PS5 & XSX – Discussing The Next Generation

Adam and Ben get together to discuss the next generation of consoles from the information released on them so far. They weigh up the tech specs of the Xbox...

Adam and Ben get together to discuss the next generation of consoles from the information released on them so far. They weigh up the tech specs of the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 and if they matter, what some of it means and what they need to see to believe the hype.

Adam Thomas
I’m Adam and I’m joined with Ben. We’re going to talk about the new console details for the next-generation PlayStation and Xbox as we have something to compare. And we’ve been, you know, given enough time to digest where what we’ve actually seen. So overall impressions Ben, initial thoughts.

Ben Nother
I mean, initial thoughts, you know, kind of all of the stuff that we’ve got so far for me is it’s just, just numbers, isn’t it? It’s just a constant stream of tech specs and stuff like that. I think the Xbox stuff came out a little while ago, you know, lists of kind of like the RAM and the processors and all of those sorts of things. And then we had the, I suppose now, slightly notorious, Mark Cerny, GDC, stand in talk almost, I guess. For what they were going to show developers and things at GDC obviously made public and whilst Mark Cerny is a fantastic orator, it’s the driest presentation I think I’ve ever seen.

Adam Thomas
Very much a technical talk.

Ben Nother
Yes. And within the context of it being a GDC talk you expect that. But again, lots of chat about just numbers and kind of the ethos, and the ethos kind of stuff is interesting. Again, the numbers are just sort of bouncing off me. I’m thinking, Okay, well, we’ve got X number of teraflops over here, and then X number teraflops over here. Really, to me, that’s kind of meaningless because as I suppose Mark Cerny was kind of trying to get out in the PlayStation chat, It’s all about what else is within that box, what else that’s being coupled with how things actually interact. I think at least from the PlayStation side, we’ve seen a little bit more of how it’s going to work as a unit than we have from Xbox. For me whilst on paper, it looks like Xbox is this big beefy boy and PlayStation is maybe slightly more lithe and I think accessible was the word Mark sort of used all the time. We still haven’t seen anything. And that’s kind of what I’m waiting for really before I pass judgement on whether one is going to be better than the other. Technically speaking.

Adam Thomas
Yeah, with these things, it always comes down to what the developers can actually do with it. And it’s all well and good. Having, we change this, and we put this in it and we’ve done this, and we’ve done that. But if the developers struggle with it for any reason, or just doesn’t get the benefits that they’re expecting, developers don’t use it or use it in a different way for other stuff, and it just doesn’t have the impact that they want. It may be meaningless, just yeah, garbage numbers, as you said. For me, I’ve been interested in the, because the worry was that we would just have to basically identical rectangles, but different manufacturer’s stickers. And that would be where what I’ve liked is the fact that although and kind of broad strokes, they’ve gotten very, very similar. The differences between the two show are very clear, you know, shift and approach divergence between the two of them. So Xbox of when very simple, straight down the line back numbers, we’re going to put the best parts, we can get in it, and that’s just going to do so they’ve come out with your, you know, your 12 teraflops, what they expect that will actually put out. Whereas Sony and PlayStation have went a bit more, Well, we’re going to tinker with a bit more and customise the different bits and try and make them all work that wee bit better. And these various ways that we think this will make a big difference. And so, and they’re, they’re aim is that Yeah, Xbox has 12 teraflops to their 10.4 teraflops, but there are 10.4 teraflops will be better teraflops basically. Yeah. Sort of the idea.

Ben Nother
Yeah, it’s more about like optimization, isn’t it? Yeah. What can do what at any one time, whilst you might have, you know, hundreds and hundreds of teraflops or have access to lots and lots of power, it’s everything around it reading and being able to use that at the same time. And again, I think we’ve had a little bit more info from PlayStation on that about how things actually interface with each other how things are optimised a little bit better. And whilst Yeah, those numbers aren’t quite as high as, as the series x is going to have. We kind of understand that it is a little bit more accessible, it’s optimised a little bit better or at I won’t say it’s optimised better. I don’t know that it’s optimised better. If Mark Cerny was saying that is what they have gone for. That is what they are looking to achieve with it.

Adam Thomas
Yeah, they’ve went into it to see with the customizations and the more details, they’ve looked at where the bottlenecks are, and how they extract more performance out of it. Because, you know, it was actually one of the previous Mark Cerny video things where he was showing off the difference to the SSD mix the solid state drive compared to a regular hard drive.

Ben Nother
Was that the Spider-Man one?

Adam Thomas
Yeah, so that shows, and that really highlights kind of the, you know the inate difference and just changing from the standard hard disk drive to the solid state drive, which both have done, you know, there’s a huge difference in you know, the read speed so you can have all your extra power but as you say that there are those bottlenecks where the game engines and everything has to pull out the data that it needs. And actually, you know, put it on the screen and show you what it needs to show and that’s why, you know, Spider Man and the ps4 game can only swing so fast because if it goes any faster, the console can’t physically load the world in quickly enough, yeah, you know, in front of you. So that exists, you know, otherwise, you would just swing off into fucking nothing. And again, you have to like pause, you have to catch up and all that. Whereas a lot of that goes away purely by having the SSD because it’s so much quicker, just in general. But then Sony of went in, and to that extra bit of depth, we’re in Mark Cerny’s talk, where there are mentioning, you know, in much greater detail than I, in detail, I don’t fully understand. But they’re showing how they’ve changed it so that it’s so much, you know, the bandwidth of the data so they can draw out so much more data all the time, to speed all of that sort of processing up. So that will mean that the aim is that that means that developers are that don’t need to put in, you know, stupid windy corridors in between areas and stuff like that, you know, which is a kind of a design thing they’ve had to put in, because of the technical limitations so that the game can, you know, the RAM and all that can dump the old memory and then load then the new level stuff, you know, and things like that, to give it space to do that without literally just locking you and place or having you stuck in an elevator or whatever.

Ben Nother
It’s, it’s kind of an interesting one that we, you know, I think we’ve sort of seen with this generation how, how much better these generation of consoles were than the previous one in this area already. With all of these massive open-world games, things like Red Dead Redemption 2, the newer Assassin’s Creed games, how they can still do, you know, quite a lot and, and have a lot on-screen at one time especially compared to previous generations, the 360 and ps3 games. Yeah, and I remember when those consoles were kind of announced that one of the things that people talked a lot about were like particle physics and things like that. And the ability to have more stuff on screen more things going on, again, better optimization about using memory and things. And I’m guessing that’s just, you know, again, we’re going to see that that is just the clear jump that things can do to work better to allow more things to happen at, at any one time. So it’s kind of it’s not a surprise that that is sort of the way that they’ve taken it. And the way that they’ve tried to, they tried to work with their tech to achieve putting more things on the screen, allowing more low times allowing you to have, you know, an absolutely insane say like run speed or via you know, car speed, you know, how much, how much better a sort of like a driving game is going to be and feel when that that speed can be just that little bit quicker. You know, obviously, short driving games have been limited to this as well, of being able to load in a certain amount at any one time. And they’re a little bit different because you’re usually, you know, you have kind of one view, and you’re going around a course. So things can be very well-tailored, it is almost like that corridor situation kind of all the time. Something like Forza was a little bit different. And I think was, you know, quite rightly used as the, the showcase for the, for the Xbox One. Because, again, you could have this massive open world and things loaded quickly. But could you imagine, Forza or like something like an open-world driving game where you could really, really boost that car and go into sort of, you know, use some nitrous and absolutely fly around. I think that’s kind of like, again, what we’re, what we’re talking about with this next generational leap, having just a massive, massive open world with so much stuff going on, but it just feels alive. I think, you know, Insomniac did quite well with Spider-Man in that regard there were people in the street but upi never had big crowds. When you had enemies, and at times you had quite a lot of enemies on the screen with you and in one area, it was a little bit more kind of limited. That actually there weren’t people around as much. And you know, they they stopped cars and things like that when they were that level of enemies or they took you inside a building when they wanted you to do something a little bit more intensive combat kind of wise. So you can see, and I never thought about it in that sort of way. But you can see from what they’re saying, with their chat at this time. That actually Yes, it was a little bit limited in what they could do. So thinking about Spider-Man to thinking about like the next Forza game or any of the other sort of open world kind of games, how much more they’re going to be able to do is super exciting.

Adam Thomas
And, you know, there’s the kind of, there’s the knock on benefits of stuff like this as well as we’re talking about. Because of the way the, you know, the hard disk drives work, they have to package the data in particular ways. So that means that an actual fact a lot of your file size is copies of common items. Yes, like for Spider Man, you’re in your lampposts and mailboxes and stuff like that, there. That’s the data for the exact same lamppost, there’s potentially on that, you know, and you’re kind of file size hundreds of times because it’s, it’s the only way they can, they have to package up so that the harddrive can read the data in nice sweet packages for what it needs where it needs them. So you have to have copies of things. Whereas with the, again, with SSD, that problem goes away. So at the very least, hopefully, even with the push into 4k properly and all that know that file sizes, because of the textures growing in that don’t come down, at least everything in the file will be useful data. There are not copies of data. Which I think makes it a wee bit more palatable. Because when, when you realise that fact that a lot of the data you’re downloading is just multiple copies of the same stupid lampposts and stuff when you suddenly feel that, that wee bit more begrudging of your hundred and 20 gigabyte downloads or whatever it happens to be. Then when it takes fucking hours, or even days for some people, and when they’re unfortunate. So there’s those weird knock ons and you know, the quality of life in that sense. You’d hoped that they would at least come down and size to begin with and even if they keep back up the way again, at least this so that you can use all of the time.

Ben Nother
Yeah, absolutely. And you wouldn’t mind it so much then would you if, If you get to 100 gig download, but you know that every lamppost that hasn’t been there’s not 300 lampposts within that data, you know that it is being optimised a lot better that things are being read a lot better than actually that hundred gig is individual stuff constantly and that you know that it’s just gonna be full absolutely full of things. Yeah. Yeah, it’s it’s exciting. But again, it’s it’s seeing kind of like the proof, isn’t it? It’s having something in front of us and I get the feeling stuff, even though nothing has kind of been said about pushing these console releases back or anything. Obviously because of the global pandemic we’re kind of currently in. Yeah,

Adam Thomas
They will hold off on that for as long as possible.

Ben Nother
They will absolutely.

Adam Thomas
Part of me suspect that it will come anyway. Yeah, they will get pushed back into next year. Even if it’s only a couple months that it’s pushed back, I think they’ll have to, they’ll get to that stage where they’ll just be like, we need to give it breathing room. So even if everything’s coming back, you know, returning to normal, by the time these are supposed to come out, they’ll still need that couple of months run up manufacturing wise and all the rest of it, they go well, we can’t release them until we know we’re getting a solid steady supply of them. Because like ps4 when at lunch last time was nuts to try and get ahold of, like stores were getting, you know, two or three-ish delivered at a time, you know, per day because they’re, were spreading them out. So if you happen to be lucky, you got one. So imagine, at the very least they want to be able to match, you know, that kind of supply level, obviously be hoping to do better than that. But if they think they’re going to do worse, I can see them, calling it and pushing it back that wee bit to give themselves the space to the run up because the last thing they want is a big backlash because they go “It’s sold out everywhere”. Yeah, and they go oh yeah, more of coming but it will be a week or two. They will fuck that.

Ben Nother
We’ve sort of seen it with with Final Fantasy Seven remake as well, haven’t we how that’s kind of been a very odd release. Considering the COVID-19 kind of pandemic Square Enix put out into Europe and Australia, early copies, early physical copies. So people have already had this game for maybe nearly a week, it was sort of towards the end of last week. So the beginning of April that these had started to go out. And I know because I’ve just ordered one today and it’s just been shipped that for a little while no one had any so for say like the last five days it hadn’t been in stock anywhere. Now suddenly, places have stock again, I guess they, Square have just been trying to preempt this, that they didn’t know how many they could get out. So they use that early stock pushed it out super early. Because again, they don’t know what distribution is going to be like a week later. And it’s going to be exactly the same with consoles, obviously, hopefully, we’re not still within a pandemic, at that point in time. But you know, when we get to say, I’d say maybe February or March of next year, which may be sort of that three month period that they get pushed back to. They’ve got a good amount of time after kind of Christmas and the new year to really ramp up to this and they could say, right, we have got because we know from previous consoles, we need to have 5 million units available for worldwide release, or 10 million units, whatever they have to be able, to be able to put out there and saying let’s just leave it a month because we’ve actually only got 2 million units so 2 million people can play but then everyone’s just gonna be angry for a little while let’s let’s just hold off for a month so we can build on them as a build up to 5 million but up to 10 million whatever they whatever they deem is sort of the correct amount for their release on early adopters and day one people that people just don’t have that that bad will towards them I suppose. And it’s strange with with square kind of doing this even if they have, you know, only had X number of copies available for this Friday, which is when it’s going to be released on the 10th, they’ve already had people in America and other places go whaa, whaa, whaa, we haven’t got our copies, you’ve given them to everybody else. So even them trying to do something nice has seen them. Yes, get rubbish for it essentially.

Adam Thomas
Ahh internet never change. So they can have the headline, they can have benchmark that the two consoles seem to be going for is 4k, up to 120 frames per second and both have your 4k blu ray drives and both have SSDs, PlayStations again is slightly smaller, they’re 825 gig big instead of the full one terabyte that Xbox have gone for. Mark Cerny mentioned they’ve found that was the optimal number. But yeah, I don’t understand how that works but he, he’s the technical man he said so so it must be true. Both have the options for expanding it. They have built in expansion slots and stuff, like cubby holes built into them and all that and you can still have your external, you know, USB plug in expansion that way is well, if you want, I think

Ben Nother
Yeah. With that, hopefully we’re not looking at individually crafted hard drives for each. For each unit, you know, you have to buy that proprietary drive, you have to buy the Sony stamped drive to be able to use or the Microsoft stamped drive to be able to use within it. Making it again as accessible as possible to people. Even if you just want to add in like a little 500 gigabyte hard drive or something. You can pick up whatever one you want and put that in. Obviously it’s going to format it first to the to the OS and the system.

Adam Thomas
Yeah, I think at least broadly, they seem to have taken that into consideration and the building stage as opposed to waiting until everyone went while we’re getting ready for this 500 gig nonsense. I’m putting two terebytes in, into you know, doing it themselves. I don’t think that I’m not entirely sure about the ps4 and were designed with that in mind than the way that there seems to be.

Unknown Speaker
No. Which again, is strange, because I would imagine that they were already looking at higher download packets and stuff, even at the start of this generation. Yeah. Yeah. And I would imagine that a 500 gig hard drive is only put in on those original units because of cost. Yeah, you take that up to one terabyte, you double, not quite double, but you’re looking at a third again, the cost for just the hard drive. So what a PlayStation four launch I don’t remember about 400 pounds, something like that.

Adam Thomas
I think 379.99.

Ben Nother
Yeah, you’re probably instantly jumping up another 50, 60 pounds, you know, just for that additional for that additional hard drive on those original models. So yeah, they’re trying to balance out again prices and launch prices.

Adam Thomas
We’ve had no word on that so far. But um,

Ben Nother
Has there been one for Xbox? I don’t think there has either has there.

Adam Thomas
No, I don’t think either of have said, price wise, I think they’re just both said that keeping it affordable has been, you know, like one of our key considerations, but I don’t think they’ve expanded beyond that. For me personally, I don’t think anywhere between, I don’t see them being cheaper than 400 pounds. And I don’t see them being any more expensive than 500 pounds on the basis that anything above 500 in particular just starts to creep into. Well, that’s a bit too pricey. Put people off. So I can see them all that both sides deliberately, you know, cutting the margins and making even if they’re shipping these at cost, or even a little under cost. Yeah. All that work.

Ben Nother
Yeah, they’ve always been loss leaders and they generally do sell them at a little bit of loss. Not not massive amounts, but they can then start to you know, if they lose, what 20 pounds per unit, they make that back with the first game or something that you that you purchase. So they know that they’ve got you then by just dropping that price just that a little bit and I’d expect something similar with this as well that actually it costs them something like 400 maybe not maybe like 300 pounds to make and build the unit and all the parts, you’ve then obviously got all of your overheads and things on top of that, that probably takes it up to sort of maybe 450 and I’m just picking numbers out of the air. Yeah. And then they you know, they make it 20 quid 30 quid less than that.

Adam Thomas
It’s certainly a possibility. Again, we need to wait and see. The other key kind of technical innovation that they’re both talking about is ray tracing which is very interesting and you know, as development sort of thing because that’s the kind of top end PC stuff. Yeah, that’s only just starting to come in. And that’s, that’s a whole new system that they can use for lighting and sounds. And, you know, like shadows and all sorts and rain and everything it is very diverse technology that can potentially, again, another one of those potentially revolutionise everything or, or might not, it depends how it goes. But again, that’s another thing both have said that it will have that, you know, that that will be something that the developers can use and implament. So we’ll see how big a difference that makes.

Ben Nother
Yeah, and again, you know, Ray tracing, I think it’s people are saying, Oh, well, how amazing it is for sort of like lighting and stuff, but I think it’s a lot of the sound stuff that gets overlooked with with the ray tracing. But then PlayStation having their own kind of sound design system as well.

Adam Thomas
The Tempest 3d audio tech, wee package thing. Yeah. Again, difference is a very clear indication of the kind of point of difference where Sony of when and you know that let’s let’s Tinker that wee bit more by adding this. And because, again, Mark Cerny GDC video where he mentioned the audio has often been the kind of the poor cousin of development in a lot of ways because you know everything has to fight for its own slice of the resources that are available to use in the console and your, your dialogue options and your your game world and the engine and the graphics, you know that tend to take up the biggest portion of it. So the audios often had, you know, the, the leftovers to work with and has done incredible things with it. But it’ not, it’s definitely an area where there’s plenty of room for improvement if you give there, you know, the audio teams and the developers that bit of dedicated hardware to go well go nuts. See what you can achieve with this and see if it makes any difference.

Ben Nother
Yeah, absolutely. And I think I sort of had I’m not sure whether my quote or my statement just now made it sort of seem that the PlayStation was going away from ray tracing with the tempest but I think actually, it’s something they’re going to be able to utilise together. So the tempest sort of seemed a bit more based around the user and delivering a kind of like an individual sort of sound system based upon your, your profile, how your, how your, your, your hearing sense kind of picks things out, and having different profiles that you can go through to make those sounds better, but I would imagine that that probably works with ray tracing, you know, different Systems, you can still use ray tracing for for sound delivery, the PlayStation then just has the tempest in there to allow you to receive it in a slightly more individual way.

Adam Thomas
But from our understanding of it, the ray tracing is obviously you know, it’s kind of engine side so it’s how you actually build the things up so and then it’s having, instead of having to like place like sound indicators or something manually into the, into the world, they can have it the ray tracing will set up so that the noisy sound like that’s where they’re coming from because in the game world, you know, a rock falls to your, your right hand side is actually sending the signals from the rock falling across the world to the player, you know, is actually doing it in world is If it’s real Which is why it has that kind of extra immersion factor to it, as opposed to them just kind of playing the sound of a rock falling and sort of angling it as if it was all on that side, I’m describing this very terribly. Can you tell I’m not a game developer?

Ben Nother
I know what you mean.

Adam Thomas
And yeah, and then the tempest, they all do tech stuff as just a dedicated bit of hardware for them to use to then deliver all of that stuff to the players without taking away from any of the graphics performance and CPU stuff that’s going on. So it has its own dedicated thing that’s doing doing it. And that way, it’s not hindered or limited by, you know, what else is happening. And yeah, in the same way that maybe it has been in the past. So again, if that’s implemented well and used by developers, particularly the third party developers, that would be very interesting to see how much of a difference that will make.

Ben Nother
Absolutely.

Adam Thomas
Yeah, I think we’ll close out with just some final thoughts. So you are you leaning one way or the other one, the console so far are you just neither here nor there?

Ben Nother
I am leaning more than one way, but it’s not really to do with kind of like the technical side of stuff. It’s much more to do with library and games.

Adam Thomas
So you’re just a blind fan boy.

Ben Nother
I mean, it’s, it’s definitely one that I think, you know, I have PlayStation for years. I’m invested in the ecosystem. Especially if PS five allows us to have a lot of backwards compatibility with with the games have already got there. And it’d be the same for Xbox. You can play all of your Xbox games on your current Xbox, why you wouldn’t want to leave that library behind. You know, whilst you might not, you know, I’m not really wanting to go back and play lots of older games, but I may do if it was available to me.

Adam Thomas
The option is always there. When you do have the, oh, well, I’ll just put this in and play it for half an hour. I don’t know, whatever, whatever, you have the option to do that, as opposed to, oh, well, I’ll have to take out my old console and plug it back in and faff about and do all that. And then when you think about doing that, you go nah. Whereas now you may actually do it a bit more often.

Ben Nother
Yeah. So I I’m definitely leaning more towards PlayStation.

Adam Thomas
I’m in much the same boat. As with all these things, so that that that’s as as things stand, because we don’t have a lot of information beyond just basic tech stuff when we actually see them. See the games that are coming for them and see how much they cost? Yeah, those are much bigger weighted factors that will swing it quiet significantly. But at the moment and with the kind of track record I know, Microsoft have bought a lot of studios in the last few years. But Sony have that kind of proven track record first party. Why is that? I know, a lot of their developers are very good and all their games usually are very good. They have that kind of credit in the bank as it were, particularly from this last generation as Xbox. A lot of a lot of the developers they bought up are very good and have good reputations. We haven’t seen much from them yet. You know, because they bought the weapon though. They’re starting on their, their new projects and whatever else that we haven’t quite got to yet.

Ben Nother
Yeah, I think we’ve we’ve seen sort of, you know, obsidian with the outer worlds, as you know, that did quite well last year. A lot of love for that game for a lot of people. Black Isle Studios who are making Baulder’s gate three. What I’ve heard about that it sounds really good. We’ve seen a lot of visuals in terms of like cutscenes and stuff like that for it, which are intriguing. But again, mean absolutely nothing.

Adam Thomas
Yeah, so yeah, it’s kind of hands on and gameplay demos and things. It’s basically we’re still in the dark. But now we have factsheets to watch the internet fight over which is, which is good. It’s good fun.

Ben Nother
Exactly, exactly. And pictures of control pads, which we’ll talk about at some other point.

Adam Thomas
Definitely. Well, thank you very much for joining me, Ben suggesting that we do this. And thank you for listening slash reading or whatever you’ve done with this, depending on how we put it out. Excellent. Thank you very much.

Ben Nother
Cool. Cheers, man.

Adam Thomas
Bye

Ben Nother
Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Categories
GamingOpinionPlayStationXbox

Ben is like a fine wine, he spends far to much time in cellars. He deliberately developed a stutter and a slur and walks with a limp to conceal his raging alcohol problem. Once beat up a fish for looking at him funny. Ben hosts the Tanked up podcast, but we are pretty sure he isn't aware of that.
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