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Opinion Hardware No, Series S/Lockhart Will NOT Hold Back Series X (From Technology POV). Here's Why.

Aug 28, 2019
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Y'all remember this little gem? It came out in 2014 for PS4...but it also came out for the then-last gen systems of PS3 and 360.

The PS4 version was the lead platform, despite the game also having a last-gen version available, and prioritized the Nemesis system. This highly advanced AI system was impossible to implement on 360 and PS3....so it was simply outright removed altogether for those versions.

Here's a game, from a company much smaller than Microsoft, working with a game on two generations of hardware saying "'Ya know what? Why should we gimp the PS4 version for the 360 and PS3? We'll just remove that entire Nemesis game mechanic from the old versions instead. No need to hold back the next-gen version for the old consoles!"

So tell me, if a company the size of Monolith Productions was able to prioritize the then-leading next-gen system for game mechanics built solely for that system even when they KNEW the same version of the game on older systems would not be able to run those new game mechanics...why do some people think Microsoft will somehow NOT take this exact same approach if a game requires it? They have already mentioned that Halo Infinite (arguably their biggest upcoming 1st-party release) is using the Series X as the lead platform; you can bet that if the Series X version has game features the Series S is unable to run, they would much sooner just remove them from Series S version rather than punishing the Series X version from using them whatsoever.

Not to mention, with Microsoft's own capital and resources, this is something they could do much easier than Monolith Productions was able to do six years prior, and that's assuming the Series X and Series S versions are being developed by the same studios. If we look at MS's own prior track record with games like Forza Horizon 2, there's a strong chance different teams will handle versions between the two platforms.

Look, I still have my own reservations regarding Lockhart/Series S, but they left this realm of "it'll hold next-gen back!" a LONG time ago. There is literally no legitimate ground anymore for someone to hedge concern around Series S on that idea anymore, when we can look at games like SOM alone as well as the logical reality of how MS will prioritize software development (or already have). At this point, it comes off almost as concern-trolling.

If you want to talk about Lockhart/Series S in terms of it complicating production allocation between it and Series X, or possibly influencing pricing between the two models in an undesired way, those are fair game. Those are still areas of concern with Series S TBQH (and PS5 to a lesser extent with its dual SKUs). But this whole argument that Series X won't be exploited to its full potential due to the presence of Series S, is more or less a dead argument at this point. Too much evidence points to the contrary.
 

NickFire

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Do you really think MS will be cool with publishers cutting entire systems or ai or features to allow a game to run on a brand new cutting edge (as advertised anyway) system?

Of course not. Huge difference between cutting features for legacy hardware than brand new hardware.
 
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KAL2006

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I thought OP would just simply show example of PCs having to run games with graphic options. But instead shows a example of a game that changes the gameplay fully. Also I'm assuming the last gen version of Shadow of Mordo had alot of optimization probably another team working on it taking alot of resources.
 

Bolivar687

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First, the Nemesis system was a gameplay feature. It does not correlate to the visual implications a system like Lockhart could have next generation.

But more importantly, there's a difference between removing features from a previous generation console and removing it from a current generation SKU. Their strategy to overperform and underprice Sony doesn't really work if you have to gimp games to this extent to get there. It adds to the likelihood that in having an enthusiast machine beyond what Sony is offering, and an entry level product with significant compromises, they are allowing Sony to have the market all to themselves in what most consumers are actually looking for in a next-gen machine.
 
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Do you really think MS will be cool with publishers cutting entire systems or ai or features to allow a game to run on a brand new cutting edge (as advertised anyway) system?

Of course not. Huge difference between cutting features for legacy hardware than brand new hardware.
It's not up to MS for 3rd parties; that comes down to the publisher. MS only mandates their 1st party support both Series X and Series S, but haven't specified how.

If a team told them they had a cool game mechanic only possible on Series X, MS (or better to say, the Xbox division) would probably be okay with that feature being either scaled back or removed just for Series S version. No reason why not to do so; people should already know you're getting a compromise with Series S since it's cheaper.

First, the Nemesis system was a gameplay feature. It does not correlate to the visual implications a system like Lockhart could have next generation.

But more importantly, there's a difference between removing features from a previous generation console and removing it from a current generation SKU. Their strategy to overperform and underprice Sony doesn't really work if you have to run inferior versions of games to get there. It adds to the likelihood that in having an enthusiast machine beyond what Sony is offering, and an entry level product with significant compromises, they are allowing Sony to have the market all to themselves in what most consumers are actually looking for in a next-gen machine.
This is completely false. Again, think through it, don't just rehearse a scripted response. I don't talk about visuals here because those are arguably the EASIEST things to scale up/down, not just in terms of resolution but also in textures used, polygon counts per model, instances of models on-screen and more.

The big argument by people thinking Lockhart will hold XSX back is that it prevents them from exploring game mechanics and features that XSX could handle but Series S might not. I literally provide a valid example but now it's suddenly not valid because the weaker systems there were legacy platforms? It has nothing to do with systems being legacy or not.

Again, Series S is meant as a price-conscious compromise; there is nothing in terms of policy or features preventing MS from allowing 1st party to scale back on game mechanics between the two SKUs if you already know 3rd parties will do just that if they need to. Why allow 3rd parties to do such a thing yet stipulate your 1st party from doing so if they really need to? MS should just use backwards logic because reasons?

They aren't ceding anything to Sony with this approach, particularly when again we have the other examples as provided here in SOM, Forza Horizon 2 etc. Series S is replacing the legacy XBO S and XBO X platforms, but it is still effectively the budget option. What company on this planet would let their budget offering hold back their higher-end offering especially when they've been leading marketing with the latter?

I thought OP would just simply show example of PCs having to run games with graphic options. But instead shows a example of a game that changes the gameplay fully. Also I'm assuming the last gen version of Shadow of Mordo had alot of optimization probably another team working on it taking alot of resources.
Yes I chose SOM to illustrate how game mechanics, if need be, could just be stripped down or removed between different versions of the platform if required. The leading argument by people who say Lockhart will hold back XSX isn't in graphics, but gameplay/game mechanics being held back.

My case here is saying that if the higher-end system is being used as the base, and it has game mechanics the lower-performing system can't handle, rather than axing those mechanics from the higher-end version they'd just remove them from the lower-end one. There are already examples of this such as with SOM.

I suspect it either costed Monolith Productions a good deal of money to do the last-gen port themselves or they had another team do it; MS completely streamlines this process with their SDK environment for 1st-parties plus the resources the 1st parties have to take care of such things. That should help immensely with manpower and costs if in fact the two versions are both being done internally.
 
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Investor9872

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Y'all remember this little gem? It came out in 2014 for PS4...but it also came out for the then-last gen systems of PS3 and 360.

The PS4 version was the lead platform, despite the game also having a last-gen version available, and prioritized the Nemesis system. This highly advanced AI system was impossible to implement on 360 and PS3....so it was simply outright removed altogether for those versions.

Here's a game, from a company much smaller than Microsoft, working with a game on two generations of hardware saying "'Ya know what? Why should we gimp the PS4 version for the 360 and PS3? We'll just remove that entire Nemesis game mechanic from the old versions instead. No need to hold back the next-gen version for the old consoles!"
Mate. You know I have agreed with many of your opinions, and although I'm very interested in the business model of Lockhart, I believe there are a few complaints already been made by developers about how they don't want to develop for Lockhart.
 

CerealBro1

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Oh hell OP, you are comparing an entirely different beast here all together. A better example would be Rise of The Tomb Raider. ROTR Came out in late 2015 for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. The Xbox 360's CPU could run the game just fine (as will be the same for Lockhart and XSX as they will have the same CPU, even though clocks are unknown) but the two limiting factors were the RAM and the GPU. How did they fix this? The Xbox 360 version ran at a lower resolution (like 640p vs 1080p I think) and also had much, much lower quality textures. However, they still ran exactly the same at a structural level even though one version looked like absolute ass


Now imagine this with Lockhart and XSX. There is a much lower RAM deficit between those two systems (7.5 usable vs 13.5 usable) and Xbox 360/XB1 (512MB total vs 5.5 usable) AND there is a much greater gap in the target resolutions between the systems (4k for XSX and 1080p for Lockhart vs 1080p for XB1 and 720P for 360). Lockhart will run games exactly the same just at a much lower resolution, just like how games are on PC
 

NickFire

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It's not up to MS for 3rd parties; that comes down to the publisher. MS only mandates their 1st party support both Series X and Series S, but haven't specified how.

If a team told them they had a cool game mechanic only possible on Series X, MS (or better to say, the Xbox division) would probably be okay with that feature being either scaled back or removed just for Series S version. No reason why not to do so; people should already know you're getting a compromise with Series S since it's cheaper.
Agree to disagree on both counts, and the overall premise.

1) MS will almost certainly have either contractual or "staying in their good graces" leverage to ensure feature parity between S and X.
2) MS will almost certainly be completely opposed to removing mechanics for the S if they work on X. They will be pitching S as a value proposition and/or all that is needed for next generation games at 1080P. Both images are harmed by having gimped games on it compared to X (beyond resolution and FPS).
3) I submit your entire argument is defeated by your rationale. The simple act of designing games with features that are removable (and hence, non-essential) will hold hypothetical features back from reaching their full potential.
 
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Grinchy

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If I still had a bunch of them saved, I could post direct screenshot comparisons of Battlefield 4 (Cross-gen PS4 launch game) versus Killzone Shadowfall (Next-gen PS4 1st party launch game).

Visually, there's no comparison between the two. Killzone was so far ahead. And that's because Battlefield 4 was held back by the nature of the reality that it was nothing but an enhanced version of a last-gen game. If that's all you want on your brand new next-gen system, then more power to you. I'd rather have actual next-gen software on mine, so I won't make weird excuses and arguments for the lack of them existing while handing over my money.

To think that 3rd party developers may be shackled with the baseline having to be a system with 1/3 of the GPU power of the actual next-gen systems is saddening.
 
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Bolivar687

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This is completely false. Again, think through it, don't just rehearse a scripted response. I don't talk about visuals here because those are arguably the EASIEST things to scale up/down, not just in terms of resolution but also in textures used, polygon counts per model, instances of models on-screen and more.

The big argument by people thinking Lockhart will hold XSX back is that it prevents them from exploring game mechanics and features that XSX could handle but Series S might not. I literally provide a valid example but now it's suddenly not valid because the weaker systems there were legacy platforms? It has nothing to do with systems being legacy or not.

Again, Series S is meant as a price-conscious compromise; there is nothing in terms of policy or features preventing MS from allowing 1st party to scale back on game mechanics between the two SKUs if you already know 3rd parties will do just that if they need to. Why allow 3rd parties to do such a thing yet stipulate your 1st party from doing so if they really need to? MS should just use backwards logic because reasons?

They aren't ceding anything to Sony with this approach, particularly when again we have the other examples as provided here in SOM, Forza Horizon 2 etc. Series S is replacing the legacy XBO S and XBO X platforms, but it is still effectively the budget option. What company on this planet would let their budget offering hold back their higher-end offering especially when they've been leading marketing with the latter?
I don't know what you mean by completely false. Maybe I am only speaking for myself alone, but I am indeed concerned about Lockhart holding back graphical innovation in the same way consoles hold it back on PC, regardless of how easy it is to scale. Part of why high resolutions and framerates are so common in PC gaming is because developers really aren't pushing the boundaries of what our video cards can handle anymore.

I'm not saying Microsoft can't go this route, or that they won't do it for 1st party versus 3rd party - I'm just saying it would be a disaster.
 

LeVictorien

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I don't think explaining this will convince them. Even if you show games, they'll say things like "it could've been better with more complicated Ai and bigger worlds!" while having nothing better on other systems...
 
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Flashy Wizard

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OP, I agree 100%. If Lockhart’s specs are as rumored and it retains the same feature set of its bigger sibling, SFS should play a vital role in game development on the console.
 

Armorian

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They won't create two different games FFS.

FACTS are: Next gen multiplatform developers will be limted by 7.5GB of RAM available by XSS, that's just 2.5GB more than on PS4/X1 - think about that. While on PS5 Sony studios will use all available memory for whatever they want (like give 90% of it for the CPU).

Jumping from 1080p to 4K takes betweem 2-3GB of memory, XSS is missing 6 https://www.neogaf.com/threads/the-verge-xbox-series-s-7-5gb-usable-ram-4tf-gpu-up-same-cpu.1551213/page-12#post-258972654
 

Dr Bass

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They won't create two different games FFS.

FACTS are: Next gen multiplatform developers will be limted by 7.5GB of RAM available by XSS, that's just 2.5GB more than on PS4/X1 - think about that. While on PS5 Sony studios will use all available memory for whatever they want (like give 90% of it for the CPU).

Jumping from 1080p to 4K takes betweem 2-3GB of memory, XSS is missing 6 https://www.neogaf.com/threads/the-verge-xbox-series-s-7-5gb-usable-ram-4tf-gpu-up-same-cpu.1551213/page-12#post-258972654
Using 90% of a systems RAM for CPU related data ... and 10% for the graphics to be rendered to a 4k frame?

I guarantee you the AMD/Microsoft engineers know what kind of RAM differences they need between the S and the X to make it work. The S won't hold back the X. It's fine.
 

NickFire

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Thurott just posted a piece saying some developers are no longer worried.

The rationale for why concern has damped seems to be, in my opinion, that devs will just target the S and boost graphics to 4k / better FPS on the X. To me this is not a win for people hoping to see what the X is truly capable of. At this point I see no purpose for the X unless you want 4k graphics.

In all seriousness, what is the point of a Series X if you don't have a 4k TV?
 

Omeggos

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I see it like pc gaming. Some games are designed to take advantage of a rtx 2080 with added ray tracing, 4k 120fps or whatever. but it can still run on a gtx 970, you just need to lower the resolution and various graphical settings for 1080p/60fps
 
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LeftThumbstick

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Mate. You know I have agreed with many of your opinions, and although I'm very interested in the business model of Lockhart, I believe there are a few complaints already been made by developers about how they don't want to develop for Lockhart.
Sources on that? Can't just bat out stuff like that as facts without providing sources.
 

Omeggos

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The rationale for why concern has damped seems to be, in my opinion, that devs will just target the S and boost graphics to 4k / better FPS on the X. To me this is not a win for people hoping to see what the X is truly capable of. At this point I see no purpose for the X unless you want 4k graphics.

In all seriousness, what is the point of a Series X if you don't have a 4k TV?
Who doesn’t have a 4k tv these days? Walmart and target have pretty much replaced all their 1080’s with 4k’s at equally cheap prices.

you can buy a 50” 4k tv for pretty much as low as $220
 
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Sacred

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VRS will ensure that it will operate at the same fidelity at a lower resolution, which is fine with me. As long as the Series X is the lead console for each game in development.
 
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LeftThumbstick

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Who doesn’t have a 4k tv these days? Walmart and target have pretty much replaced all their 1080’s with 4k’s at equally cheap prices.

you can buy a 50” 4k tv for pretty much as low as $220
I've had a 4K TV for the good part of 4-5 years now? Basically since they came out and it wasn't mega expensive either, no where close to £1000 even. It's a beauty though and i'm not sure what is but watching raw 4K content sometimes feels like you are watching directly through the camera lense, the clarity is insane sometimes. I do need to invest in a HDR capable one for the X though.
 
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Nikana

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The rationale for why concern has damped seems to be, in my opinion, that devs will just target the S and boost graphics to 4k / better FPS on the X. To me this is not a win for people hoping to see what the X is truly capable of. At this point I see no purpose for the X unless you want 4k graphics.

In all seriousness, what is the point of a Series X if you don't have a 4k TV?
I'm not really sure what you're asking. If a game is made for the series S or X it's the same features but one targets 1080p and other 4K. All of the graphical features are capable on either GPU.

When a developer sits down to make a design doc and gets to GPU features, I don't see anything being cut because the series S only hits a render resolution of 1080p. The effects are the same and be implemented in either scenario. But the effects can have a greater effect on series X. Ray tracing at higher resolution, better AF, Better LOD, etc.

It will require more optimization for sure. But there's no real reason why a feature or graphical feature will be cut when both boxes support them.
 

Armorian

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Using 90% of a systems RAM for CPU related data ... and 10% for the graphics to be rendered to a 4k frame?

I guarantee you the AMD/Microsoft engineers know what kind of RAM differences they need between the S and the X to make it work. The S won't hold back the X. It's fine.
It will hold back ALL next gen multiplatform games. Giving 90% of memory for CPU was just an example but it could be done. Next gen game swill start big with resolutions (4K native games on PS5 showed) but after that resolutions will drop and more and more reconstruction techniques will be used. I always was XSS advocate, I think GPU is not the problem at all but this shit amount of memory is. Base next gen jump for 1080p is:

- 1.8TF - 4TF (probably ~6 in "GCN flops")
- 5GB (for games) - 7.5GB

For 4K:

- 6TF - 12TF (more in arch comparison)
- 9GB - 12.5GB (?)

That means slighty more than 2x jump in fidelity and it shows in "barely next gen" games but memory increase is just pitiful.
 

Rikkori

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Playing through Shadow of War atm, Monolith are BASED!

Devs will be fine, Lockhart is gonna be a budget beast. People are embarrassing themselves fretting over it when the fucking Switch even gets ports. If LH didn't have the same CPU + SSD I'd worry but the gpu is honestly irrelevant for worrying about it because it's so easy to scale around it.
 

NickFire

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I'm not really sure what you're asking. If a game is made for the series S or X it's the same features but one targets 1080p and other 4K. All of the graphical features are capable on either GPU.

When a developer sits down to make a design doc and gets to GPU features, I don't see anything being cut because the series S only hits a render resolution of 1080p. The effects are the same and be implemented in either scenario. But the effects can have a greater effect on series X. Ray tracing at higher resolution, better AF, Better LOD, etc.

It will require more optimization for sure. But there's no real reason why a feature or graphical feature will be cut when both boxes support them.
My question was as simple as it was written, but I can understand if I seem naive asking it. I had hoped X would utilize its power in different ways, perhaps even with games that don't target 4k because of how demanding the games were just at lower resolutions like 1080p. But it seems clear that won't be the case, and that X will instead just be better resolution and FPS of what runs on the S. As my family has all 1080P TV's, I honestly wonder if its just a big waste of money for us to get the X. And that dampens my enthusiasm for next gen.
 

Kataploom

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Sorry OP, while I agree that S won't hold back X games, this is not even remotely the same case as the one you're specifying.

These new consoles wil have the same exact CPU, which is the most important in terms of game experience, but GPU are different only for resolution scale.

In example, Xbox One and One X have the same exact CPU, but One X has a buffed GPU only for 4K, and the games look at higher res while keeping same gaming experience.

Also, the RAM in Series S is gonna be smaller but that's more than enough for 1080p games, since these new consoles will use SSD for supporting I/O.

Actually, games would probably run better in Series S than in PS5, only at lower resolution, if they go to over the top with resolution and IQ, leaving framerate as second class citizen, afaik, it actually happens in current gen base vs buffed consoles.
 
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Nikana

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My question was as simple as it was written, but I can understand if I seem naive asking it. I had hoped X would utilize its power in different ways, perhaps even with games that don't target 4k because of how demanding the games were just at lower resolutions like 1080p. But it seems clear that won't be the case, and that X will instead just be better resolution and FPS of what runs on the S. As my family has all 1080P TV's, I honestly wonder if its just a big waste of money for us to get the X. And that dampens my enthusiasm for next gen.
There's no reason to think they can't use the power in other ways to not hit 4k and/or 1080p. Developers have that freedom.
 

Nikana

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You really think Ms will allow only on Series X games after launching Series S?
I mean it's possible but my point was that a developer isn't mandated to hit 4k and 1080p. That's just what Microsoft has outlined as a vision for these boxes.

If a developer wants to Target hire graphical features at the sacrifice of hitting a 4K resolution (on series X) they have that freedom. Lockhart doesn't have to hit 1080p as well.
 
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RasAlGhoul

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I’m not a dev. But I do know two of them. One of them at a very large publisher and studio called Lockhart a “boat anchor” to me.

I hope he’s wrong. Cause if it is one all gamers suffer. No matter your platform of choice.
 
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Nikana

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I’m not a dev. But I do know two of them. One of them at a very large publisher and studio called Lockhart a “boat anchor” to me.

I hope he’s wrong. Cause if it is one all gamers suffer. No matter your platform of choice.
Unless you have receipts I'd keep that to yourself.
 

RasAlGhoul

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Unless you have receipts I'd keep that to yourself.

I don’t record voice conversations I have with friends. And it’s just someone’s opinion. Not a statement of fact.

Edit: and in all fairness that’s an opinion based on leaked specs. Not time on a dev kit. But it’s certainly a more informed opinion than us arm chair experts.
 
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CatLady

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Lockhart will just run games at lower resolutions, that’s it. It’s a great idea that will potentially yield a healthy increase in market share for MS.

Hell, I will get one just to play exclusives.
I have absolutely no interest in the PS5 because I don't like Sony games and XsX is obviously the best place for 3rd parties. That said, I loved HZD and I'm pretty interested in GoT.

There is no way in hell I would ever pay $400 - $500+ to play 1 PS5 game and 1 BC Ps4 game. If Sony offered something like Lockhart at around $200 with Horizon 2 included, I would definitely consider getting one.
 

Entroyp

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I have absolutely no interest in the PS5 because I don't like Sony games and XsX is obviously the best place for 3rd parties. That said, I loved HZD and I'm pretty interested in GoT.

There is no way in hell I would ever pay $400 - $500+ to play 1 PS5 game and 1 BC Ps4 game. If Sony offered something like Lockhart at around $200 with Horizon 2 included, I would definitely consider getting one.
I get your point, and it’s completely valid. In my case, I’m rarely interested in a MS IP but I don’t mind paying full price for a console even if it only has one game I really want to play.

I’m in a minority though, and Lockhart just makes that decision even easier to make.

So here’s hoping it’s actually real.
 
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The rationale for why concern has damped seems to be, in my opinion, that devs will just target the S and boost graphics to 4k / better FPS on the X. To me this is not a win for people hoping to see what the X is truly capable of. At this point I see no purpose for the X unless you want 4k graphics.

In all seriousness, what is the point of a Series X if you don't have a 4k TV?
This is why I don't think the Series S gets releases this year, if its what the rumors say it will make the Series X pointless
 
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The rationale for why concern has damped seems to be, in my opinion, that devs will just target the S and boost graphics to 4k / better FPS on the X. To me this is not a win for people hoping to see what the X is truly capable of. At this point I see no purpose for the X unless you want 4k graphics.

In all seriousness, what is the point of a Series X if you don't have a 4k TV?
Just...what?!?

Dude, that's not how this is going to work. If any developer were doing that right now, we'd of gotten some substantive rumors pointing to such. And if that were the case, then I could see your concern.

But it's literally not what they're doing; Series S and Series X are not fully analogous to XBO S and XBO X. The latter used the S as the baseline since the S was essentially the original XBO which was the original system release. With all of MS's marketing and messaging so far it's pretty clear the Series X is their baseline and the Series S is the port-down machine. It's there as the alternative, not the main.

If it turns out I'm wrong, and MS are actually using Series S as the baseline (and mandating devs to use Series S as the baseline, even though they aren't even forcing 3rd-parties to support cross-gen if they don't want hence Scorn and The Medium among sure-to-be many others), I will be the first to eat the biggest, fattest crow of all time and wash my hands of all of that.

But I doubt that's something I'll need to do at all.

Sorry OP, while I agree that S won't hold back X games, this is not even remotely the same case as the one you're specifying.

These new consoles wil have the same exact CPU, which is the most important in terms of game experience, but GPU are different only for resolution scale.

In example, Xbox One and One X have the same exact CPU, but One X has a buffed GPU only for 4K, and the games look at higher res while keeping same gaming experience.

Also, the RAM in Series S is gonna be smaller but that's more than enough for 1080p games, since these new consoles will use SSD for supporting I/O.

Actually, games would probably run better in Series S than in PS5, only at lower resolution, if they go to over the top with resolution and IQ, leaving framerate as second class citizen, afaik, it actually happens in current gen base vs buffed consoles.
Hmm...I dunno if the OP came through as clear as I wanted. My point was actually to debunk the notion that Series S will hold back the Series X from a POV aside from graphics, mainly in terms of game mechanics. As to say, I don't think it will hold back ambitious game mechanics that work on Series X but not Series S, as the devs can simply cut those mechanics out of the Series S version if need be.

The visual point you bring up remains true, but I think most people have come around to agreeing on that. There's still a lot who think Lockart/Series S will hold back Series X (and even PS5) in terms of game design ambition, though, and I wanted to use SOM as an example of how supporting wildly different systems in terms of power doesn't mean the version for the higher-end system needs to gimp on ambition.

Honesty I probably could've used The Witcher 3 as an example here too, but I dunno if any game mechanics/features were cut from the Switch version. If so, it still kind of proves a point, granted Witcher 3 was probably not natively designed with a Switch port in mind during the original development cycle.

My question was as simple as it was written, but I can understand if I seem naive asking it. I had hoped X would utilize its power in different ways, perhaps even with games that don't target 4k because of how demanding the games were just at lower resolutions like 1080p. But it seems clear that won't be the case, and that X will instead just be better resolution and FPS of what runs on the S. As my family has all 1080P TV's, I honestly wonder if its just a big waste of money for us to get the X. And that dampens my enthusiasm for next gen.
If that's really how you feel, I'd say wait until the July event before making a decision, at the very least. I don't think your concerns are warranted, but ultimately you're in power to do with your money as you see fit and no one can change that except through convincing.

And in this case, MS has to convince you that your concerns should be alleviated with their games in action at the July showcase. Hopefully they can accomplish this because it's apparent you aren't the only person on the fence due to Series S factoring into the equation. I and others may not have the concerns regarding it holding back Series X as you might, but it doesn't mean your concerns aren't coming from a place of honesty.

Which I suppose is at least refreshing because it's not concern-trolling xD.

Mate. You know I have agreed with many of your opinions, and although I'm very interested in the business model of Lockhart, I believe there are a few complaints already been made by developers about how they don't want to develop for Lockhart.
Suppose that's fair. I won't pretend there aren't developers with their own reservations on Lockhart; at the same time, we haven't actually had a single developer outright come forth and provide criticism about Lockhart, either.

In fact, most of the dev concerns from what I can see, are just really loose "devs are saying" quotes from a few insiders, some who may or may not have a dubious reputation and/or dubious track record. Maybe a few of those rumors have come from a few MS-centric spots too, I don't remember, but the main point is no developer has actually come out and mentioned anything negative regarding Lockhart.

I know there are NDA reasons preventing that if it were the case, but I figure if it was as much of a complication as some feel to think there'd be at least one dev basically saying "IDGAF" and leaking out issues with Series S/Lockhart that are actually believable and maybe backed up with data that can be correlated with what we already know about the Series X.

I don't know what you mean by completely false. Maybe I am only speaking for myself alone, but I am indeed concerned about Lockhart holding back graphical innovation in the same way consoles hold it back on PC, regardless of how easy it is to scale. Part of why high resolutions and framerates are so common in PC gaming is because developers really aren't pushing the boundaries of what our video cards can handle anymore.

I'm not saying Microsoft can't go this route, or that they won't do it for 1st party versus 3rd party - I'm just saying it would be a disaster.
That's not the only reason resolution and framerate dominate on PC; there's also the lack of sufficient install base. High-end GPU cards among PC gamers, you're talking about maybe a few dozen-thousand, maybe 50,000 LTD for the most popular high-end cards and that's considering a lot of them being sold on sale and well after they're replaced with yet more high-end cards. That's part of the reason the MSRPs are so high, they need big profit margins on those. And also consider a lot of non-gaming folks are buying those cards too for things like graphics rendering, animation workstations, etc.

Series X would be different because you're easily looking at a few dozen million of those systems out there in terms of install base, which in turn incentivizes developers to target it. I actually picture the split between Series X and Series S to be roughly 1:1, maybe 1.25:1 in Series S's favor. I don't suddenly expect a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio for Series S over Series X simply because MS as a cheaper option available, unless the Series S is just that much of a hit with the casual gamers and MS literally gimps Series X's potential on purpose with artificially high prices and nonsensical refusals to reduce the price over the generation (or purposefully gimp unit production on Series X to try artificially move purchases over to the Series S).

Which would probably be legally difficult for them to do for a lot of reasons I guess, so fat chance of that happening.

Until then, I treat most of the "dev" concerns as gossip because there's virtually no way to substantiate any of it.
 
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LeftThumbstick

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It has been discussed here ad nauseam.
Am i supposed to buy into vague statements and "roundabout" predictions? Some devs say the next Xbox is a beast, but Neogaf will disagree and tell you and SSD is king. Some devs will say the SSD is the most exciting part while other devs have said its not and that more compute fits them better. "Devs" aka a random guy like you or me with there own biases and preferences said something and this guy is now repeating it so it must be true.

Sigh, i don't know what to believe because personally i've seen nothing but good moves from Xbox since all the XB1 debacle from the 1X, buying the new studios, adaptive controller, elite 1&2, focusing on power and gamepass, cross-play, cross-buy ect ect. To think they'd just throw all that momentum away and throw in this piece of shit cheap console that will make it harder to develop for... Not buying it. Seems like the usual anti-Xbox fud when no one has any concrete information and until i can see who his sources are i really don't give a shit about his rumours either, they are lies for all i know...

I bet if you look hard enough you will find a post somewhere that the PS5 also doubles as a submarine, because some devs somewhere said so.
 

BRZBlue

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Comparing previous multi-generation development to a lower-powered SKU is a bit of a misnomer. I could just as easily point to something like FFXIV, where game design was held-up by the PS3 version of the game, and when it was dropped, inventory sizes grew bigger, zones vastly increased in size, texture and effects increased as well. Even draw distances. Issue is, its a generational leap difference, so its not really indicative of how things will change on newer hardware of the same gen, with different power levels.

Its entirely possible that MS is going to mandate chopping out sections of gameplay mechanics and systems on lockhart, but the real question is, are people going to be chomping at the bit to buy a "gimped" system in comparison to the main SKU? Are they going to want Lockhart when Halo comes out, and some of the more exciting features in the game aren't available? Only time is really going to tell, until then everyone is pretty much guessing.
 
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NickFire

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Just...what?!?

Dude, that's not how this is going to work. If any developer were doing that right now, we'd of gotten some substantive rumors pointing to such. And if that were the case, then I could see your concern.

But it's literally not what they're doing; Series S and Series X are not fully analogous to XBO S and XBO X. The latter used the S as the baseline since the S was essentially the original XBO which was the original system release. With all of MS's marketing and messaging so far it's pretty clear the Series X is their baseline and the Series S is the port-down machine. It's there as the alternative, not the main.

If it turns out I'm wrong, and MS are actually using Series S as the baseline (and mandating devs to use Series S as the baseline, even though they aren't even forcing 3rd-parties to support cross-gen if they don't want hence Scorn and The Medium among sure-to-be many others), I will be the first to eat the biggest, fattest crow of all time and wash my hands of all of that.

But I doubt that's something I'll need to do at all.



Hmm...I dunno if the OP came through as clear as I wanted. My point was actually to debunk the notion that Series S will hold back the Series X from a POV aside from graphics, mainly in terms of game mechanics. As to say, I don't think it will hold back ambitious game mechanics that work on Series X but not Series S, as the devs can simply cut those mechanics out of the Series S version if need be.

The visual point you bring up remains true, but I think most people have come around to agreeing on that. There's still a lot who think Lockart/Series S will hold back Series X (and even PS5) in terms of game design ambition, though, and I wanted to use SOM as an example of how supporting wildly different systems in terms of power doesn't mean the version for the higher-end system needs to gimp on ambition.

Honesty I probably could've used The Witcher 3 as an example here too, but I dunno if any game mechanics/features were cut from the Switch version. If so, it still kind of proves a point, granted Witcher 3 was probably not natively designed with a Switch port in mind during the original development cycle.



If that's really how you feel, I'd say wait until the July event before making a decision, at the very least. I don't think your concerns are warranted, but ultimately you're in power to do with your money as you see fit and no one can change that except through convincing.

And in this case, MS has to convince you that your concerns should be alleviated with their games in action at the July showcase. Hopefully they can accomplish this because it's apparent you aren't the only person on the fence due to Series S factoring into the equation. I and others may not have the concerns regarding it holding back Series X as you might, but it doesn't mean your concerns aren't coming from a place of honesty.

Which I suppose is at least refreshing because it's not concern-trolling xD.



Suppose that's fair. I won't pretend there aren't developers with their own reservations on Lockhart; at the same time, we haven't actually had a single developer outright come forth and provide criticism about Lockhart, either.

In fact, most of the dev concerns from what I can see, are just really loose "devs are saying" quotes from a few insiders, some who may or may not have a dubious reputation and/or dubious track record. Maybe a few of those rumors have come from a few MS-centric spots too, I don't remember, but the main point is no developer has actually come out and mentioned anything negative regarding Lockhart.

I know there are NDA reasons preventing that if it were the case, but I figure if it was as much of a complication as some feel to think there'd be at least one dev basically saying "IDGAF" and leaking out issues with Series S/Lockhart that are actually believable and maybe backed up with data that can be correlated with what we already know about the Series X.



That's not the only reason resolution and framerate dominate on PC; there's also the lack of sufficient install base. High-end GPU cards among PC gamers, you're talking about maybe a few dozen-thousand, maybe 50,000 LTD for the most popular high-end cards and that's considering a lot of them being sold on sale and well after they're replaced with yet more high-end cards. That's part of the reason the MSRPs are so high, they need big profit margins on those. And also consider a lot of non-gaming folks are buying those cards too for things like graphics rendering, animation workstations, etc.

Series X would be different because you're easily looking at a few dozen million of those systems out there in terms of install base, which in turn incentivizes developers to target it. I actually picture the split between Series X and Series S to be roughly 1:1, maybe 1.25:1 in Series S's favor. I don't suddenly expect a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio for Series S over Series X simply because MS as a cheaper option available, unless the Series S is just that much of a hit with the casual gamers and MS literally gimps Series X's potential on purpose with artificially high prices and nonsensical refusals to reduce the price over the generation (or purposefully gimp unit production on Series X to try artificially move purchases over to the Series S).

Which would probably be legally difficult for them to do for a lot of reasons I guess, so fat chance of that happening.

Until then, I treat most of the "dev" concerns as gossip because there's virtually no way to substantiate any of it.
I really do feel 99.999999% confident that Series S will be the baseline one way or the other. There's just no scenario where I can envision MS allowing its next gen system to look obsolete. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it really matters or ever would have, and frankly the more convinced I am it will not and never would have. Even if Series S was not part of the equation, the chances are that most games would still be designed with an eye towards downward scalability for anything other than pure single system exclusives, which seem rarer these days than ever. There's just too much money to still be made on hardware that won't be matching PS5 or Series X specs.

There's a good (IMO) thread about the thoughts of someone who is working on a Borderlands 3 port. I don't think there's a snow ball's chance in hell that any dev would identify what they are working on and then say something negative about either MS or Sony's plans, and I don't think porting last gen to next gen is comparable to designing a new game that would push the Series X to the max. But I do put stock in what they said about limitations being more based on resources and desire than anything else. And those comments have helped solidify my emerging view that profit will hold next gen back far more than any particular system's capabilities ever will. Especially in the first couple years or more after launch when next gen install bases are low.
 

mejin

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I'm curious to see MS reveal for LH.

From the most powerful console of the new gen to the shitest one.

MS PR will probably be like
 
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Kerotan

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Do you really think MS will be cool with publishers cutting entire systems or ai or features to allow a game to run on a brand new cutting edge (as advertised anyway) system?

Of course not. Huge difference between cutting features for legacy hardware than brand new hardware.
It's not the devs fault the console maker that sells by far the least of the big 3 decides to launch a gimped version of their "next gen" consoles. They deserve to have the games on it gimped and in certain cases not at all.
 

Vawn

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Y'all remember this little gem? It came out in 2014 for PS4...but it also came out for the then-last gen systems of PS3 and 360.

The PS4 version was the lead platform, despite the game also having a last-gen version available, and prioritized the Nemesis system. This highly advanced AI system was impossible to implement on 360 and PS3....so it was simply outright removed altogether for those versions.

Here's a game, from a company much smaller than Microsoft, working with a game on two generations of hardware saying "'Ya know what? Why should we gimp the PS4 version for the 360 and PS3? We'll just remove that entire Nemesis game mechanic from the old versions instead. No need to hold back the next-gen version for the old consoles!"

So tell me, if a company the size of Monolith Productions was able to prioritize the then-leading next-gen system for game mechanics built solely for that system even when they KNEW the same version of the game on older systems would not be able to run those new game mechanics...why do some people think Microsoft will somehow NOT take this exact same approach if a game requires it? They have already mentioned that Halo Infinite (arguably their biggest upcoming 1st-party release) is using the Series X as the lead platform; you can bet that if the Series X version has game features the Series S is unable to run, they would much sooner just remove them from Series S version rather than punishing the Series X version from using them whatsoever.

Not to mention, with Microsoft's own capital and resources, this is something they could do much easier than Monolith Productions was able to do six years prior, and that's assuming the Series X and Series S versions are being developed by the same studios. If we look at MS's own prior track record with games like Forza Horizon 2, there's a strong chance different teams will handle versions between the two platforms.

Look, I still have my own reservations regarding Lockhart/Series S, but they left this realm of "it'll hold next-gen back!" a LONG time ago. There is literally no legitimate ground anymore for someone to hedge concern around Series S on that idea anymore, when we can look at games like SOM alone as well as the logical reality of how MS will prioritize software development (or already have). At this point, it comes off almost as concern-trolling.

If you want to talk about Lockhart/Series S in terms of it complicating production allocation between it and Series X, or possibly influencing pricing between the two models in an undesired way, those are fair game. Those are still areas of concern with Series S TBQH (and PS5 to a lesser extent with its dual SKUs). But this whole argument that Series X won't be exploited to its full potential due to the presence of Series S, is more or less a dead argument at this point. Too much evidence points to the contrary.
You just made the opposite argument you were trying to make. The fact that the last gen version of the game HAD to be different from a design point, makes me more worried that having to accommodate a weaker hardware could affect all versions of a game.

Time will tell.
 
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VRS will ensure that it will operate at the same fidelity at a lower resolution, which is fine with me. As long as the Series X is the lead console for each game in development.
But that's the key thing; they can't promise that. Even if they promise that, they have no reason to do it because it is harder.
 
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Its entirely possible that MS is going to mandate chopping out sections of gameplay mechanics and systems on lockhart, but the real question is, are people going to be chomping at the bit to buy a "gimped" system in comparison to the main SKU? Are they going to want Lockhart when Halo comes out, and some of the more exciting features in the game aren't available? Only time is really going to tell, until then everyone is pretty much guessing.
You just reminded me of Windows Vista and its "Vista Capable" stickers.

When Vista came out, most new computers on the market can't actually run Vista properly. Instead of admitting this, MS created "Vista Capable" labels, for computers that can't run Vista but could in theory be upgraded to do so later. They got into massive trouble when they got sued, because they basically lied and sold programs that can't run.

I wonder if history is repeating itself again.
 

CamHostage

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It's not up to MS for 3rd parties; that comes down to the publisher. MS only mandates their 1st party support both Series X and Series S, but haven't specified how....
So, yes, they haven't specified how.

I was kind of up in my head about the whole thing at first, back when I thought MS was going to put out only one copy of Halo Infinite, and that box would have all the code for both versions. That was the way that the first series of Xbox Series X games products started to show up, with the "Optimized for Series X" seeming to do the job for both platforms...



...But now I know that A. Halo Infinite is not on the official list of Optimized for Series X games yet and may not use that designation/feature set, and B. the Series X version might be $69 instead of $59 with the next-gen price hike talk. It's going to get its own box, one way or another.

So that rules out some of my concerns that they were going to be relying only on scalable technology to make XSX and XOX games different products. You can do a lot with scaling (there has never, to my knowledge, been a "past-gen" and "next-gen" PC package difference, you just get one box of say WatchDogs with a wide range of setting toggles, and either your PC can run it or not,) but I still feel more comfortable with my $70 next-gen buy actually having models and textures made as much as possible for my brand-new and expensive next-gen console. Microsoft has not specified how they will do releases that do use Optimized For (Will there be a texture pack available or on the disc? Will there be two different builds of the game on the disc, so that it runs naively on both platforms? Will the Series X just run the Xbox One game in a crazy version of Boost Mode, with textures and features and framerate turned on Ultra settings?), but at least we know (again, mostly from the price differential, not because MS has specified, or Sony either for that matter, though they're being less chummy about BC being a solution either way,) that Microsoft is not only doing it the Optimized way. They have said that everything Xbox Series X will also be on Xbox One from them, but it's becoming more clear that the way they're doing this is by having two different versions of the game rather than just scaling up and down.