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Next Gen Price Points (Gaming)

by Ragashingo ⌂ @, Official DBO Cryptarch, Friday, September 18, 2020, 18:22 (39 days ago) @ Vortech
edited by Ragashingo, Friday, September 18, 2020, 18:42

The way I see it, everyone is getting a powerful, next gen box. Even the Series S has a much newer CPU and GPU than the older Xboxes. Yes, the Series S is cut back, but it also limits its output to 1440p. It’s a very familiar balancing act. You want your game to run at higher FPS or with higher graphics settings? Dropping the resolution makes that possible. If Microsoft had done the balancing right, that is: if the reduced resolution makes up for the less powerful CPU/GPS, then the Series S will be just as next gen as the PS5 or Series X, at a much lower price.

I think my question is "will the Series S be as "Next-Gen" compared to the One X. With so much work being done to avoid next-gen exclusive games, I don't know.

Absolutely, it will.

Ignore this cross-gen phase. It happened last time too. I have Assassins' Creed: Black Flag in my game library twice. Once for the Xbox 360 version and once for the Xbox One version. The Xbox One version is a little prettier, but the gameplay is the same. Ultimately, studios can't sit idle for years waiting for a next generation to arrive. They have people to pay and rent to keep up with and so on. That's true of this time too. Look at Horizon: Forbidden West getting a PS4 version. It's almost certainly because development on it started long before the team even had access to PS5 development kits. We see the same with Halo Infinite, on Microsoft's side.

But, things are also different this time. Going from the Xbox / PS2, Xbox 360 / PS3, and Xbox One / PS4, the core components of the consoles have remained more or less the same. Oh, sure, the CPUs and GPUs got more powerful, but the storage, in particular, stayed slow. Over time we moved from playing straight off the game disc to installing on a hard drive, but until now all the storage mediums have been vastly slower than the rest of the consoles.

That changes majorly with the SSDs in the PS5 and the Microsoft Series consoles. SSDs provide both vastly faster total throughput, and vastly faster access times than either CD/DVD or HDDs did during the past two decades. Sony hasn't talked much about their core system software, but look at what Microsoft is showing. Even Xbox One games that know nothing about next generation will load some 5x faster. On top of that, Microsoft (and probably Sony too) can now use some neat trickery to store an entire game state on the SSD letting you switch from game to game to game far faster than any PS4 or Xbox One can even load one game. It's going to feel amazing!

There's also a bunch of very neat optimizations Microsoft is making specifically to support their two console approach. Things like where they'll now be able to only fetch the parts of texture the game is actually showing instead of loading the full texture when half of it won't even be shown on screen. There are things like that where Microsoft is claiming a 2x next gen performance advantage vs the way things are done on the Xbox One X.

I actually think the Series S is kinda brilliant. You get all the stuff that will really define this next gen. The fast ssd, the new graphics tech. The new graphics and storage APIs that multiply the effectiveness of the console vs the previous gen ways of doing things. Unless Microsoft badly misbalanced that resolution vs GPU equation I talked about last time, the Series S should feel almost exactly the same as a Series X, it just won't output as many pixels. And that's not much of a problem, anyway. Games look great today using all sorts of tricks that involve not outputting a full 4K pixels.

So, short term, the Series S is gonna blow the Xbox One X away in terms of feel. Things will be more fluid. Games will load vastly faster. Fast game switching will become something we can't believe we lived without. And in the long term, the Series S should hang neck and neck with the Series X. Everything from enemy count to draw distance to effects clarity should be almost identical... it's just the Series S is really meant for people with smaller TVs that were going to be displaying fewer pixels anyway.


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