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Will low-end PC's hold back nextgen games?

Every article held for PC vs console always brings forth discussions of consoles vs high-end PC's.
Will PS4 be as powerful, will they be equal or will it even surpass?

Let's not kick the dead horse in this blog, I would rather introduce a more concerning topic: consoles vs low-end PC's.

Could these lesser spec'd PC's potentially hold back multiplatform games? Or will they fall in line with consoles to meet the new minimum requirements forcing PC gamers to upgrade their old rigs?

What do we know about the PS4?
Memory is easily translatable (8GB GDDR5), the CPU currently remains shrouded in mystery however thanks to NVIDIA the power of the GPU is shown for all to see.

PC has had a number of big games come out recently so looking at the low-end specs of each we should be able to somewhat compare with what the PS4 is offering.

First up Bioshock Infinite -

Memory: 2 GB

Memory is obviously far better in the PS4 and if you take another look at NVIDIA's graph posted above you can see the 8800 GPU sits just above the PS3.

Next up Tomb Raider -

Memory: 1GB
GPU: nVidia 8600

The specs of Tomb Raider are lower than that of Bioshock, so let's not take too much time glazing over this one.

Lastly the behemoth that is Crysis 3 -

Memory: 2GB
GPU: GeForce GT 520

Crysis 3 has higher requirements than that of the previous two games however the GPU is not listed on NVIDIA's graph but if we go to Wiki we can see the GPU flops only rate at 155.5 far under the 1200-1300 of the PS4.

So what does this mean for multiplatform games? Will they still continue to target 2GB ram machines with lousy GPU's or will PC owners be forced to upgrade their machines and keep up with the rest of us?

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Ducky1862d ago (Edited 1862d ago )

When it comes to the GPU, the game has in-game settings to enable/disable the eyecandy and physics.

It's up to the developer how far they allow the user to modify settings, but those low end users don't usually hold back the game.
You only need to look at TombRaider, it has TressFX, yet the minimum requirement is an 8600.

Another example is Stalker. I can run it on my old laptop that has an integrated GPU, or I can run it on my desktop and it'll still give the GPU a workout with its lighting effects.

The CPU is a bigger concern, since you can't always ease it's strain that easily.

As for ram, I believe most PCs that are used for gaming have over 4 Gb. No current games come close to eating up that much ram (afaik), and it's likely going to take some time before developers really start using all of the ram the PS4 has to offer.

... that's a good thing. Because it means the PS4 will have longer legs, and the currently lower-end PCs won't be holding back next-gen games.

ABizzel11862d ago

Thank you for saving me the time of writing all that.

PC is nothing like console in terms of lowest common denominator. With PC games are built to run on specs with certain settings applied. If your PC can't run the game on max simply adjust the settings to a lower level and you're still capable of running the game, so PC will never hold back consoles in that regard.

As far as memory goes, it's up in the air. The PS4 theoretically has a better RAM setup than most gaming PC's. That being said games are developed on PC and built to take advantage of the consoles specifications. So again the PC version will up and running by the time they get ready to move on the specific consoles which again means PC will never hold back consoles. Developers should take advantage of the fact the PS4 is using GDDR5 RAM, but that has nothing to do with what developers do with PC's in the end.

PC will NEVER hold back consoles.

TopDudeMan1862d ago

Consoles, being the larger market are what drives gaming technology. PCs are far more advanced, but there's just no need for that level of tech as long as the lead development platform of most games are consoles.

When devs make a game, they have requirements that have to be met by the system. Now, they have to do quality testing to make sure they run okay on consoles, whereas on PC, they just have to say that as long as you meet these minimum requirements, the game will be playable.

TechnicianTed1862d ago (Edited 1862d ago )

The ps4 might be the low end that holds back games. Nothing has been announced when it comes to MS's offering. Won't that be funny if the ps4 isn't as powerful? I'd laugh until my skull came out.

Also, pc's haven't been used to to their max with most games because we are still living in the ps3/360 age. Next gen will finally enable most decent devs to make use of that power. Laziness on the devs part, the better machine was there but they didn't take advantage of it.

EDIT:Also, when you see how many pc's there are in the world, you need a perspective. It's easy to say 'most pc's are not gaming pc's!' - but a little of a lot, is still a lot -


Capodastaro1862d ago

"Will they still continue to target 2GB ram machines with lousy GPU's or will PC owners be forced to upgrade their machines and keep up with the rest of us?"

In which world do developers target low end systems?

They just simply say, here are the bare minimal specs you need to run this game on low settings, if you don't have at least this... It won't run so don't bother buying it.

BitbyDeath1862d ago

Fundamentals of the game would have to be spec'd to compensate low-end.

Take Uncharted 2 for example, do you expect that to run on a Ps2 even if the graphics were simply scaled down?

Ducky1862d ago (Edited 1862d ago )

Tone down Uncharted's visual and physics and the game should run on PS2.

We saw games with similar features like Prince of Persia and MGS2/3, the latter of which had some pretty good AI as well.
The first Jak&Daxter was arguably a bigger technological feat considering you could go from Samos' hut to the end without any loading screen.

Computersaysno1862d ago (Edited 1862d ago )

PC holds nothing back. Devs build a game, if you don't have minimum specs to cope with it then tough. Devs TRY to build games to run on a wide variety of machines but don't worry much about putting a game out there before the technology is widespread even for PC. They aren't scared. Let's face it Crysis came out and the technology to actually run it maxed was years away for 99 percent of PC gamers, although the higher settings were within reach for many and still looked amazing.

I played it on just 'high' in 2007 and it was still ridiculously better looking than anything on console (ps3 was only a year old!) at the time and frankly still is! Then a little later had the hardware to do ultra and uber res. If a Dev wants to push the tech on PC they can do and will.

PC devs know they can push the technology and if the game is worth it then PC gamers will embrace it and catch up quickly.

Within 18 months of ps4 launching I think you will find millions of PC gamers will have machines that easily beat the pants off of ps4 just as they did with ps3 and 360. Actually ps4 will be much slower compared to a decent PC now than 360 was when it came out. PC already has a big tech head start more than ever before!

Consoles are always behind cutting edge. Always. They never lead. There is zero concern that devs will build low end PC games when the games they are building now would make ps4 sweat anyway!

Crysis 3 and metro and battlefield 3 etc would make ps4 sweat hard and it isn't even out yet.

It is a bit of a stupid thing to think that PC would hold back a console when Crysis 3 now would bring ps4 to its knees at 1080p and equivalent max PC settings and AA...

It runs on a huge wide variety of systems fine but if u wanna push the envelope u can and it is pushed so hard with many modern games I think you will find that they would actually be pared back from their highest PC settings to run on something like ps4...

BitbyDeath1862d ago

@Ducky, there were no cinematic games like Uncharted lastgen. If they weren't done before then chances are they just simply couldn't.
Also the animations would just make the PS2 choke as it wouldn't have the RAM to compensate.

@Computersaysno, so you're thinking PC's will just move ahead?

This was the original question, there are no right or wrong answers. Everyone seems to have a differing opinion. PC and console power have never been this close before so the results are unprecedented. But I am hoping as you stated will be the case.

Ducky1862d ago (Edited 1862d ago )

^ What exactly makes Uncharted that much more cinematic than games such as GodOfWar, ResidentEvil4, ShadowOfTheCollosus, SanAndreas or MGS3?

The visuals were the big jump. Things such as characters, story, set-pieces, AI were already being done by the PS2.

Animations, sure, they'd choke the ram, but they're pretty much part of the visuals and not a 'fundamental' part of the game. They didn't make or break the game.

BitbyDeath1862d ago

Good question, i'd imagine the world around you feeling lively rather than just a moving backdrop would make it more cinematic, eg the building crashing while you're inside.

The animations are important to the game imo.
Animations usually get clunked together with visuals but it is much more than that, it adds to gameplay. If Uncharted were on both PS2 and PS3 it would not be the same game we know it as today.

Another example - (again Naughty Dog) The Last of Us. AI is a huge part of this game and if this had to be left out due to PS2 not being able to number crunch as fast as the PS3 it would not have the same appeal as it does today.

givemeshelter1862d ago

I don't think you understand how PC development works BitbyDeath. PC games are given a minimum requirement to operate. It's scalable. Console games and systems are not. Almost all PC games have in game video/Audio options for most systems.
You scale it based on your PC system. PC gaming won't hold back gaming.
In 2 years from now, once again we will be hearing how console gaming is holding back PC gaming... because PC systems are open box and consoles are closed.

BitbyDeath1861d ago


If low-end as we know it today stays low-end when PS4 arrives then yes it will hold back multiplatform games as they are currently targeted towards PS3/360.

Question is, will the low-end PC stay targeted this way or will it evolve? The jump is pretty big so the results should be interesting.

The reason for the blog was to ask the question as what the community here thought on the matter.

Computersaysno1861d ago (Edited 1861d ago )

Yes minimum spec evolves.... It always has. It isn't difficult and the step between ps3 and ps4 for example is smaller than it was from ps2 to ps3.

It is fairly easy to understand that the average PC gamer now has a machine that is well ahead of current consoles. So the step you imagine between one console generation and another is nothing much to a PC gamer even one with less than cutting edge gear.

Even if said PC gamer has dated hardware like a core 2 quad and a near 5 year old GTX260 they operate games at a much higher level than ps3/360 ever could.

It takes time for consoles too to really exploit their performance, at least a year before a game arrives that truly pushes the machine for the first time. Prior to that the games running on the system typically run fine on a good PC of the period. I call to mind the likes of call of duty 2 and quake 4 at the launch of 360 which ran excellent on PC.

But as PC hardware evolves so has the minimum spec. When 360 arrived typical minimum spec might have been a Geforce 6600. A year later that moved upwards to a 7600GT, then again a year after DX10 arrived we were talking 7800GT as a minimum by 2008 for many titles. Every year the general min specs push upwards so that now min spec for most PC games is well beyond the range of consoles, like 8800GT which is easily twice as fast as consoles and now a common Minimum!

By the time ps4 arrives cutting edge games will come with a minimum spec of probably a GTX280 or even better. In fact Crysis 3 has to be Dx11. Because it is an enthusiast game then people expect to have to own enthusiast hardware to run it. So it just isn't a problem.

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ZoyosJD1862d ago


Do you actually think devs want to purposefully cut out possible purchases?

There are a lot of PC games that purposefully target low specs so they can run on everything from a beast rig to a students laptop.

It's never as simple as "we don't want the money of a PC gamer because their running a crap rig." There is a lot of money flowing between hardware and software companies.

SilentNegotiator1862d ago

I hate all of the X holding back Y crap. And I hear it especially often with consoles holding back PC gaming.

Somewhere in the vicinity of 1/3 of Steam users play with crappy built in video chips or rather low end GPUs, according to their own data which they have compiled and made public.

The delusion that PC gaming is being "held back" by consoles, a healthy middle-ground of price and power, and is some massive burden, is absolutely ridiculous. Did this generation drag on too long? Yes. But the consoles still manage to achieve just fine for most of their lives.

I know this will burn the eyes of the elitist scrooge-ites reading this statement, but most PC gamers don't have very powerful hardware and accessibility is important to developers and publishers.

If consoles disappear tomorrow, most gamers will buy "low end" PC hardware and no meaningful difference will be created as to what power players' hardware is.

.........that said, PC holding back consoles because of RAM is also ridiculous. Games don't typically use up too much RAM. Ps4's high amount of RAM is for other features, not because games are suddenly in need of an entire flippin' 8GBs of RAM!

TL;DR? "Holding back" rhetoric is a steaming poo. People buy what they can afford (on average, usually lower end) and developers have to make games so that lots of people can play them. Don't like it? Fly to Bizzaro-world where every video game is crafted for you and you alone.

TooTall191862d ago

Isn't the PS3 GPU is close to an NVIDIA 8800? Min requirements will increase, and eventually the PC version on low settings will look better than the PS4 version.

BitbyDeath1862d ago (Edited 1862d ago )

Going by NVIDIA's graph (included in the blog) the PS4 GPU is about 2-3x more powerful than a Geforce 8800.

Bladesfist1862d ago

Exactly, but we are talking about how min specs for PC games this gen have been equal to or greater than the PS3 specs so it makes sense that the same thing will happen next gen.

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