Does The Software Match The Drapes?
The next generation of gaming is right around the corner and it’s easy to be excited right now. Now thanks to COVID-19, the excitement for next-generation gaming might have to last a little longer than expected. One of the biggest features to come with this generational leap is DirectX 12 Ultimate. Fortunately, right now there is a good amount of information on the two new consoles, the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. Generally speaking, Microsoft has done a better job with their steady communication of information with the Xbox Series X. We now have a good idea hardware-wise what both are capable of, and both will do incredible things. We know a ton of what is going into the Series X, but what about the PlayStation 5?
As Good As Gold
Recently Mark Cerny from PlayStation gave a good breakdown of what you can expect from this new console. A brand new custom SSD was praised. The Tempest and Geometry engines were introduced and everything was given a good general breakdown. In hindsight, after the presentation, the PlayStation 5 is really shaping up to be a wonderful console. This is all fine and dandy, but what about some of the software behind the console itself? Understandably this is a very important factor in the success of the console. Like the Xbox Series X, you can have power through the roof and special hardware, but you need the software to utilize it properly.
At this point in time, we know exactly what softwar will be in the Series X but not the PS5. A big red flag came up not long after the presentation done by Mark Cerny. The announcement of DirectX 12 Ultimate. Microsoft, AMD, and Nvidia all came out with articles touting this new “Gold Standard” in next-generation gaming visuals and graphics.
Reading up on what DirectX 12 Ultimate will bring to the table, I can’t help but be excited to see developers’ enthusiasm for this new toolset. The addition of Variable Rate Shading, Ray Tracing, Mesh Shaders, and Sampler Feedback all seem to be important keys in creating a truly next-generation experience. DirectX 12 Ultimate will also unify the coding experience for both PC and Xbox. Meaning when you code for one, you are also coding for the other. There is much less effort into building a game for both systems.
Does PS5 Have The Answer?
Unfortunately, there is no evidence currently that PlayStation 5 will be using this toolset. Understandably, the system probably won’t and will be using their own version as they did with the PS4. Microsoft owns everything there is about DirectX and allowing its competitor to use such valuable software would be outright crazy. If this is truly the gold standard going forward for all Nvidia GPUs, AMD GPUs and Xbox, where does that leave PlayStation? This could be the defining factor in creating a next-generation gaming experience. Right now we could be seeing a situation where Sony does have their own answer. They are simply waiting for another day to provide that information. I can’t help but be a little skeptical if the PlayStation 5 might actually be “one step” behind Xbox Series X in terms of software capabilities.
This does not mean in any way that studios will not be able to create amazing games that look beautiful on the PlayStation 5. We know for certain after this previous generation. Even given major hardware constraints developers were able to produce incredible console games. To reiterate, we know very little of what the actual PlayStation 5 system software is. There very well could be another presentation breaking down about what’s running it. The flip side being this is all that we are getting and a lot of the previous software is being carried over in no new major significant way.
If this is truly the case, PlayStation 5 may need to step up in their software department because DirectX 12 Ultimate is a beast. Another thing to take into consideration, is the tease of “We’ve only scratched the surface.” With more critical information teased for the software, Xbox Series X could have a major lead over the PS5 in the software development department. Only time will tell what Sony will bring to the table for the PlayStation 5. Hopefully, it is an arsenal.