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Is next-gen truly next-gen?

DrAspirino

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After watching the PS5 reveal and XSX reveal, along with their specs, this question raised onto my mind: are next-gen consoles truly next-gen?

Let me develop the idea.

Since videogame consoles birth, a "new generation" always meant a drastic improvement in video/audio quality, as well as different ways in which data is processed to that effect.

The examples that come close to my mind right now are the NES to SNES transition, from SNES to N64, from N64 to the Gamecube, from the Wii-U to the Switch (on Nintendo's side); from PS1 to PS2, from PS2 to PS3, from PS3 to PS4 (from PlayStation side); from Xbox to X360, and from X360 to Xbone: all of them had different architecture changes, different and innovative ways to control the characters, to produce sound and images and not just improvements over previous consoles.

Let's look then how current gen works and how "next-gen" works, shall we?

In current gen you have the following components: Optical media, internal storage, SDRAM, x86 APU, integrated memory controller, digital audio-video output, network controller (wired and wireless), and a "traditional" gamepad.

Next-gen? same: Optical media, internal storage, SDRAM, x86 APU, integrated memory controller, digital audio-video output, network controller (wired and wireless), and a "traditional" gamepad. All of the same just beefed up.

x86 is an architecture that has been in use since 1978. That's f*cking 42 years!!!

System architecture? the fucking same for the past 20 years!

Blu-ray has been in use as storage media since at lest 2008. SSD nand storage? in use since 1991. PCI-e bus? in use since 2004. Operating system? Windows (Xbox) and FreeBSD (PlayStation), both of which has been used for decades on different devices.

Anyway"next-gen" is not so "next" as it keeps the same structure and architecture and only increase the power. In fact, once you enter "x86 land", there are no more generations, as software on that architecture is scalable AF, as well as game engines (given the wide variety of PCs).

Sony and Microsoft could have designed their own architecture based on RISC-V or ARM, use innovative ways of storage (like optane or something like that), change the way memory and assets are accessed, think of new uses of the wireless network controller and stack, make some parts modular (or not at all), stream everything (or don't)....BUT DO SOMETHING NEW!! INNOVATIVE!!

Although, on the other hand, having the same architecture means backwards compatibility since day 0 (since it's the same architecture), which is a plus for the user.

Long gone are the days when consoles actually pushed technology forward, like Nintendo with the N64 (using a custom designed SGI chip) or Sony with the original PlayStation (that used a 3D chip that Sony used in their professional post-production equipment).

Anyway, what I'm saying is that this "next-gen" is just another "milestone" in the generation-less x86 land.
 
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DynamiteCop!

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I mean what Microsoft showed wasn't anything they were doing nor were they bigger projects in their event pipeline, they were overflow titles.

Sony showed what they did and it was very much generation 8.5 looking stuff, so we'll have to see what Microsoft actually puts out there before there's anything conclusive.

What we've seen from their first party though and the only instance of it yet looks better than anything Sony showed.

 

Pimpbaa

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Diminishing returns. Last gen to current gen was way less of a visual jump than the one before it. Large jumps in visuals is dead, now it’s about filling in the small details. We’ve already had some photorealistic games this gen (mostly racing games). Where do you expect them to do? Also custom hardware is costly and pointless when you have others who have what tech you need. Some custom cpu instead of x86 wouldn’t do a damn thing except make the console harder to develop for.
 
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I think half of that is a dev problem and not so a hardware problem hardware wont get exciting until VR goes mainstream "no idea when that will be" But until then hardware is going to be gradually improvements using X86 just how it is. Dev wise half of the reason why we havent seen anything next gen is because devs dont have the creative drive to do anything like that any more. When we went from Ps1 to Ps2 we went from a top down GTA to a full 3d one with radio stations and everything. Snes we had 2d side scrollers to now Mario 64 running at 60 fps in 3d. We could have those same leaps now but when you have devs say we want new hard ware " to tell a story" pre pair to get disappointed Graphics story > gameplay music is how most of those type of games go. Hot take but if thats what you are focing on as a game dev you might as well just chop up the cutscenes and put it on a blue ray and brand it as a movie.
 
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GermanZepp

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So, are you telling me that, from ps1 to ps2, to ps2 to ps3, and to ps3 to ps4 were nextgen jumps but ps4 to ps5 is not? With ssd's , 3d audio, a huge CPU and GPU and new feedback in the controllers? Edit: and that's without PSVR2. Imo, you need to be more patient. The nextgen software that is gonna make you wow is going to come in the next few years.
 
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LordOfChaos

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What does the focus on the ISA have to do with anything? PS1 ->PS2 were both MIPS, was that not a generational leap? The CPU upgrade is a good one, comparing it to the past when things moved more quickly because of more low hanging fruit is just unrealistic.

Companies do have to make money at the end of the day, and why spend billions on developing a new architecture when AMD is selling a readymade one with just about the same IPC as any of the rest, you also incur the risk of making something that's significantly worse than what's on the premade market. After Cell, I doubt anyone will have the apatite for that in consoles anymore, it's all going to be semicustom from now on.
 
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DrAspirino

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Diminishing returns. Last gen to current gen was way less of a visual jump than the one before it. Large jumps in visuals is dead, now it’s about filling in the small details. We’ve already had some photorealistic games this gen (mostly racing games). Where do you expect them to do? Also custom hardware is costly and pointless when you have others who have what tech you need. Some custom cpu instead of x86 wouldn’t do a damn thing except make the console harder to develop for.
I expect them to innovate. For example, they could feature using your smartphone as a second monitor (a la Wii-U) using wlan. They could feature expansion modules (like consoles did before) or even change the whole way we control the characters (like Nintendo has done),

And a custom CPU instead of x86 actually improves power consumption and performance-per-watt, as x86 is currently reaching its limit in that department. They could use the RISC-V or ARM ISA, for example, and add to it an AI coprocessor for better game AI. They would need to spend less in cooling, had smaller, sleeker products and boost the usage of those architectures.
 
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DaleinCalgary

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It's just more power, nothing else. And every boost in power brings less of a difference each time.

And just like every first year it's the worst one and keeps getting better from there.

ps...don't buy any EA sports games for the next 2 years.
 
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Yes 'Next Gen' is really just an upgrade on current gen.

True 'Next Gen' is not possible unless these companies want to bleed money and sell $1000+ consoles.
Innovation in the console space costs alot of money in R&D.

It's just more power, nothing else. And every boost in power brings less of a difference each time.

And just like every first year it's the worst one and keeps getting better from there.

ps...don't buy any EA sports games for the next 2 years.
Don't buy any EA sports games ever. Stopped wasting my money on Fifa years ago.
 
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DaleinCalgary

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And a custom CPU instead of x86 actually improves power consumption and performance-per-watt, as x86 is currently reaching its limit in that department. They could use the RISC-V or ARM ISA, for example, and add to it an AI coprocessor for better game AI. They would need to spend less in cooling, had smaller, sleeker products and boost the usage of those architectures.

not cost effective and not needed. These are consoles, not top of the line PC's. Let's not forget what a console actual is, a cheap way to play games easily on your couch by yourself or with friends. The PS3 became a lesson in what not to do for a CPU.
 
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LordOfChaos

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And a custom CPU instead of x86 actually improves power consumption and performance-per-watt, as x86 is currently reaching its limit in that department. They could use the RISC-V or ARM ISA, for example, and add to it an AI coprocessor for better game AI. They would need to spend less in cooling, had smaller, sleeker products and boost the usage of those architectures.

And spend 3 billion developing a new architecture that has the risk of landing under where AMDs readymade semicustom solutions do and looking really bad compared to their competition. Shaving $2 off the heatsink won't make up for that, even if you did land above AMD in perf/watt.

After the lossy 7th gen, no one has the apatite for that anymore, and I think your wishes are unrealistic.



Between Apple and AMD, they have a huge portion of TSMCs capacity for 7nm tapped out, the best mass market fab on the planet, so that could also be a factor. Everything AMD orders combined leads to their importance to TSMC, but you'd have to go it alone for a custom console order, a consoles yearly sales are nothing to smartphones and computers.
 

namekuseijin

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the only true nextgen is called VR. It's the largest generational jump since 2D to 3D back in the 90s.

the fact that flatlanders decided to turn a blind eye to this extra dimension in gaming is their loss, they're forever condemned to count ever more pixels in the limits of a flatscreen in the same button-mashing games as ever and to argue about diminishing returns
 
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DaleinCalgary

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the only true nextgen is called VR. It's the largest generational jump since 2D to 3D back in the 90s.

the fact that flatlanders decided to turn a blind eye to this extra dimension in gaming is their loss, they're forever condemned to count ever more pixels in the limits of a flatscreen in the same button-mashing games as ever and to argue about diminishing returns

If consumers asks for more VR you will most likely get it.
 

Vawn

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Diminishing returns. The speed of the SSDs is the biggest noticeable difference.
 

Leonidas

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Nothing has changed from last gen.

Consoles are low cost walled garden PCs.

PCs are already faster than the consoles and will become significantly faster soon thanks new CPU and GPU architectures in the coming years. Starting this year PC CPU and GPU architecture will be a generation beyond console.
 

Lethal01

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Since videogame consoles birth, a "new generation" always meant a drastic improvement in video/audio quality, as well as different ways in which data is processed to that effect.

And a drastic improvement is exactly what we got, so yeah, it is very much truly next gen.



The SSD is also bring about a quantum leap in possibilities.

PCs are already faster than the consoles and will become significantly faster soon thanks new CPU and GPU architectures in the coming years. Starting this year PC CPU and GPU architecture will be a generation beyond console.

Just as they were last year, thanks to next gen that power will finally be put the good use.
 
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Pimpbaa

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I expect them to innovate. For example, they could feature using your smartphone as a second monitor (a la Wii-U) using wlan. They could feature expansion modules (like consoles did before) or even change the whole way we control the characters (like Nintendo has done),

And a custom CPU instead of x86 actually improves power consumption and performance-per-watt, as x86 is currently reaching its limit in that department. They could use the RISC-V or ARM ISA, for example, and add to it an AI coprocessor for better game AI. They would need to spend less in cooling, had smaller, sleeker products and boost the usage of those architectures.

The Wii U was an example of what NOT to do. It worked for the ds and 3ds because the screens were close together, otherwise no one wants a second screen to distract them. And expansions were almost all failures, and people were left with unsupported junk. Different controls? Only success there was the Wii, after the gimmick wore off people went back to standard controllers. As for CPU, LordOfChaos covered that pretty well.
 
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Bolivar687

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It's the best we're going to get. The sooner you make peace with that, the better.

Complaining about x86, optical media, or a traditional gamepads makes no sense. These are things the industry matured into, while alternatives died out for valid reasons. I'm all for innovation but not for gimmicks that move us backwards.
 

ACESHIGH

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To me next gen is all about VR. I will still enjoy traditional games but I really want to make the jump to VR. Just driving on the Nurburing circuit in VR or playing Alien Isolation. That's all I need
 

lastmessiah

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To me next gen is all about VR. I will still enjoy traditional games but I really want to make the jump to VR. Just driving on the Nurburing circuit in VR or playing Alien Isolation. That's all I need

VR is here man. The games have been trickling in and with Half Life things just got official.
 
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namekuseijin

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If consumers asks for more VR you will most likely get it.

they won't ask for more VR while there's not nearly enough content

kids like trendy games. Is Minecraft in VR? No. GTAV? No. Overwatch, Doom Eternal, whatever? No.

there are awesome games in VR, including some AAA ports but while it's a small selection of renowned flat games, it'll always be a hard sell

it's a chicken and egg problem and the first step gotta be from content providers... PS4 was a huge bottleneck in power for higher flights for psvr, PS5 could potentially change that. Except they showed nothing when they should...
 
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To me next gen is all about VR. I will still enjoy traditional games but I really want to make the jump to VR. Just driving on the Nurburing circuit in VR or playing Alien Isolation. That's all I need
I can't wait for High rez foveated rendering Headsets. Also Augmented Reality glasses.

The jump after that is when you can connect the brain and get taste, smell and touch too.
 

Leonidas

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Just as they were last year, thanks to next gen that power will finally be put the good use.

Same story as last gen, the base line improved and we got better looking games as a result. Killzone and Ryse looked great at launch, but didn't change the fact that the consoles were simply weak, low cost, walled PCs.

Nothing has changed.
 
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jaysius

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For the price of hardware right now, there's nowhere to safely go without killing your profit margins for PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Both current platforms(PS4 and Xbox One) have stagnated with what they can do vs what gamers expect.

This generation is a half-step because money. Both parties are churning out the hype extra heavy because they know this isn't going to be as dramatic as PS2 from PS1, or even PS3 to PS4.

I'm not believing any footage from anyone until the final releases hit. It could all be bullshot for all we know, perfectly tailored demos that don't show any weakness or hiccups.

I wouldn't be shocked if they push the bells and whistles so hard that all we get is 30FPS at 4k.
 
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teezzy

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Here's the specs of the Series X:


  • CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
  • GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
  • Die Size: 360.45 mm2
  • Process: 7nm Enhanced
  • Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320mb bus
  • Memory Bandwidth: 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
  • Internal Storage: 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
  • I/O Throughput: 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
  • Expandable Storage: 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
  • External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
  • Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
  • Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

That's a beefy little compact machine, bro. The fact that a console is dropping with these specs is nuts.

If a GPU comparable to an RTX 2070 Super alongside an SSD in a home console doesn't scream next gen to you then I don't know what will.

Microsoft is almost certainly going to take a loss on the hardware at launch. Hopefully all this additional hype around developers integrating SSDs into game design pays off as well.
 
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I expect them to innovate. For example, they could feature using your smartphone as a second monitor (a la Wii-U) using wlan. They could feature expansion modules (like consoles did before) or even change the whole way we control the characters (like Nintendo has done),

And a custom CPU instead of x86 actually improves power consumption and performance-per-watt, as x86 is currently reaching its limit in that department. They could use the RISC-V or ARM ISA, for example, and add to it an AI coprocessor for better game AI. They would need to spend less in cooling, had smaller, sleeker products and boost the usage of those architectures.
I wanted sony to take out the touch pad and just make it a pure lcd screen that would be really cool.
 
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Mistershine.

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I expect them to innovate. For example, they could feature using your smartphone as a second monitor (a la Wii-U) using wlan. They could feature expansion modules (like consoles did before) or even change the whole way we control the characters (like Nintendo has done),
Microsoft have already done this with smart glass, on both the 360 and current gen. It's not as great as it sounds. Dead rising 3 made use of it and the novelty soon wore off.
 

baphomet

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I expect them to innovate. For example, they could feature using your smartphone as a second monitor (a la Wii-U) using wlan. They could feature expansion modules (like consoles did before) or even change the whole way we control the characters (like Nintendo has done),

And a custom CPU instead of x86 actually improves power consumption and performance-per-watt, as x86 is currently reaching its limit in that department. They could use the RISC-V or ARM ISA, for example, and add to it an AI coprocessor for better game AI. They would need to spend less in cooling, had smaller, sleeker products and boost the usage of those architectures.

These are terrible ideas that thankfully you'll never see again in consoles.
 
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EightBit Man

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Next-gen used to mean something. Instead of minor improvements in fidelity, the leaps were gigantic once upon a time. I'm far more impressed by some of the older games, than I am by the games of today. Also, high-end consoles still not attaining 60 frames per second is laughable at best, and it shows you that eye candy gets prioritized over smooth and responsive gameplay. All for the sake of PR-nonsense like 4k.

I also have the feeling that during the upcoming generation, gamers will run into serious issues when it comes to storage on these consoles.
 
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Investor9872

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I consider "Next-Gen" as having new technology that was not possible in the previous console generation. With the PS5, the custom SSD is definitely next-gen. With both the XSX and the PS5, the CPU and GPU are leaps and bounds better than the Jaguar chipsets in the X1X and PS4. So yes to next-gen.
 
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Men_in_Boxes

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We have yet to get that "Holy crap, this feels like next gen" moment. Everything so far feels like they put makeup on a PS4 game.

Maybe Microsoft gives us that moment?
 

Grinchy

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This happens every generation.

People said this even when PS4 came out. But you get a year or two in, try a PS3 game, and see the vaseline-smeared camera lens with yellow/brown filter at 720p with barely any AA and realize how wrong you were.

The same will happen this time, just like every time. The games shown so far are a massive leap and they are launch games that weren't even in the final stages of production during a pandemic.
 
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samporter

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I think the less than significant next gen look can be blamed on the system specs, specifically the amount of physical memory. From PS1 to PS4, memory grew by a factor of around 16x. From PS4 to PS5, memory only grew 2x. Let's look at how the consoles' ram grew over each generation.

PS1 - 2MB
PS2- 32MB
PS3- 256MB
PS4- 8GB
PS5- 16GB

As you can see, each generation from PS1 to PS4 saw massive improvements to ram, which meant bigger worlds and details. PS4 to PS5 only saw a 2x improvement. I would think that it would take at least 64GB of ram before we can recognize an immediate improvement.
 

emmerrei

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It's not like you're going to make a new architecture or a new OS from the ground up just for the sake of "new", at every new console cycle. What we have is the result of decades of advancements, that can't remake in a period of time who goes from a console to another. If we're still using the x86 architecture, that's just means that on the market there isn't anything better than something created 40years ago. The only downside of x86 is that is more power angry. ARM architecture with it's reduced instruction set isn't the best to be used on a PC, or a console in this case.
Of all the components in the new console, the only one who isn't really updated is the BluRay disc. That's something who need a revamp.Who knows, maybe there is a laser better than the blue one.(violet?lol) The jump from dvd and bluerays happened thanks to the new lasers., who was able to shrink more data in less space. From one side that, to the other the continue moving to only digital stuff, and the optic disc got leaved to it's destiny.
 
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Thicc Enigma

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I think the less than significant next gen look can be blamed on the system specs, specifically the amount of physical memory. From PS1 to PS4, memory grew by a factor of around 16x. From PS4 to PS5, memory only grew 2x. Let's look at how the consoles' ram grew over each generation.

PS1 - 2MB
PS2- 32MB
PS3- 256MB
PS4- 8GB
PS5- 16GB

As you can see, each generation from PS1 to PS4 saw massive improvements to ram, which meant bigger worlds and details. PS4 to PS5 only saw a 2x improvement. I would think that it would take at least 64GB of ram before we can recognize an immediate improvement.
64GB of RAM is quite the stretch considering the highest of highest fidelity games alongside high frames per second don't even use up 16GB of RAM on PC. I think it has less to do with ram and more with CPU/GPU/I/0 though of course you'd need a decent amount of RAM to push things forward but 64GB is definitely not necessary.
 

samporter

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64GB of RAM is quite the stretch considering the highest of highest fidelity games alongside high frames per second don't even use up 16GB of RAM on PC. I think it has less to do with ram and more with CPU/GPU/I/0 though of course you'd need a decent amount of RAM to push things forward but 64GB is definitely not necessary.

My point was that with massive improvement to ram also saw massive improvements to details. If PS1 went from 2MB to 4MB or PS2 went from 32MB to 64MB and PS3 went from 256MB to 512MB, we would all probably consider such improvements as not next gen. But that is the case with the PS4 to PS5.

I get why the PS5 has 16GB, it's a cost issue. The physical memory market, especially on the consumer side, has been stagnant and slow to grow.
 
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nemiroff

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There's no leap, just a marketing spin of a chain of iterations. And because of system wars a lot of people force themselves to deepthroat the PR BS. With that said I really do appreciate the technology going forward, we've come a long way since I started playing games.. And I'm really looking forward to ray tracing to finally materialize.
 
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On the paper, we have incredible generation jump thanks too CPU alone, From trash mobile jaguar level to fucking 8 cores Ryzen 2, from 1.8 TF gpu to 9-10.2 RDNA 2, ssd and bunch of other technological improvements yet games shown by sony, besides fast level loading in Ratchet, did not represent such a big hardware improvements. Maybe we should blame crossplay and multiplatform? Im sure we will see incredible looking games in 2-3 years from now, but even ps 4 which hardware-wise was considered pretty bad on paper, melt our eyes with Order 1886 and Shadowfall soon after release. And now we have consoles in par wth high end pc's and they showed us games that sometimes looked worse than Order 1886 lmao. If 4k with few ray tracing improvements is that demanding for new consoles, then i would be more than happy for playing amazing looking games in 1444p or even 1080p without RT imo
 
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killatopak

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I remember we asked this back in 2013 when what we just saw was higher resolution and better graphics.

Look where we are now.
 

Dontero

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When people switched from PS3 era to PS4 they also asked if this is the next gen.
You don't know what is coming based on first games.

GTA games in PS3 era were very rare and only handful of developers were able to make open world games with such detail.

Enter PS4 era and open world games are everywhere.
 

Coolwhhip

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My point was that with massive improvement to ram also saw massive improvements to details. If PS1 went from 2MB to 4MB or PS2 went from 32MB to 64MB and PS3 went from 256MB to 512MB, we would all probably consider such improvements as not next gen. But that is the case with the PS4 to PS5.

I get why the PS5 has 16GB, it's a cost issue. The physical memory market, especially on the consumer side, has been stagnant and slow to grow.

You should watch the Cerny talk, because that's not the reason.
 

Rikkori

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For me next-gen has to do with interactivity. Not gonna lie, when I saw R&C I was wow'ed but then later I saw some older R&C game and what struck me was how similar the two games are. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, the game is the game, but when I look at that I don't think 'wow, that's next-gen' (because of pretty graphics), I think 'wow, shit hasn't really changed much at all huh?' And it's like that for most games that are AAA or exclusives.

That's why I'm not a Star Citizen hater, because I see what they're trying to do and I'm happy about it since no one else dares try it (and maybe they suceed, or maybe they won't but at least they try). Same reason I was so blown away by Kingdom Come Deliverance, which is on a much smaller scale, but it does a lot of things to push open-world RPG forward rather than rehashing the same formula and adding more sprinkles (ala Assassin's Creed, which I also love). Same for some other AA & indie titles.

This gen devs could hide behind the weak Jaguar cpu a lot, but I'm hoping they start being more experimental because with the amount of CPU power they have in both consoles, sky's the limit tbh (aka dev talent + time).