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Diminishing Returns of Next-Gen Console Graphics

After a certain point, there are diminishing returns on further maturation. Nowhere is this more obvious than in computing in general, and game console graphics in specific. While the PS4 and Xbox One boast hardware specs that are much more powerful than their predecessors, the actual difference in visual quality between the PS3 and PS4 or Xbox 360 and Xbox One will be minimal. The hard truth is, given the current state of TV technology, and the distance we sit from the TV, there will be serious diminishing returns from both consoles’ massive increase in graphics processing power

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curtis921513d ago

the difference will come in the form of load times and draw distances/amount of things drawn on screen at once. The major differences from the past (lighting, textures, character models & resolution) obviously can only go so far.

Kleptic1513d ago (Edited 1513d ago )

^i totally agree...there is plenty of room in game development to move forward in areas outside of visuals...

but...there is a glaring contradiction to all of this...game development is still focused around visual fidelity, and NOT performance...and the new generation, so far, seems to remain focused on the former...

Additional effects, increases to texture detail, more polygons, etc..are being touted left and right for whatever new game coming...and frame rates...are STILL sitting on the back burner nearly across the board...

the sad thing imo...is that both the recreation of reality...and a finite 'goal' for performance...are both very tangible...Reality is exactly that...you're not going to go far beyond reality, other than cinematic effects or 'sci-fi' like stuff that is displaying things that aren't possible yet...but recreation of a real environment fundamentally can't be 'better' than its real counterpart...if that makes sense...

and performance is the exact same way...A game only needs to run at a steady 60 fps before you don't know the difference...a game only needs to have less than about 45-55ms of input latency before your brain doesn't register it...While there are some individuals to claim to be able to tell, the science behind this suggests otherwise...

resolution doesn't fit quite as much, because its more related to dpi of your monitor/HDTV, etc...so res isn't something i worry about quite as much...

but, clearly, performance doesn't get nearly the love that visuals do...even though performance is every bit as important to the 'experience' of playing a game...at least to a lot of us...I've played enough games at 30fps and 60fps, to simply be done with 30fps...thats my new rule in this hobby, so to speak...no matter what game i'm playing thats 30fps, there is zero debate for me personally that it would be better and more enjoyable at 60...i'll probably miss some titles this gen while the industry gets this worked out, but even then there is still too much to play anyway...

so all i'm saying is that this article talks about 'focusing on something outside of visuals'...and diminishing returns from the power needed to create these games...but we're still not to an acceptable fundamental performance policy that just removes that worry from some of us buyers...I don't want to have to research what this game runs at, or that one does, or whatever...just please FINALLY give us nothing but 60hz games and it'll never get brought up again haha...

DeadManIV1513d ago

What i want is better AI

Campy da Camper1513d ago

I play games like Demons/Dark Souls for the gameplay, not the graphics. Blightown had horrible frame rate as did parts of Demons Souls. If next gen can fix those issues with adding smarter AI, better draw distances and stuff then I could not care less about a new coat of paint.

Larry L1512d ago

Maybe it's because I'm a bit older, grew up with Atari and ColecoVision and have been a dedicated console gamer basically through every generation of consoles, while gameplay has always been #1, I grew up gaming always wanting better graphics. A perfect example is the main console gaming buzz-term of the early-mid 90's: "Arcade Perfect" graphics, good gameplay seemed like the easy part............Or perhaps I'm just a closet graphics whore and don't know it (though I don't think this is the case).

But while I agree with the premise that "there comes a day when there's almost no point in graphics getting better.", I really don't think that day has come yet, and I don't think that day will be here when "next-gen" starts either. In fact I don't think that day will come for a couple/few decades. At least a couple hardware generations, and that's imo only considering "TV" displays (I'll get to that).

Now, alot of games are supposed to look like games. That's all in the creator, designer and artist's (developers) vision. But there are plenty of games out there that want to truly look realistic. And those are the games that show that the day graphics no longer need to evolve, has yet to be. The most realistic looking games on the market....games like Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Demon's/Dark Souls, Skyrim, Crysis and Battlefield on PC max settings, Gran Turismo and MGS.......they stilll look like games, you can see they are computer generated graphics no matter how advanced.

I honestly don't consider myself a graphics whore. In all my favorite genres graphics are always 3rd or 4th or even lower on my "list" of important things that make a good game in each genre. THat saiid, I really think there's quite a long way to go in terms of simulated realism. Especially considering.......back to "Displays"...... That I don't think it will be more than a couple decades before gamers have rooms wall-papered in something similar to OLED film, and we'll be gaming in true 3 dimensional worlds al'la Star Trek's holodecks.......at which point, graphical detail will need to be magnitudes more realistic for those "realistic" adventures/games.

A LONG way to go, indeed.

nukeitall1512d ago

@DeadManIV:

"What i want is better AI"

Then you are in luck, because I think the biggest breakthroughs this coming generation is AI with the cloud MS is pushing.

Nowhere else are you going to get massive amount of data collected on user behavior, and be able to throw massive amount of computing power to create ultimate AI.

Forza 5 with driveatar is the first breed of this.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1512d ago
Magicite1513d ago

every year PC gets dramatic increase in graphics, yet consoles cant do that? Nonsense!

badkolo1513d ago (Edited 1513d ago )

dribble, the difference is already noticebale to a degree, worlds will be bigger, new features will be implemented form the cloud for both ps4 and x1, cameras for both will add more immersion in games and in 2 years the games that arrive , the bigger AAA ones will have some gfx surpassing anything we have seen before. just from demonstrations and new techniques we will start to see things we haven't before, look at star wars 1313 and there are other better examples im sure.

CRAIG6671513d ago

You either didn't read the article or you did not take on board what the author was saying.

Computersaysno1513d ago (Edited 1513d ago )

There are diminishing returns. But the thing is the 'massive increase in graphics processing power' doesn't apply as much as it used to these new consoles.

Xbox 360 and PS3 were a good ten times more powerful (potentially MORE) than their predecessors with a gap of 6 and a half years between PS2 and Xbox 360 launching.

PS4 IS the fastest next gen console and its maybe 8 times faster at best than PS3/360. Xbox one is 5-6 times faster than 360- if that.

Gap to Xbox 360 and the next generation: 8 years. So the consoles are relatively slower, even after a LONGER period of time.

If these consoles were cutting edge like PS3 and 360 when they launched they would be much more powerful. If they had something equivalent to a Radeon 7970 in them, they would be dishing out much more impressive visuals and the gap would be much more noticeable. 7970ghz is at least twice as fast as the GPU inside PS4. Yet even that core is 18 months old.

Now diminishing returns is a factor at this point, it takes much more power to increase visual fidelity significantly. Fact is though, these consoles are relatively slow compared to PS3/360 of their time, PS2/Xbox/gamecube of theirs.

This contributes even more to the idea that the 'leap' between console generations will be the smallest yet.

Diminishing returns and slower than the trend of previous generations.

Should this knowledge make you enjoy your next gen console less? Not really.

Kleptic1513d ago

but listen to your own words...

Everyone asked for Sony's head when the PS3 was announced at $500/$600...so we knew they wouldn't repeat that...

up until like 2 weeks ago...a 7970 Ghz addition was still around $400...for just a card...

while its true the consoles could be subsidized, therefor sold at a loss...neither manufacturer is in a good enough standing with investors to be taking a hit as big as it would for a gpu like that inside...and a remotely similar price point to whats been announced...

not to mention the other problem...the cpu's of both consoles would bottleneck the junk out of a 7970 anyway...so they would've needed high power cpus, there for additional cooling and power supply output, and the entire design just wouldn't work...

the console model still works...a PS4 is absolutely the most powerful device for real time rendering that you can get for $400...and that is all it needs to be...its the best value at that price...Just because there is much more powerful PC hardware...its not at all relevant, because its far higher in price...

a PS4 isn't supposed to be the best gaming machine available...thats just what fanboys expect...its supposed to be the best value at a given price...Sony succeeded in that without question, even though i'm not yet interested in one haha...

Computersaysno1513d ago (Edited 1513d ago )

I am well aware of the cost issue.

But it wasn't the point of my post. The point of my post was just to illustrate they are slower relatively than pretty much EVERY generation before.

The manufacturers took the hit on the cost of their cutting edge consoles the previous generations. The economic circumstances of today means that neither Microsoft or Sony will take the hit.

Therefore they both built cheaper machines- at least for them to build. They are still selling them at a price equivalent to the previous generation which had better technology in them for the time

In fact when 360 launched for just £280/$400 for a premium console its GPU was pretty much as fast as a £300/$450 PC graphics card like an X1800 or Geforce 7800.

Not to mention back then higher end cards used less power.

Not to mention the fact those consoles had separate chips for the CPU and GPU, which made them faster for the time.

By using an APU design you will be cheaper, but without doubt slower than two separate larger chips.

You are just stating what most people know, that the manufacturers have gone for cheaper machines because they lost so much money on the existing ones.

You get what you pay for with computer hardware, having paid less money to build their machines they have ended with with much less power relative to the best around in 2013. Thats just how it is.

Console market is in trouble as it is and these machines need to be profitable desperately as soon as possible. It only makes sense for them to try to save money on their designs rather than build these super fast machines they used to that lasted for a long time.

Kleptic1513d ago

^i completely agree, and sorry if i gave the illusion that i missed your original point...

and yeah...the 360, in 2005, was significantly ahead of PC hardware...at a very aggressive price point...It was the upper end 8000 series from Nvidia that finally stepped way ahead of the 360 and PS3, and that wasn't until early 2007 iirc...

not the case any more...for reasons we both pointed out...

For the most part the Xbox One's gpu is similar to a Radeon 7870, and the PS4's slightly ahead...falling between the 7870 and 7950...both of which are decent enough for modern games, but neither are choices for maxing out PC graphics at 1080p...its a much sadder story on the cpu side of things...but then again, they don't have to run Windows, either...

so yeah...it sucks...but w/e...It got me back into PC gaming, so i thank both MS and Sony for that haha...

thehitman1513d ago

I disagree w/ the author and the difference will be much more noticeable over time. I do agree though I care more about level design and story telling than increase in gfx but I dont like to look at crap on my screen either. GFX helps wow you into the experience.

tubers1513d ago (Edited 1513d ago )

I see phones/tablets coming near enough for comparisons being made in visual presentation during this PS4/X1 gen thanks to the diminishing returns in graphics.

With mobile becoming more ubiquitous and powerful "enough", I can see restructured business models trending after this gen.

"It’s time to focus on non-graphical features". I agree to that. Probably going to happen with console cams and bigger scopes in games.

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