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Eurogamer's latest Witcher 3 write-up veils an intriguing little snippet about the future of Xbox One, care of CD Projekt's lead engine programmer Bal?zs T?r?k. According to T?r?k, Microsoft gradually "opened up" ways of getting "more" out of the Xbox 360 across 2007 and 2008, and this may be the case with Xbox One, too.

"On the PS4 it's very good to have the fast memory," said Bal?zs T?r?k, "everyone is really happy about that - but the problem is the game has to function on everything.

"No we are not holding it back," he added, "it's just we are not at the stage right now to go in and optimise on each platform specifically. We want to make the game and the whole engine run on everything, with all the features and bells and whistles, and then just optimise, optimise, optimise.

"I don't see a major power difference. The memory is very different but I already said that before. Pure computation power, if you just measure that, there's no major difference."

"The Xbox One is pretty easy to understand because not just the hardware is similar to the PC, but everything like the SDK, the API is really similar to what you would find on a PC. On PS4 this is a little bit more complicated, but I personally worked on PS3 before.

Bal?zs T?r?k did flag up one unusual thing about the Xbox 360 from around 2007/2008, though.

"I saw how Microsoft opened up certain parts that they hid before from developers," he said. "They opened them up, like, 'OK now you can have this back door, and it's risky but you can do this and that...' This is how developers learned a little bit more and more every step. From Microsoft it was a good way to do it to always let the developers do a little bit more."

Does he think Microsoft will do the same with Xbox One?

"I don't know because we are not at the stage where they would open up something new," he answered. "We have what we have right now, and maybe we will have some more low-level access in the future.

"It's not like they would open up new hardware or anything - there's nothing new in there. It's new ways to do something. Both companies are already using all the knowledge they have from previous products to make the API tailored to games ... so I expect that they will do something like, 'OK now you can do this; it's extremely risky - only do this if you know what you're doing! But you can do this.'

"It will happen, eventually, but right now we are preparing for it."

 

 

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-19-the-witcher-3-what-is-a-next-gen-rpg

http://www.oxm.co.uk/67210/microsoft-may-unlock-hidden-xbox-one-performance-boosts-in-time-suggests-witcher-3-dev/

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On paper, there's a difference. They're not taking full advantage of the PS4 (in order to accommodate for the lowest common denominator) or the Xbox One has some hardware feature that closes the on-paper performance gap. Knowing CD Projekt, I doubt they'd hold back in terms of image quality.

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Optimisation takes time, and when your feature set's not there yet, or you still have major bugs, those take priority. So basically The Witcher 3 on consoles is still too early in development for CD Projekt to focus on optimisation, but if and when it gets there this is where they're going to run into different limitations on each console, and perhaps be able to make more interesting comments about their relative power. I'm surprised they would say something like "they have the same computational power" when the PS4 has 50% more shader cores - that's a lot of computational power.

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If there was no major difference in power, xbox one games wouldn't be running at lower resolutions right out of the gate. The fact that they are, shows that there is.

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He clearly says.. yea the ps4 has faster ram.. but we can't use it.. we can't push the game yet.. as we need to have it run on all platforms.  They are hoping MS opens back doors, and gives more power.. However no where did he say anything about hoping the ps4 gets more power.

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If there was no major difference in power, xbox one games wouldn't be running at lower resolutions right out of the gate. The fact that they are, shows that there is.

I don't know for sure. Why is it that suddenly launch titles tell us everything we need to know about a console's power.

I do know that the ps4 has a stronger gpu. What I don't know is if that means the X1 cannot produce games that run at 1080p/60 like the ps4. Since some launch titles are in fact running at that on the X1, makes me wonder. Then the fact that not all ps4 games are running at 1080p/60 further blurs the line.

I just think people should remember history and how console game development works. Raw specs aren't the only thing that can affect game development on one platform or another.

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He clearly says.. yea the ps4 has faster ram.. but we can't use it.. we can't push the game yet.. as we need to have it run on all platforms.  They are hoping MS opens back doors, and gives more power.. However no where did he say anything about hoping the ps4 gets more power.

I agree, it does sound like he is saying that.

Basically that he assumes MS will open up the platform as they have their previous consoles.

Honestly, why anyone would take this quote and try to examine it for technical merit is beyond me. These guys aren't anywhere near optimizing for either console. He says that clearly. Its too late for the Witcher 3 to take such advantage, whatever it might be for each console.

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I don't know for sure. Why is it that suddenly launch titles tell us everything we need to know about a console's power.

I do know that the ps4 has a stronger gpu. What I don't know is if that means the X1 cannot produce games that run at 1080p/60 like the ps4. Since some launch titles are in fact running at that on the X1, makes me wonder. Then the fact that not all ps4 games are running at 1080p/60 further blurs the line.

I just think people should remember history and how console game development works. Raw specs aren't the only thing that can affect game development on one platform or another.

It's more about the fact they are just that.. launch titles.  And if right out of the gate one has better performance (with the same title/engine) than the other.. it's a good way to base initial thoughts and forecast the future.   Launch titles are usually rushed and are quick show pieces.. the console/coding knowledge and tweaks aren't yet known.. and if one system can run the game better than the other system without all the extra knowledge.. then it says something about the hardware, and not the code itself.  

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I just think people should remember history and how console game development works. Raw specs aren't the only thing that can affect game development on one platform or another.

 

In past consoles, each one was of an often vastly different kind of hardware. Things like the cell, for example, are what made the ps3 and its weaker gpu able to create some of the most technically impressive console games of the previous gen. This time around there is no significant differences like that, it's pretty much the same on both sides(low clocked and likely low ipc amd x86 cpu, amd gcn arch. gpu). It's incredibly unlikely you'll see something like what happened last gen with the ps3 happen this time(system weaker gpu impresses most).

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It's more about the fact they are just that.. launch titles.  And if right out of the gate one has better performance (with the same title/engine) than the other.. it's a good way to base initial thoughts and forecast the future.   Launch titles are usually rushed and are quick show pieces.. the console/coding knowledge and tweaks aren't yet known.. and if one system can run the game better than the other system without all the extra knowledge.. then it says something about the hardware, and not the code itself.

Your forgetting about ease of development and time of development.

I hate to belabor the point, but its well documented that developers got X1 dev kits much later than ps4 kits.

It has also been pointed out that Sony chose a more straightforward design vs the X1, requiring devs to spend more time to optimize for the platform. The ram configuration is a clear example of that.

Its not as bad as the ps3 vs 360 when the ps3 was so foreign to developers, but there has been plenty of talk to support the idea that the x1 takes the less pc-like approach compared to Sony.

For me, the proof is in the exclusives, where you don't have to worry about whether a dev pushed a bad port or just didn't have time to optimize for a platform. If your exclusives can push a certain level of visuals, then a 3rd party dev can certainly do it given the time and willingness. So if X1 exclusive titles don't hold up, then you have something to point to. Again, the ps3 had a similar situation. It proved its worthiness thanks to exclusive titles, not third party titles.

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In past consoles, each one was of an often vastly different kind of hardware. Things like the cell, for example, are what made the ps3 and its weaker gpu able to create some of the most technically impressive console games of the previous gen. This time around there is no significant differences like that, it's pretty much the same on both sides(low clocked and likely low ipc amd x86 cpu, amd gcn arch. gpu). It's incredibly unlikely you'll see something like what happened last gen with the ps3 happen this time(system weaker gpu impresses most).

Oh I agree, its clearly not as bad as it has been in the past.

I'm just saying that there were many stories pointing to MS being later to the game vs Sony on things like game development, driver completion, getting dev kits to devs, and finalizing the api overall.

All I'm saying is that it sounds like we haven't seen the best that either console can offer. I'm not saying anything the X1 can do would magically change the hardware spec, just that I'm wondering if the X1 is capable of delivering a 1080p/60 experience in most games if a dev wants to do that. The COD devs seem to think it will with the next version of COD, so who knows.

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Optimisation takes time, and when your feature set's not there yet, or you still have major bugs, those take priority. So basically The Witcher 3 on consoles is still too early in development for CD Projekt to focus on optimisation, but if and when it gets there this is where they're going to run into different limitations on each console, and perhaps be able to make more interesting comments about their relative power. I'm surprised they would say something like "they have the same computational power" when the PS4 has 50% more shader cores - that's a lot of computational power.

what if your cpu is a bottleneck? you could throw a titan in there, it wont give you the performance you expect.

 

If there was no major difference in power, xbox one games wouldn't be running at lower resolutions right out of the gate. The fact that they are, shows that there is.

bf4 is a mess period. that game is so buggy and broken I don't have faith that dice spent a lot of time optimizing. it was a bad rush job. cod doesn't even need an explanation either. on the ps4 there is major frame judder issues, because render time between frames is inconsistent. this game is also running unlocked, vs a locked and smooth 60fps experience on the one. AC was also the same res on ps4 as the one, but because of the partnership on this game with sony, they spent more time after the game went gold optimizing the ps4 version only to 1080p. the rest of the multiplats are basically identical. watch the analysis of need for speed. same res, same AA, similar framedrops between both versions. there are dips in both, if there was this mythical power differences, the blue line would remain completely solid.

    

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There is clearly a difference in power between the two consoles. That is a fact at this point. Xbox One games would not be running at a lower resolution i.e. sub-1080p if that was not the case. Whether CD Projekt will take advantage of that is another thing, but it appears that they have no reached that part of production yet. The optimization part.

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If there was no major difference in power, xbox one games wouldn't be running at lower resolutions right out of the gate. The fact that they are, shows that there is.

I'm sure the fact that certain functions related to the ESRAM isn't available yet and the debs having significantly less time with the Xbox dev kits didn't affect this at all.

But you keep going with your agenda...

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I'm sure the fact that certain functions related to the ESRAM isn't available yet and the debs having significantly less time with the Xbox dev kits didn't affect this at all.

But you keep going with your agenda...

 

Ram doesn't make up for the gpu's being on separate tiers from each other in terms of peak performance. Feel free to keep believing it somehow can, though.

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If there was no major difference in power, xbox one games wouldn't be running at lower resolutions right out of the gate. The fact that they are, shows that there is.

You're wrong there. There are certain aspects of the Xbox One hardware that make it more difficult to tap into the full power of the components, they need more time for that, time they didn't have because of the launch (or imminent launch) of the consoles. Future games will easily run on 1080p (360 already did 720p, and this box is 8-10x more powerful, so 1080p shouldn't be an exception in the long run)

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You're wrong there. There are certain aspects of the Xbox One hardware that make it more difficult to tap into the full power of the components, they need more time for that, time they didn't have because of the launch (or imminent launch) of the consoles. Future games will easily run on 1080p (360 already did 720p, and this box is 8-10x more powerful, so 1080p shouldn't be an exception in the long run)

That remains to be seen. I hope that the next Halo game runs natively at 1080p but that's all I can do for now. I can't claim that it will run at that resolution. 

 

Also, the jump from 720p to 1080p is a little bigger than you may think. You also have to consider the targets developers set for image quality and performance. Just because it's 8-10x more powerful doesn't mean it should run games at 1080p. A developer may opt for better image quality and bump the rendering resolution down to 900p or 720p. Another developer may sacrifice image quality to make it run at 1080p60.

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Ram doesn't make up for the gpu's being on separate tiers from each other in terms of peak performance. Feel free to keep believing it somehow can, though.

faster ram doesn't make up for a lack of a fully optimized and customized APU Design that makes everything work together much faster and better than a plain old off the shelf component way. 

 

again, you can't rip out the gPU from these chips, and compare just the gpu to the GPU and say one device is faster, it's stupid and not how it works. 

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That remains to be seen. I hope that the next Halo game runs natively at 1080p but that's all I can do for now. I can't claim that it will run at that resolution. 

 

 

I believe MS or the developers already claimed it would.

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what if your cpu is a bottleneck? you could throw a titan in there, it wont give you the performance you expect.

 

bf4 is a mess period. that game is so buggy and broken I don't have faith that dice spent a lot of time optimizing. it was a bad rush job. cod doesn't even need an explanation either. on the ps4 there is major frame judder issues, because render time between frames is inconsistent. this game is also running unlocked, vs a locked and smooth 60fps experience on the one. AC was also the same res on ps4 as the one, but because of the partnership on this game with sony, they spent more time after the game went gold optimizing the ps4 version only to 1080p. the rest of the multiplats are basically identical. watch the analysis of need for speed. same res, same AA, similar framedrops between both versions. there are dips in both, if there was this mythical power differences, the blue line would remain completely solid.

    

 

Just as a general observation: In the video I would say both consoles are wasting resources trying to keep the software locked FPS rate. Same issue has occurred many times for (poor) PC ports (E.g. NFS Rivals!).

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Why are people saying because XB1 games run at a lower res then that proves it can't keep up?   Not every game has a lower res, lots of games have the same res and frame rate on both systems.  Both systems have games that don't do 1080p for some reason or another.      People are tossing out assumptions like they're facts it seems.    What's the argument going to be a year from now when the XB1 has all it's games running at 1080p?    

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I don't think there is that much of a power difference TBH, like CDPR says. It's just the fact that MS and Sony reversed roles from the last generation in terms of accessibility to that power.

This time it's MS with the specialized hardware that needs getting accustomed to versus Sony with the more common hardware that could be tapped into fairly easily. For a shorter generational lifecycle, Sony has that advantage if MS doesn't respond fast.

Although it shouldn't be a problem tapping into eSRAM for a developer with experience with the Xbox 360, there are still a lot more newer specialized pieces that complete the puzzle and it'll all depend on how well MS is able to make the API's to tap into all that hardware and how automatic that can be for the unexperienced developers out there.

MS also has the problem that their game OS still has several layers of abstraction and aren't really direct to metal as they claim with their mono driver that has DirectX11.2 as its interface.

That's what CDPR likely means with the hidden performance that could be unlocked (and likely the 10% GPU reservation for the Kinect that could be moved onto the GPGPU bits as GPGPU will not be getting as big as many think within the next 5 years IMO).

If MS can change DirectX on the Xbox One to be more low level, things could change for the better, but that means a lot of work for MS as they will need to change quite a bit on the OS level too. The sooner the better though, otherwise all the titles released until then could become more of a problem to fix as well if there are compatibility problems.

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I'm personally not worried about games not been 1080p at 60fps, any game worth owning will be. You can certainly tell the difference between the launch games where effort has actually been put in to optimise the game for the respective console.

The first game I got on the Xbox One was Call of Duty: Ghosts, to be honest right from the start I thought it looked poor for a next gen game, i then got my mate to bring the 360 version of the game around. We compared them side by side and the Xbox One version honestly looks almost identical to the 360 version. On the Xbox One CoD Ghosts looks slightly sharper and ever so slightly more detailed. However looking from a distance you would honestly struggle to guess which console the game was running on... especially once you start split screening. Yet this is the title people have been arguing about for months....

After that i was disappointed, however i later got Forza 5 and was blown away by the amount of detail in the game.

Forza 5 is 1080p @ 60fps and looks stunning, if a launch title can look like that then any game worth owning in the future can have some effort put in and do the same. Especially as devs have longer with the hardware and become more experienced with it, i mean look at the launch 360 games compared to games a few years later.

A lot of games people are using game that have been released on everything going to compare the consoles, with regards to CoD Ghosts it doesn't look like Infinity Ward put any effort what so ever in to the next gen versions of Call of Duty... but why would they? the game will sell regardless.

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Ram doesn't make up for the gpu's being on separate tiers from each other in terms of peak performance. Feel free to keep believing it somehow can, though.

You're very much right regarding the GPU's hardware being quite distant from each other but there is a lot more to read between the lines. For example, the PS4 can't match the X1's hardware audio processor which has 8(!) DSP cores. That offloads a lot of work from the CPU/GPU, game depending ofcourse. There's also the clock rates. For example, the ROP's which's only data input is memory and flourish from eSRAM, is boosted 10% from the clock rate boost. Which the rate increase also boasted the point of creating the equivalent performance advantage of an extra 2CU's. There's also the 4 DMZ's which offload memory moving. Lists go on and on.

 

People also dwell on the GPU's for games, often undermining the CPU's heavy influence in games which can really bottleneck. The X1 clearly has the advantage here by having DDR3 and a higher clock rate.

 

The PS4 has much stronger numbers in GPU terms on paper (not considering clock rate), but you've also got to take in consideration the other variables of the architecture which makes this gap not so apparent. 

 

Regarding BF4 and Ghosts, you only have to consider the absolute rushed nature of the games and the pressure from publishers and manufacturers. For example Ghosts on PS4 often drops from 60FPS, and I can imagine that not being considerable from MS taking into account they probably care a lot more about a solid 60FPS version, like the X1 has. Whereas Sony would probably rather push to 1080.

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I love how the hypothetical argument right now is developers unlocking more power with the One as the time goes on, but the PS4 will remain the same.

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