Submitted by AbsoluteZelda 674d ago | opinion piece

When Graphics Stop Improving

Do you remember the days when we only used one term to describe a console’s power? Twenty years ago, what people saw as “bits” were all that mattered and we could tell when one console was better than another simply by looking at the games. One needn’t any more insight than his own eyes to see that Donkey Kong Country was more advanced than the arcade’s Donkey Kong or that Sonic the Hedgehog could do more than Alex Kidd in Miracle World.

Fast forward to today and how do we compare consoles? Jargon. Twenty years ago, people didn’t debate the relative merits of a “Customized 6502 CPU” and a “Television Interface Adaptor Model 1A” because a system’s power could be easily described by marketers as “bits,” and every generation self-evidently doubled the power of the last. But those days, as you certainly know, are gone. (PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

PopRocks359  +   674d ago
Graphics will probably never stop improving. They continue to make all sorts of new concepts and engines for existing CGI animation software. So I imagine video games will keep developing for years and of course decades.

The point when graphics stop improving is when imagination or creativity is no longer a factor.
kneon  +   674d ago
There is a long while yet before graphics in video games will stop improving.

Once game systems and display technology reach the point where looking at your TV is indistinguishable from looking at the real world then we can consider it the end of the line for graphics improvements. But I don't expect to see that in my lifetime.
RetrospectRealm  +   674d ago
It'll probably end when they get to the point of taking a video/picture with a special camera, where you can then interact with said video/picture on the computer, then they'd gametize it.
Myze  +   674d ago
Have to look at Hollywood movies to see the pinnacle of computer graphics (Avatar, The Avengers, etc.). It will be MANY years before powerful supercomputers have the ability to render those type of graphics in real-time. Much less the most powerful home PCs, and even less, consoles. Then, you have to think about the fact that even that CG from the movies will be improved as years go on (for movies).
Ulf  +   674d ago
"There is a long while yet before graphics in video games will stop improving. "

You have absolutely no basis for that statement, other than falsely believing that Moore's Law will continue on its course (which it won't). OTOH, anyone with any tech knowledge knows that semiconductor fab tech is darn near end-of-line, as far as advancement goes, and that the quality you get from a single movie frame is rendered over several hours, from and entire farm of machines.

No better gfx is a very, VERY real consideration for the future of gaming. Your statement about how you don't expect to see lifelike *real time* renderings in your lifetime are very true. You won't. No one here will.
#1.1.3 (Edited 674d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(6) | Report
kneon  +   674d ago

Yes the die shrink using current materials will soon reach it's limit, but that doesn't mean the end of the line for Moore's law.

There are other materials, processes and technologies that will continue to push performance forward. And some could potentially offer a dramatic jump.

While I don't believe any of Ray Kurzweil's overly optimistic predictions we still have a long way to go before performance improvements stop.
BosSSyndrome  +   674d ago
I do think there is a point when resolution and graphical fidelity both reach a point when they're too similar to reality to improve. In that case we can still evolve the AI, physics, etc., but I don't think graphics can improve forever and I don't think they will for very much longer either.
PopRocks359  +   674d ago
Of course aspects like that can improve. But when talking about graphics, I'm mostly referring to visual representation. We can make things look as realistic and lifelike all we want, but why not take all of that further? That's why I think graphics are only limited by imagination.
madjedi  +   674d ago
@ulf No moores law is running out for silcon. which is why the industry is investing billions to find a replacement material/s.

So i guess quantum computers will never see the light of day.
jcnba28  +   674d ago
Not really. The naked eye can barely see beyond 1080p visuals so what is the point in improving the graphics?

Better graphics does not equal imagination and creativity.

New gameplay mechanics, story, music = imagination and creativity.
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jmc8888  +   673d ago
People also forget that 1080p is not the end all be all, that the eye can distinguish hundreds of frames a second and notice hundreds more.

We have 4k coming out, 16k is on the horizon (and so on), you have holographic television coming at around the end of the decade (think Star Wars up from the table communications)...with that you have a new avenue with video gaming, you have Virtual reality headsets finally gaining traction, and we even have people like Microsoft finally fooling around with very early style Star Trek The Next Generation Holographic rooms.

....and it's not going to stop there people. Each of these aspects can be upgraded and all of it will require more power.

We have a tendency today (like most present thinkers in past times) that where we are is the pinnacle and we cannot get any better. Wrong.

If we as a human race stop trying to improve, we die...that's a fact. So push the limit on tech, on fusion, on space and don't believe the 'graphics won't get better' or 'we don't have the money'. Only small minded people that created and enslaved us with derivatives want you think that way. Sadly most don't care and will just follow those morons.
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Jagsrock  +   674d ago
Graphics as we know them might reach a threshold however the way we play will continue to evolve until finally the boundary between game and reality is blurred to the point where virtual reality becomes a real possibility. Virtual reality is the next step.
Heavenly King  +   674d ago
When gaming becomes VR, I will stop playing games.
Jagsrock  +   674d ago
why might I ask? Don't you want to be part of the action, to be able to do things you can't in the real world in an environment that still feels real. If we strive for realism and realistic graphics, becoming a part of the game and removing the barrier created by our tv screens seems like it should be the ultimate goal.
BitbyDeath  +   674d ago
Don't know why anyone'd stop playing when VR arrives.

Imagine playing a game like Journey where you get to ski through deserts, fly over mountains and see amazing sights all in the one game.

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jetlian  +   674d ago
why not go to the dunes? to many limitations on motion controls
BitbyDeath  +   674d ago
You can't fly in real life unless you have a jetpack. And goodluck getting one of them.
Intentions  +   674d ago
They will just keep adding textures and fine tuning everything =P

Oh and adding a shit load of polygons to models and other stuff =P
zeddy  +   674d ago
i would love a holodeck.
tweet75  +   674d ago
when i got the ps3 i thought how could graphics get better and I still feel that way. Most ps4 games wont seem that much better because even with bigger processing you cant improve much.
madjedi  +   674d ago
We will see a huge improvement not just in the sense of going from a ps2-ps3 graphics wise.

You can take any current gen game and pick out all of the little flaws it has due to the machines limits and see how this upcoming gen improves on it.

Pop ins, load times, low res textures, stupid ai, fake physics ect.

Till we make the switch to 4k games we won't see a huge graphics leap, but that will likely be the ps5 or later. Likely whenever 4k tvs are reasonably priced.
shodaime  +   674d ago
when it go beyond reality
kirbyu  +   674d ago
Did anybody ever even care? Did anyone at all think "better graphics" when Super Mario World first came out. I wasn't born yet but if I had been, "New Mario game" would've been all I thought about it.
#7 (Edited 674d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
deafdani  +   674d ago
I was there when Super Mario World first came out. Playing it for the first time on my cousin's brand-new SNES, coming from my NES at home... let me tell you, it blew my socks off, and the improvement in graphics from Mario Bros. 3 played a HUGE part in it. That parallax!

So, yes!

More so when I played Mario 64 for the first time. That was the graphical leap from one console to another that impressed me the most, ever, in my entire life I've been gaming (30 years old, been gaming for about 24 or 25 of them).

While graphics definitely aren't everything, they're VERY important. There's a big reason why Nintendo has always cared so much about graphics with their main game series (Mario and Zelda). To downplay the importance of graphics in gaming is asinine.
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Qrphe  +   673d ago
Yes, the graphics were a HUGE switch from the first game on the NES. People have always, always, always cared about graphics.
kirbyu  +   673d ago
Ok, but too me, NES graphics don't look much different than SNES graphics.
deafdani  +   672d ago
What... what the... what.

Ok, you admitted you weren't even born when the SNES came out. I was born in the NES era, and I was there when SNES came out after having played with NES for a few years, so I was able to properly appreciate the difference in graphics. Yes, it was a BIG difference for us back then.

Compare this, one of the best looking NES games:


To this, one of the best looking SNES games:


As you can see, it's a world of difference. And games like the first Star Fox, or Super Mario Kart were straight-up impossible to make on the NES hardware.
kirbyu  +   672d ago
Well yeah, what you're showing me is a huge difference, but comparing TMNT or SMB3 to Super Mario World isn't really.
deafdani  +   672d ago
Actually, yes, there's a big difference, even between Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World. World was much more detailed graphically than Bros 3, and the parallax effect alone added a superb visual depth to the game.

Consider this: Super Mario World looked leaps and bounds better than any NES game you can think of, and it was just a launch title. Over the years, numerous other games appeared that were much more impressive graphically (like the already mentioned Donkey Kong Country).

Oh, and now that you mention Ninja Turtles... compare TMNT III for NES:


...with TMNT IV for the SNES:


Not only is there a marked difference in the graphics department (although the NES game admittedly looks superb for the hardware), but there's also a big improvement in gameplay as well, with everything looking more hectic, chaotic and fluid on the SNES game.

Trust me, there definitely was a very big difference in power (and thus, graphics) between the NES and SNES, and yes, EVERYONE noticed and talked about it. Actually, just like the Turtles example I provided above, if you compare two games of the same franchise, one from NES, the other from SNES, the SNES version will look vastly superior all the time, unless the devs of that game were plain lazy.

Graphics do matter, and always have mattered. Yes, on Nintendo consoles, too.
FlyingFoxy  +   674d ago
They don't stop improving. Things have just slowed down a bit, look at processors for gaming performance, between the first gen i7 cpu's in 2008 and the new ones there's little difference in framerate. either one you have will run games to the best they can as long as you have a mid-high end gpu.

The next big thing that will affect game play (not just visually) is physics in my opinion, Half Life 2 demonstrated the start of it, i reckon Source engine 2 will build on that a ton more. So i'm pretty excited for that.

Also for new ways to play, the Oculus Rift is looking quite interesting.
jjb1981  +   674d ago
What's better than photo-realism?
Thepcz  +   673d ago
jjb1981  +   673d ago
Beyond real?
Ulf  +   674d ago
There are less than a console generation's worth of fabrication scale improvements left, for the average consumer, with computing technology as we, meaning the human race, understand it.

Come 2020, gaming graphics will hardly be better than they are today, for both tech and financial reasons behind making and selling games. There are no tricks, like finfet (if you don't know what that is, you have no justification for disagreeing with me), left up anyone's sleeve to keep semiconductor tech keep rolling affordably forward, and the laws of physics are standing in the way, at this point.
#10 (Edited 674d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
TechnicianTed  +   674d ago
You seem to think that technology stops as soon as something hits a brick wall. It doesn't, people just find out how to remove the wall.
Ulf  +   673d ago
Wishful thinking, I'm afraid.

We don't have hovercars yet, do we? At least not affordable or useful ones.
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TechnicianTed  +   673d ago
What have hovercars got to do with anything? There wasn't anything set in stone as to when we would be driving advanced transport, only science fiction films.

My point is technology doesn't stand still, and limits get broken. Silicon wasn't even supposed to last anywhere near as long as it has, but it has.

New technologies are always being researched, this is just one of many ideas being developed as an alternative to silicon -

Subzero200  +   673d ago
"When Graphics Stop Improving"

when ps4 was announced.
Thepcz  +   673d ago
grass in games
i remember back in around 1995, as a kid, we would imagine games where the grass would be depicted in photorealism in games. at the time grass was mainly depicted as a blocky green floor.

we have come closer to photorealism now... but the grass is mostly a photo/bitmap of a grass pattern simply copy/pasted over a terrain.

yes, you can get the swaying sprites now too, to give the effect of 3d grass, but its hardly photo realism.

so we have come a long way in 20 years, but there are still improvements and advancements that can be made.

im sure within 20 years the grass will actually approach true photo realism in real time
#12 (Edited 673d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Dj7FairyTail  +   673d ago
Graphic are meaningless until they look like
runs smooth like REAL LIFE
When there a game that look and runs like real life
no matter if there over a trillion NPC and same size as
the REAL WORLD then Graphic aren't good. But man cannot make was man cannot create.
#13 (Edited 673d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Adropacrich2  +   673d ago
Visuals are at this point far more advanced than other frankly underachieving aspects. Proper independent and interactive Ai for example isn't even in infancy stages while visuals are approaching photo realism. As things get more and more realistic it simply reveals how wrong everything else looks. The industry needs to grow up and embrace a brave new change. Another generation of the same old games looking even better is fine but it's starting to wear thin especially if it's still the same 10 years from now
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Qrphe  +   673d ago
The real world has infinite detail, infinite complex system going on all around at once, so there will always be aspects to improve graphically.

Limited human perception at one point may stop noticing such improvements but by then we'll be doing things that reality can't match. Don't expect this to happen until hundreds upon hundreds of years of "Nvidia" or "AMD" GPU generations (if we still use GPUs by then).
#15 (Edited 673d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply

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