 3 or 4 games that only ran on the "new" 3ds line, and even going back to the N64 expansion pack, there were reasonably clear indications that the game supported/required it. 

 

I do like the idea that a game could support multiple console versions on the same SKU though.  You're already seeing it with the X enhanced stuff, so the fact that your games will not only run on future hardware, but run better with more content, is a huge plus. 

 

As for streaming, I wonder if it's an all or nothing decision.  Think back to the original crackdown 3 reveal and the idea of supplementing local processing with cloud-would that be possible on a bigger scale?  What if you could take an Xbox S, and use both the local and remote processing?  For example, if you loaded the game scripting, hit detection, input processing, AI etc on the local hardware (possibly using the GPU for compute to eke some extra power out), but then rendered the graphics in the cloud and streamed the video, could you not theoretically get a much better looking game that doesn't suffer from some of the input lag problems that streaming games have?  There's obviously still a problem where you have to react to what you see on screen, but you're not necessarily waiting for the upstream lag in processing your inputs.  The thought here is to make the S version of the game look like the Scarlet version assuming that you have connectivity. 

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Will this be all cloud-based, or might it work like steam's device where you stream from you PC or another more powerful Xbox.  That would be kinda cool if they came out with a $70 thing, or cheaper, that can give you access to your powerful device in another room without physically having to move it there.  I don't trust the cloud stuff, except for X-com and other turn-based games.

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28 minutes ago, Starhawk said:

Moved all the next-gen talk from the Xbox thread here.

 

11 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

Fnarghhh but that’s messed the first post around damn youuuuuuuu!!!

 

tumblr_ltfrqpEUJi1qdd44xo1_500.gif

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52 minutes ago, Angry the Clown said:

Fnarghhh but that’s messed the first post around damn youuuuuuuu!!!

 

What I heard:

file?dl=0&duc_id=i7WtLAyLOw8n621Io1Qdy0L

 

Those posts seemed so on point with the topic to add them here. I wish it'd let us choose the first post. 

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Phil Spencer’s yearly GiantBomb E3 interview is a good one, as usual. It’s always refreshing how candid Phil is. 

 

If nothing else, I remain excited to see what an Xbox division lead by Phil will produce. 

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15 minutes ago, Starhawk said:

 

What I heard:

file?dl=0&duc_id=i7WtLAyLOw8n621Io1Qdy0L

 

Those posts seemed so on point with the topic to add them here. I wish it'd let us choose the first post. 

 

I'll let you off... this time. Since the imported posts still put one of mine as the first I simply cut and paste my original thread intro and edited a couple of my earlier posts that you carried from the xbox thread to avoid repetition so it's OK. 

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3 minutes ago, Graeme said:

 

Phil Spencer’s yearly GiantBomb E3 interview is a good one, as usual. It’s always refreshing how candid Phil is. 

 

If nothing else, I remain excited to see what an Xbox division lead by Phil will produce. 

 

Definitely worth sharing. I believe this is the interview in which he places a desire for emphasis on frame rates in the next gen.

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He does. I wasn’t sure if this was the only one though. He does a number of these around E3 and can repeat himself from time to time. 

 

Despite him acting candid and off the cuff, I’m sure he goes in with “talking points” 

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37 minutes ago, Graeme said:

 

Phil Spencer’s yearly GiantBomb E3 interview is a good one, as usual. It’s always refreshing how candid Phil is. 

 

Maybe because they don't have anything to talk about right now, but Shuhei and a few others from Sony used to make the rounds muuch more than they have in the last year or two. 

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