Crytek developer says 8GB of RAM in current consoles may not be enough

Months after the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there are still disputes over which is the better console. Many consumers choose their main console based on exclusive titles, and while others may look at the specs of the machine, both of the consoles have similar hardware. The Xbox One has 8GB of DDR3 RAM, while the PlayStation 4 has 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. Even with this significant step up from the last generation of consoles, a developer at Crytek claims it is still not enough.

Sean Tracy, the Engine Business Development Manager at Crytek USA, states that "I would have to agree with the viewpoint that 8 gigs can easily be filled up" when asked if there would be a shortage of memory in this generation. He explained that "developers don’t necessarily even have access to all 8 gigs of it. For example, the Xbox One retains some of the RAM for OS purposes," which could cause memory constraints in the future. These concerns came about due to the shortage of memory in the last generation consoles. Even though the Xbox 360 and the PS3 both had 512MB of RAM, titles such as "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" ran better on the 360 due to the way memory was allocated.

Despite that, the Xbox One and PS4 have largely increased their amount of memory compared to the last gen systems. Tracy said that "we will soon find that the computational requirements of games will quickly hit the ceiling of a few gigs of ram." He concluded by saying that "it’s not the raw power alone that will allow for photo-realistic graphics, but technology that intelligently scales and utilizes all that the hardware has to offer.”

 Source: Gaming Bolt | Image via Digital Trends

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Mozilla prepares to deploy semi-silent updates to Firefox

Next Story

Options being moved to tab by default in Firefox 32

59 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I'm from the generation of gamers where we were on top with 2,4,6 or 8MB of ram. the nvidia 32MB cards were top of the line too.

Well I guess the consoles should have come with 64GB of memory so Crytek could just load their entire Blu-ray disk into memory. Maybe they should push for the return of cartridges. That way they could have their entire game in a ROM for really fast access, and the amount of memory in the console would be less relevant.

> He explained that "developers don't necessarily even have access to all 8 gigs of it. For example, the Xbox One retains some of the RAM for OS purposes,"

And the PS4's OS magically doesn't need any RAM whatsoever?

Right now 8GB will be enough, but in 5 years, of course not.
The Xbox One and PS4 are both basicly PCs. Games released for these platforms will be ported 1/1 to PC (and vice-versa). In 5/6 years PCs will have at least 64GB of RAM, so these consoles will be responsible for holding back game development.

ok well, regardless, it's what they have and if you bought a console, you bought a low end PC basically so what do you expect?

8gb is plenty, and a good match for the rest of the hardware. If the consoles had beefier cpus/gpus then I could understand it.

It's not like were gonna be 4k gamning in this generation

Just a powerful CPU means nothing, look at the PS3.
Current consoles are a lot smarter, offloading junk that on PC's and previous gen consoles was shuffed down the CPU. Making the CPU a lot less lighter/used.

Because of all this offloading, quite sure the current consoles give more raw CPU power to devs to use, then the PS3 did with its tiny supercomputer.

Shadowzz said,
Just a powerful CPU means nothing, look at the PS3.
Current consoles are a lot smarter, offloading junk that on PC's and previous gen consoles was shuffed down the CPU. Making the CPU a lot less lighter/used.

Because of all this offloading, quite sure the current consoles give more raw CPU power to devs to use, then the PS3 did with its tiny supercomputer.

the problem with the ps3 was that is was hard to code for

Didn't MS talks about this one particular issue with Video RAM. The so called Tile Resources supposed to address this problem. With 32 MB of ESRAM, suddenly xbox become innovative compared to PS4.

minster11 said,
Didn't MS talks about this one particular issue with Video RAM. The so called Tile Resources supposed to address this problem. With 32 MB of ESRAM, suddenly xbox become innovative compared to PS4.

That's not why there is ESRAM... It's to try and aid a bottleneck, it's not an innovative feature compared to the PS4.

Anyone else remember how well Windows 95 ran on just 4mb of ram? And how quickly the required memory curve grew while performance seemed to drop in future versions?

Some times more memory leads to sloppy programming.

Ah. Few years ago I ran Windows 98 on a VM, just for fun. But it was such a slow OS. It felt quite fast back then, but compared to now. And it has been years but I don't recall Windows 98 to be slower than 95.
Tried it with different specs, the more resources you give Windows 98, the slower it becomes :p.
Never tried with Windows 95, but I would be guessing the effects were similar.

Totally out of context title. He said devs will use it all up, as in they would use up any amount of ram in a system. He did not say 8 gb wasn't enough.

While both systems have 8GB of ram the developers don't get all 8GB, it's more like 5GB or so, though that could change as time goes on and the rest of the systems software is optimized better. Regardless I think the next gen in another 6-7 years won't have another giant jump in RAM. I don't expect them to double it to 16GB for example, they might go for a little higher so game developers finally get a full 8GB just for their game, so maybe systems that have 12GB are next, 8GB for the game and 4GB for OS and all the apps (because now we're starting to multitask on them).

-adrian- said,
I think 6-7 Years will not be short enough for a new iteration of consoles

Well, with how both are now less custom and more generic x86 systems (though they still have some custom parts to them, XB1 more than PS4) they can come out with updates to them quicker and this time not break backwards compatibility I'd say. Once you can do that, with less cost in R&D compared to before, then we could see it drop to 5 years like it used to be. In most cases they could just drop in higher clocked parts with little else and we get performance boosts that way, simple and quick like with the PC.

Basically we go back to the NES 8bit and NES 16bit, almost identical consoles. But one more expensive and able to play more games.....
There won't be different releases of the same console with different hardware so it plays different game.

Don't worry Crytek.. I got Dell laptop with 16 GB RAM and other day I was updating Simply Accounting and it used up whole 16GB RAM.

I don't think how it can be a major disappointment just because of inadequate RAM. Many games haven't fully make use of more than 4GB RAM unless they are aiming beyond 1080p@60fps which definitely isn't ample.

They are disappointments only for graphic focused hard core gamers. The remaining 99.9% of consumers can't tell the difference anyway.

Why not, both consoles are great. And in the end probably have vastly more power then their predecessors. 360/PS3 barely did offloading, now audio is handled by a separate core/chip on both systems. Last gen on some games the audio took 2 out of the 6 threads... JUST FOR SOUND.
A quadcore X86 CPU is fine for anything the world can throw at it for the next 5 years. If not, learn to optimize. And these consoles have octocores :)
Last gen they had 256mb ram and they still made it work. Now they got 8gb and before they even release a game on it, its Q.Q.

They aren't a disappointment but it had tough acts to follow, also you don't really see the effects of the new generation until you are a few years into it.

Graphics and Multipayer didn't suddenly improve from the Xbox/PS2 to the PS3/Xbox 360. It wasn't until late 2007 that the gap between it and the previous generation opened up. There was such a gap that they couldn't design the game to work with the previous generations so to play the latest games, you have to get a new console.

I would say we will have to wait until 2015/16 to really see the benefits. They will have time to develop new engines, learn how to get the most out of the systems and save development time by not developing for the last gen consoles.

I agree. X1 and PS4 were consoles released for the sake of releasing consoles. Neither of them have even managed to achieve feature-parity with their older predecessors.

Gaffney said,
They aren't a disappointment but it had tough acts to follow, also you don't really see the effects of the new generation until you are a few years into it.

Graphics and Multipayer didn't suddenly improve from the Xbox/PS2 to the PS3/Xbox 360. It wasn't until late 2007 that the gap between it and the previous generation opened up. There was such a gap that they couldn't design the game to work with the previous generations so to play the latest games, you have to get a new console.

I would say we will have to wait until 2015/16 to really see the benefits. They will have time to develop new engines, learn how to get the most out of the systems and save development time by not developing for the last gen consoles.


Reminds me of God of War, a PS2 title with the graphics of most PS3 titles at the time :)

_Alexander said,

People love glorious eye sex graphics.

It's not always about graphics.

To be fair, "I would have to agree with the viewpoint that 8 gigs can easily be filled up" Does not mean the consoles don't have enough, just that if you're not optimal with your usage you can fill it up.

However, in saying that. Not all the memory usage goes into graphics.

Sounds play a large part in most games, more so when people expect to hear dialog between characters, or voice overs in games. The more memory they have, the less reading from the drive they have to do, faster, smoother game play.

Talking of loading from drive, more ram will allow them to load much large areas, more detailed models and even pre-load the next level so it's ready much faster. No body likes loading screens right.

Indeed. That's why it's so funny that graphics wh*res out there are touting to be real gamers and make such a fuss about a few lines of resolution or fps. That minority should get a life!

The first quote provides some better context (from Havok):

Rashid Sayed: Given that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One feature massive amounts of RAM, I am sure developers will be willing to do more. Given that you work with game developers closely, how do you make sure that you fulfill that ‘all of a sudden' and ‘not in the box' type of requirement?

Andrew Bowell: Developers have long dreamed about more RAM. RAM has been so scarce over the last 20 years in console hardware that I feel many prayers have been answered this time around. However it will take absolutely no time for artists to use all available RAM, even 8 GB, you can be sure of that. In terms of Havok technology, it has always been our goal to enable developers to do more with less.

Even with the large amounts of RAM available, the developers will still find ways to use even last byte. To that end, it is always a requirement for middleware to have the smallest possible memory footprint. This is also becoming even more of a requirement as console developers look at ways to bring their title to mobile platforms.

Read more at http://gamingbolt.com/how-havo...box-one#ce5hvyJtXPw78pYi.99


It's really nothing surprising. What would be surprising is a statement like "we can't imagine ever using that much RAM", that would be absurd. Of course they're going to use every byte available and RAM will be a limiting factor like every other hardware characteristic of these consoles. That would be true even with 16GB or 32GB of RAM.

Yeah yeah, with the stuff devs were able to get out of 512MB (300-400MB available realistically), i'd really be surprised if they think 8GB is suddenly not enough. What is this person trying to run, the matrix? Any amount of memory can be "easily filled up"

Don't forget: We are also talking about the entire life of the platform.

Games TODAY probably won't run into the ceiling, although its possible to use it up today. What about games 4... 5... 8 years from now? It's not about "suddenly". 5 years is forever in terms of computer hardware, and that's IF the next round of consoles comes out "just" 5 years from now.

Sure, Crytek tends to push the envelope a bit... but if they are pushing the envelope today/this year... you can be damn sure that others will follow with the same requirements and push the same boundaries.

While that is a good point, 8 years I believe was somewhat of a fluke. No console generation lasted near that long before and I don't expect the current generation to last as long either. The processing power and memory needs to run 4k resolution will likely push new consoles out sooner. 4k may not be a common concern now, but in 4 years, I expect it to be pretty standard on new TVs, people will be looking for it.

sphbecker said,
While that is a good point, 8 years I believe was somewhat of a fluke. No console generation lasted near that long before and I don't expect the current generation to last as long either. The processing power and memory needs to run 4k resolution will likely push new consoles out sooner. 4k may not be a common concern now, but in 4 years, I expect it to be pretty standard on new TVs, people will be looking for it.

This generation of consoles is not built for 4K, there are barely enough ROPs to push 1080p/60 on the Xbox One, and the PS4 will barely scratch 4K/30 with 32 ROPs.

And that's only the back end. We always have to consider that these consoles have about half the memory bandwidth as a high end GPU (780 Ti/ 290x), and less than half the compute power. So no, other than tech demos or highly hand tuned games there will be no native 4K in this generation. At most they could upscale from 2560x1440, but I doubt that will happen within the first 4-5 years of this gen.

These consoles will be replaced by 2017, pretty sure. And no one realistically expected 4K out of them, of course not. As becker said, the 360/PS3 gen was a fluke, all others had their 5-6 years and then promptly vacated the scene. Plus 360/PS3 were arguably the most influential generation since the 2600...this is not likely to happen again, not this cycle.

xendrome said,

Who ever said that?

Wasn't it Bill Gates? I'm sure however that he contradicted it later on.
Wouldn't it be funny if we somehow broke physics back in the day and were still on 640K but instead running at (some magic YB/s number)?

Yes, that was Bill Gates when he was questioned about the hard limit of 640K put on DOS' 16-bit Kernel (not that that term was used back then). Those who remember the early Windows 3.0 days probably remember something called EMS RAM, it was basically a hack created by MS to allow higher amounts of memory to be used, but it really didn't work very well. EMS RAM could not actually be used directly, it is really just a super fast page file that used higher memory instead of the disk drive. There was still a 640K per application limit and multitasking was not possible.

It wasn't until 3.1 added 32-bit support that we saw computers start to work as expected, with true multitasking (though Apple didn't add true multitasking until OS X almost a decade later...shameless plug)

Edited by sphbecker, May 19 2014, 2:53pm :