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The Next Generation is Almost Here - PlayStation 5 v. Xbox Series X | S
#1
Yes, after much hype and many many software delays due to COVID presumably, the next generation of high-end consoles are about to release, they will be on shelves in November, under two months away. And we even finally know both prices, after an absurdly long game of chicken between Sony and Microsoft over that issue!

To summarize, the PS5 is absolutely massive and is $500. It has a futuristic look, and looks like a router or, I think, an exploding Phantom, the unreleased consolized computer from the early '00s =-- look it up, it's almost identical! There is also a $400 version with no disc drive, but Sony isn't making many of those because they lose a lot more money on this model than the disc model thanks to price pressure from Microsoft getting them to sell it for way under its production cost, so don't expect to see many of them. It will supposedly have PS4 backwards compatibility supporting "99% of titles", but the details are still hazy. It will NOT work with PS1 to PS3 games in any way. Its first-party games will be $70; Sony increased prices to make up for their losses on hardware.

The Xbox Series line, including the X and S, will be $500 and $300 respectively. The XSX is the main one and is designed for 4K TVs, while the S has lower-power graphics hardware and is designed for 1080p and 1440p instead. This idea, of having a system with pretty much the same CPU but much less powerful graphics in order to offer next-gen loading times, games, and CPU power at a much lower price and for older or cheaper TVs, is something that has never been tried before in the industry; there really is no direct precedent to compare the XSS to. Unfortunately, the XSS also has no disc drive, which is a big limitation; the XSX does have a drive. The XSS is a pretty interesting system and the 'next gen but not 4k and affordable' concept is potentially a good one, but while I get it for price and size reasons, having no drive is pretty unfortunate. Anyway, both systems have pretty nice modern, "flat" industrial design. The X is a good-sized rectangle, not too huge in two dimensions but its 6" square depth and width are a problem, it won't fit into lots of console shelving areas -- I don't think I could put it where I have my other Xboxes for instance, it wouldn't fit. I will need to find somewhere else for it. The PS5 is physically larger overall than XSX I believe, and it is also thick, but not 6"; it's "only" like 4" or such, sort of like an original Xbox but larger.

Both systems have more powerful graphics hardware than last-gen (even though the XSS has fewer teraflops in its graphics chip than the X1X's, the modernized architecture is a big boost), with the XSX being the most powerful overall, but the main gains are in CPU power and storage speed. The last-gen systems have somewhat slow and lacking CPUs, and this includes the PS4 Pro and X1X, but these do not and that will be a big help for games. The now fast SSD-based storage is the biggest enhancement, though, and it is what Sony particularly emphasizes the most, though MS is not far behind. The PS5 has triple the theoretical SSD speed for the XSX, but the XSX is no slouch, it still has a 40x faster SSD than the X1's hard drive. Load times last gen got LONG, so I am definitely looking forward to this aspect of the new systems. At least on Xbox the XSX|S should reduce loading times in last-gen games too, which is awesome. Some games have really had load times on my X1S... really, really bad.

For design, they both have their issues for me -- the XSX and XSS are stylish and modern, but are INCREDIBLY simple. There are no flourishes or interesting touches here, just straight right angles and utilitarian buttons. It's flat design to its core, and I have always wound that look somewhat ugly. The PS5, in contrast, is a highly overdesigned mess of curves, fins, and angles. It looks kind of hideous, but at least it's intreresting I guess... I would need to see them in person to decide which is better, but it's probably the XSX; it may be boring, but the PS5 is just too much.

As for games, Sony has a moderate lineup of games coming this holiday, including Spiderman: Miles Morales, Sackboy's Big Adventure, and a few more. And... both of those games are, surprise, also coming to PS4. Sony spent like a year lying about how much they cared about generations, how their next generation was going to be a hard break from the current one, etc, while MS talked about their 'we will phase in next-gen-only stuff over the next two years' approach. People online raked MS over the coals for it, as games on last-gen won't get next-gen boosts as much as exclusives will, and then it was revealed that most of Sony's PS5 launch lineup is on PS4 also. Heh. Meanwhile, Microsoft is basically releasing consoles with no new first party titles. Their one big holiday title was going to be Halo Infinite, but after a controversial reveal that got delayed into next year, so now they basically have nothing. At least they have the best backwards compatibility though, so there is plenty to look forward to in terms of enhancing games you already have. And there will be some third-party games on both systems this holiday, I just don't know what. There may be one or two smaller games from MS too? The Medium perhaps? We'll see.


So, Sony opened PS5 preorders last week, and it was kind of a disaster as they sold out online and in stores almost immediately. I did not try to get one; I don't have a PS4 and while I have some interest in getting one sometime, I want to wait at minimum to hear how good the PS4 BC will be -- should I just get a cheap PS4 at some point next year or something once they become plentiful after people start selling their old consoles once the next gen starts, or will BC be so good that that's a waste of money? I have no idea. Xbox, though? I am already in the MS ecosystem with my PC, X360, and X1S, and I subscribe to Xbox Live Gold. I do not have Game Pass and don't want it, I'd rather own things if I can. And I got a 4K TV a few months ago. So, I have little interest in the XSS, it's an interesting idea but is not for me. The XSX though? For some reason I want one. I mean, when it comes to games, I mostly play my Switch, Wii U, 3DS, and classic systems (DS, Turbo CD, Jaguar, and such...). I do play Xbox, but not as often as Nintendo. But "play the games you already have, but without the crippling loading, and see what games look like in 4K, showing off that new TV of yours"? Yeah, I'd like that. I will probably try it then go back to playing Mario Maker 2 and Splatoon or such instead, but I'd like that enough to pay for it.

So, when MS opened XSX preorders at 11am EST on Tuesday, I went onto the Microsoft Store website and ... managed to get an XSX preorder! It took a while of reloading to get the payment page to load, but I was lucky and managed to get the preorder through, which is pretty awesome. And coming from Microsoft itself I have more confidence in actually getting it in November than from other retailers. My MS/Xbox account is linked to Paypal Credit too, so once I get charged I will have a while to pay it off which is nice.

So yeah I guess I'm kind of excited? Maybe? We'll see. I'm buying one either way, anyway.


Meanwhile, on the PC side, NVidia just released new graphics cards, the very powerful sounding 3000 line, and AMD is about to release new cards as well. I've never owned AMD/ATI graphics cards and don't really want one, but NVidia's 3000 line sound very powerful, and while my current card, a 960, is all I'd ever need for 2d stuff and Windows and older (and most current) games, upgrading it at some point would be a good idea, 3d games will soon need better than this card. Obviously I'm not getting a card right now though, not after spending this much. So... maybe next year? Let's see how things turn out with these cards first.
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#2
There's only two things that matter next gen.  Instant load times, and ray tracing.  That's right people, we're finally getting load times equivilant to Atari 2600 carts.  The future is here!
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#3
I have not purchased a Playstation since 3, so I'm kind of hyped about PS55 being compatible with PS4. My PS3 is an original model with full backwards compatibility. I want the model without the disc drive, as I do not see myself purchasing discs ever again.
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#4


(Is there a way to put a video in-line in the post so you don't need to click a link to watch it? I know we used to have that feature...)

So, some journalists have Xbox Series X systems now, and they are looking at it starting with backwards compatibility. Zero load times looks like it isn't happening, not for BC games on the Xbox Series X anyway, but dramatically reduced load times very much are and it's really exciting stuff. Seeing X1 games running at much higher framerates in 4K when games had unlocked framerates is also pretty cool, but those load time improvements are the biggest thing.

Of course, as this video shows you need the BC games installed to the internal SD or the addon SSD port, or an external USB SSD, to get the really fast load times, as loading from mechanical hard drives like the ones I attach to my X1S will be much slower, but even that 'much slower' is a big improvement over their load times on the X1, and they're a fine place to store ones you use less often or don't mind the loading as much on. I'll probably leave most of the X1 games on the external regular HDD, and put any X360 or OG Xbox games I want to see running in higher resolutions (the ones that are 4K enhanced and such, such as PD Orta!) on that external as well, but put a few with the worst loading problems on the internal. Or maybe I'll buy a USB SSD? Those are expensive and wouldn't work for XSX games so it might not be a great investment, but I guess it'll depend on how much I want to spend to reduce loading times. Again, the video above shows how dramatic the difference is in one example game between an external SSD and an external mechanical HDD in X1 BC games, so just leaving everything on the drive it is on now will see improved load times but not nearly the generational leap that they would from an SSD... but games are large now and SSDs expensive, so I can't keep everything installed on SSDs, that is too expensive. It's just a question of 'what goes on which' I think.

As for the addon SSD port, I will probably wait on that one and not get one those anytime soon, $220 is a lot for 1TB! I hope they add 2TB models, even at a higher cost that would be a much more interesting option due to the greatly increased storage. I will definitely need more storage, next gen games will surely be huge and I'm using like 3.5 or 4 terabytes of storage total on my X1S, and that's without almost any X360 games installed on the thing since I play those on the 360. But I will need to make some space for 4K-enhanced OG Xbox and X360 games...
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#5
There's a play button in the edit bar above posts.  Click that to put in a link that lets you insert videos.  I edited the code for Youtube videos to reenable the full screen feature too.

ABF, absolutely do NOT expect good load times off a USB SSD. The USB connectoin, even 3.0, is NOTHING compared to the speeds you will get from the M.2 connection.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#6
Quote:There's a play button in the edit bar above posts.  Click that to put in a link that lets you insert videos.  I edited the code for Youtube videos to reenable the full screen feature too.
Oh, there it is, I knew I was missing something... fixed in my previous post.

(We don't have twitter tweet integration here though, do we? Many forums do now.)

Quote:ABF, absolutely do NOT expect good load times off a USB SSD. The USB connectoin, even 3.0, is NOTHING compared to the speeds you will get from the M.2 connection.
Certainly it'll be longer, but did you watch the video?  At one point he says that loading from a USB SSD was like less than a second longer than loading from the internal drive, while an external HDD took very dramatically longer...
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#7
That's true, but I'm talking about the upcoming games not BC.  If you want instant load times, you're going to need to use M.2.

I absolutely hate that MS is making their internal addon drives proprietary, AGAIN!
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#8
Eh, prices so far look relatively comparable, and you get some big benefits from MS -- the plug-in SSDs are hot-swappable! Whichever NVME drives work with the PS5, and it's still not entirely clear which will, they will definitely in no way be hot-swappable. Instead, you will need to take some part of the system case off, take the old one out, maybe unscrew something to remove it with a screwdriver, put it all back together, and turn the system on again. And since we're talking about Sony here, maybe you then will have some long wait as the system analyzes the new drive, like when you put a different memory card in a Vita (it's such a huge pain!).

With the Xbox Series, however, you just put take one drive out and plug a new one in and presto, you've swapped. No muss, no fuss. It's a more restrictive design in terms of price and options but dramatically better in terms of usability and ease of use, and those are big things for a console. If you want to have multiple addon SSD plugin units, each with different games on them, on the Xbox that will be easy. On the PS5, forget it!

So yeah, overall I think MS made the better choice. I do hope they add larger size options next year than just 1TB, but it's a better design for a console no question.
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#9
No real graphical upgrades, though? Meh. Faster loading times is nice, though.  Last Of Us 2 takes a good two minutes to load up. And that's just to load the title screen. It's maybe another minute for gameplay itself.

When do you think the biggest leap occurred, graphically, between generations? 2D to 3D is too obvious an answer... what besides that?
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#10
What do you mean by a graphical upgrade? If you mean next-gen games, graphics will get better by the usual amount but because as graphics get better it becomes harder to tell the difference, it may not matter as much as generations past. If you mean backwards compatible games, Microsoft will be upgrading BC game graphics across the board, but Sony has only said that select titles will get patched for that and that's it.

Xbox One games will get a graphical upgrade -- games with unlocked framerates will get those framerates pretty much boosted to their cap almost all of the time, first, and second most Xbox One, 360, and OG Xbox games that run on the Xbox Series will have auto-HDR added. Increasing resolution and such, however, will take developers to patch their old games to add support for that, so I wouldn't expect it in most cases though some may get patches. Obviously load times will be shorter in all games, particularly if you install the games to the internal SSD.

On the Sony side upgrades will be much more limited. Other than shorter load times, Sony has not been talking about any added features to BC games other than that developers can potentially patch them to add stuff. There has been no mention of anything like MS's automatic HDR or its framerate boosts, though framerate boosts could happen, we still don't know for sure.


But really, the core of next gen is "like this gen but without the ultra-long load times". Some people are calling that a massive generational leap, though I think that's a bit shortsighted -- very few games had load times like current gen console games do before the current generation, after all, outside of things like the Neo-Geo CD. Shorter load times are nice, but you know, cartridge games loaded nearly instantly... and if XSX BC load time tests hold up for next gen, we'll not exactly be seeing that again, though games optimized for SSDs should see better performance than those do.

As for the biggest leap between generations other than the move to 3d, that's a tough one because yeah, the move to 3d is the obvious answer for me.
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#11
Sony finally announced BC details. Their language is cagey and has a lot of "maybe"s and "could"s and such, but PS4 games might see the kinds of improvements X1 games do, in terms of big framerate improvements in games with unlocked framerates, and resolution improvements in games with dynamic resolutions. We'll have to see to see the results of Sony's words though since unlike Microsoft they are not letting journalists see the results yet and indeed haven't sent systems to press yet, unlike Microsoft, it seems. Sony's words here are similar to Microsoft's results, but it remains to be seen if it'll be anywhere near as good a result. I am skeptical. There almost certainly will NOT be auto-HDR added to all BC games like Microsoft is adding, since Sony hasn't mentioned anything of the sort.

https://support.playstation.com/s/articl...=en_US&lan=
https://blog.playstation.com/2020/10/09/...-answered/

Sony also finally did a video teardown showing the insides of the PS5. It looks about as expected, and it should be quieter than the PS4 apparently is since they used a big fan inside. The one interesting thing inside, tech-wise, is that they are using liquid metal instead of thermal paste over the CPU, which is interesting... I hadn't heard much about liquid metal but from what I've heard it conducts heat better but they need special precautions to make sure it can't get out and flow to other areas of the system, which is why it has a 'dam' around it. Interesting.
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#12
Meanwhile...



This is a good Digital Foundry XSX video showing the load time improvements in BC games.  Actual next-gen games will load faster than this, as the BC stuff do not use the full next-gen SSD architecture.  He says that the PS5 will be similar, in BC you only get a regular speedup like this, and the special architecture that should really cut load times is only for next-gen games since they need to be programmed for it.

I have two external HDDs connected to my X1S, a 2TB and a 4TB, but I should get an external SSD for the XSX, I certainly can't have all of my BC stuff on the internal drive and for stuff I'm actually using the loading time difference is huge.  There are two rear USB ports, so maybe keep the 4TB for storage and add a SSD to that as the main BC drive for things I'm more likely to use, and use that 2TB drive elsewhere?  That sounds good.
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#13
I'm probably just going to skip out this generation.  The only reason to even get these consoles is for the exclusives, and those are going to PC.  I'll just get a powerful PC.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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#14
Quote:What do you mean by a graphical upgrade? If you mean next-gen games, graphics will get better by the usual amount but because as graphics get better it becomes harder to tell the difference, it may not matter as much as generations past.

Yeah, my benchmark is to look at a demo and decide exactly how close it comes to producing photorealism, ultrarealistic physics, lighting, high resolutions, etc, to the extent where you couldn't otherwise tell it was generated by a computer chip, instead of live-action film footage of (for example) a real person. Last of Us 2 comes very close, though you can still look at the facial expressions as they talk in real time (not pre-rendered scenes, although not even they are perfect) and see that they look a bit like masks. It seems organic matter is the most difficult to render.

My question before might have been a little vague, and the best way I can describe it is that feeling of looking at a new generation of systems coming out and saying "Wow! This changes everything!" as opposed to subtle differences that you saw between, say, PS3 and PS4. For my own answer, the last time I really got that feeling was N64/PS1 to GameCube/PS2. Much less blocky figures, better framerates, better textures, better resolutions I think? It's funny to go back and see how primitive everything looks.

Second choice would be 8-bit to 16-bit, although atari to NES is certainly a good candidate, too. But yeah, if we're including any generation, 2D to 3D I guess is technically the most sophisticated... it's almost cheating, though, because it added a whole new dimension!

Anyway, kind of a silly discussion. More interestingly, has Nintendo made any announcements for their next gen console? Any neat innovations in the vein of Switch/Wii/WiiU?
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#15
I will say that looking at footage of next-gen games at 1080p is much less impressive than watching them at 4K with HDR. It's a big difference which makes them look more "next-gen" for sure.


As for Nintendo there are rumors of an enhanced Switch coming next year, maybe with 4K output this time, but no confirmation yet. It is not clear whether it'll be a full new console, just an enhancement over the Switch, or what, but I'd certainly expect full BC whatever it is, the Switch is a huge success and like a New 3DS or such, if this rumor is true (and there have been a lot of rumors about it) they want to build on it.
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#16
The "wow factor" of the jump from SNES/Genesis to N64/PS1/Saturn was the greatest leap (from a user's perspective) of ANY gaming generation, and I doubt it will ever be topped until we implant chips in our brains.  SJ's right, it's pretty much cheating.  I mean, not a one of us thought "this looks like real life!" but we were absolutely shocked at what it DID look like, playable 3D environments.  The generation before had a few odds and ends like Starfox and Virtua Racing (and on PC of course we were getting the likes of Doom) but this was something entirely different and we more or less just accepted what we were given because literally everyone was learning.

Back then, N64 and PS1 games looked "clearly better" than SNES and Genesis, but which one's artistic style aged better?  That pixel art.  Odd how it all went around.  I wil say this, even as impressed as we were, we all couldn't wait until we got that "Toy Story" level of graphical fidelity.  Every generation since has been an approach to that, and finally we have a generation using the ray tracing old CG movies like Toy Story required MONTHS to prerender, but in real time.  I'd say we've arrived, but we can hardly tell.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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