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Obsidian CEO Says Next-Gen Console RAM is 'Most Important' Improvement

TechRaptor Writes, "Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart is very much looking forward to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. One of the reasons is the next-gen console RAM — in his own words, it's the "most important" thing about the next generation of gaming."

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29d ago Replies(1)
DEEBO29d ago

Everybody is going to say this is best for next generation if it helps the people who writes their checks.
PC has been the king of ram so why not just build every system like a pc?

What really matters is developer's and a talent team.
I seen what Sony studios have produce since PlayStation one even when the console wasn't the strongest.
What the best game from these guys??
I never heard of their game of the year...

ColdSin29d ago (Edited 29d ago )

You don't need to talk down Obsidian because they are under Microsoft's banner now. They developed many memorable games like Fallout New Vegas (nominated for GOTY multiple times) and Alpha Protocol. Obsidian is one of the developers who usually innovate in RPGs (they have many RPG veterans like Tim Cain and Josh Sawyer).

They never had the opportunity to shine because of time and budget constraints.
For example, Fallout New Vegas would have been bigger in scope but Bethesda gave them less than 1.5 years to develop the game. They wanted you to be able to choose among a mutant, a ghoul, or a human. They wanted New Vegas to be bigger. They wanted to include massive battles between the Legion and the NCR. They couldn't achieve that in less than 1.5 years but what they achieved made people ask for another Fallout game developed by them.

Eonjay28d ago

It's not RAM though. The single most improvement is the CPU hands.

bouzebbal28d ago

Best thing is still talent.. Give a non talented studios 100GB GDDR6 they'll do nothing with it..
If ram was the most important improvement over the generations, then we'll never see bad games.

ZeroBlue228d ago

It's not talking down to them, it's just being honest. Nobody pretends that anything ND says about hardware isn't prescripted by Sony.

ED-E28d ago (Edited 28d ago )

Time and budget constraints is something every developer has to struggle with, this was never an Obsidian exclusive, but somehow treated as such.

Beth producers knew they would never delivered the multi race feature within these time/budget frame Obsidian agreed upon and talked them out of it for their own good. Bigger Vegas and massive battles, not possible with that engine on the console generation back then. This was delusional on their part. I mean they couldn't even managed to do that within the current generation on Outer Worlds (which had a similar team size).

Obsidian managed to get some good designers and writers for their projects (most of the time), but on the technical side, they really need to step up. Every game looks and plays like as if it was a remaster of a previous console generation.

McToasty207727d ago

Exactly Obsidian are kings of RPG storytelling, KOTOR 2, Stick of Truth, and Pillars of Eternity are also top notch.

Honestly I’d put them above CDPR, really look forward to what they produce with adequate time and budget, something non of the listed titles have had the benefit off.

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 27d ago
RaidenBlack28d ago

Whoa, whoa!
What's the best game from Obsidian? Really??
And you are following games from PSOne days? And at the same time talking about PC? Are you kidding me??
Look up Obsidian Entertainment, lad. Pre-MS acquisition. Their achievements and accomplishments. And no, not their Wikipedia page.

PyroMessiah8628d ago (Edited 28d ago )

Outer Worlds is great too.
If you don't have a clue about Obsidian, putting them down is foolish @DEEB0

Fantangoooo28d ago

True gamers know the caliber of what Obsidian is, i have played most of their games and i can tell you... those guys know how to make great games with top notch story telling.

NeoGamer23228d ago (Edited 28d ago )

No need to get into fanboyism on the article.

The amount of RAM in both consoles is the same and it is faster and 4 GB 25% more than the previous gen.

RAM is always one of the most important things for games but it is a high cost piece of the console. That's why they don't put a ton of RAM as compared to high end PCs in. You have to remember they are targeting a $399-599 price tag. Not a $1,000 PC price tag so just building a console exactly like big PC gaming rigs is not really an option.

As for team talent Obsidian has been a strong independent developer for over a decade. Then, they were bought by MS and now have a lot more resources at their disposal. I expect a lot from them going forward.

Kribwalker28d ago

lol. They made a game of the year contender last year, that was a great game, and it was only a 80 person team (of the 200 staff at the time) that made it. Just wait now with the budgets and time MS is giving them, they could have a beast coming up
https://mobile.twitter.com/...

Melankolis28d ago

Obsidian is a well respected developers. Only heard good things from them. Never play their games personally, their genre doesn't appeal to me.

rainslacker28d ago

PC is also the king of overhead. Lots of RAM is great, and the fast RAM is nice, but so long as you have the OS between the software and the hardware, it's always going to cause a bottleneck. Some things can use DMA, but even it's still handled by the OS, although significantly faster. Not many devs program for DMA on PC though, because it's not consistently reliable across different hardware setups, so they still use a higher level DMA interface, which kind of defeats the purpose.

RAM however is a big thing with the new consoles, although this past gen it wasn't terrible. RAM has been the biggest headache in game development for some time now, but the SSD's and ability to free up RAM by utilizing SSD as a type of virtual memory, or not requiring to load all or most of the games assets for run time, frees up a lot of space, and requires less memory management to be done by the developer.

Computersaysno28d ago (Edited 28d ago )

At this point you're talking about consoles that are giving up an entire CPU thread, a whole core and dedicating 3-4GB of their entire memory to their OS and background functionality. Consoles have had major OS overheads for quite some time now, that was one of PS3's weaknesses against the competition.

Consoles have had more and more overhead. Windows in particular has aimed to have less and less from a gaming perspective. Getting closer to the metal with each API improvement and hardware standardisation relative to history. The gap has narrowed significantly, quite simply.

Hence this is the reason why PC performance has moved comparably close to console hardware with similar performance. No longer does a console massively outperform a PC with comparable hardware. Right at the start of this generation you were seeing digital foundry put pretty mediocre PC hardware against PS4 and Xbox One and there was little issue in it matching or beating them when you went down to the fine details of settings and resolution comparisons.

This still holds true today as well, with pretty low end requirements seen for even PS4 exclusives like HZD or Death Stranding that matches up to what is seen pushed by console hardware.

When it comes to RAM in the 7 years since PS4 and Xbox One launched with 8GB, these new consoles only doubling it is the smallest increase by a long way in the history of generational console transitions. Every other generation has increased the amount by 16 times or even more.

Saying that RAM is extremely important to developers and they will take every shred of memory you give them.

rainslacker28d ago

The game space in consoles with through a hypervisor which isolates it from the OS. Data is read and written in a protected space outside the OS.

The os in consoles can still manage some tasks for the dev...like saving or matchmaking for instance, but when the game is running, the overhead is minimal to nonexistent depending on what the dev implements. On PC, this overhead always exist for every bit of data within the system memory space, or transferred through the bus. DMA is available to some degree on PC, but there is still OS level data protection which handles the hardware calls.

The amount of overhead for every bit of data on PC adds up to a lot more than the loss of a core or thread on the consoles. Most games don't even manage multicore or multithreading very well anyways on PC, and what you see tends to be OS assigned stuff which is more passive than what game devs will do on consoles.

Sunny1234528d ago

Pillars of eternity 1 and 2 are both great games. But honestly I don't understand how ram is the most important. Shouldn't it be gpu? Or cpu. Or everythin together including ssd ?

VoiceMale28d ago (Edited 28d ago )

clearly didnt read the article or you wouldn't have asked this.....

he said for the games they want to build:

"RAM means more NPCs, more trees... Your streaming point is out a little farther and all these little things"

he goes on a bit fuether:

"Of course technology is important to RPGs, but for us it is about characters, story, reactivity and player agency,"

Sunny1234528d ago

Actually I didn't read the article. But thanks for the explanation. I was thrown off by the title, and thought things work better in conjuction. But yeah, having more things on screen means having more ram.

Marquinho28d ago

Talking down on Obsidian now?... They're one of the most talented studios around. Created both Pillars of Eternity with medium budgets and now they have all the resources they need. If there's one studio Microsoft acquired I'm excited about, that's Obsidian.

They talk about RAM (and CPU power) because it's something more relevant to what they do. He talks about NPCs and lively worlds. You need RAM and Processing power for that. For comparison, the Series X DDR6 RAM is faster than almost anything on PC, and devs don't precisely take a 2080ti as a reference when making a game.

Also, he isn't saying anything outside the Series X. It's you guys automatically assuming he's downplaying the competition.

L7CHAPEL28d ago

fallout New Vegas and of course the outer worlds would be the most recent,
grounded is coming up...
as far as "what's best for game development"
all the different developers and technicians having enough time and space do the things they want to do ...
it won't be ram, it won't be SSD, it'll be the guys behind the steering wheel.

Saijahn28d ago

But this article is a nod to both consoles as both feature the same amount of RAM, 16gb gddr6. Sony isn’t signing a check to obsidian ...lol

It’s one dev’s opinion based on what he sees as paramount for the games he wants to make.

Neonridr28d ago

these are PC's though. Architecture, components, technology. They are closed system PCs.

TheRealTedCruz27d ago

Key figures in Obsidian were involved in virtually every classic crpg series of the 90s and forward.
Pillars of Eternity series won a bunch of awards. Stick of Truth won a bunch of awards. New Vegas won a bunch of awards. Hell, they're the reason Fallout Even exists in the first place. Tyranny won awards.
Kotor 2 is considered superior to the original, but was held back due to a tight development cycle.
Even their weaker releases have a cult following.

They are legitimately one of the best in the RPG space, and the fact you can't see that just screams of personal bias.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 27d ago
lelo2play28d ago

Games... it's always about the games... that's the most important thing.

You can have a crap console, but if you have the games to back it, your set. Take the example of Nintendo...

Saijahn28d ago

That’s what he said ... tech is cool as it affords these devs to really craft the games they want...

anubusgold28d ago

i have 32 gb of ram not a problem for me.

kryteris28d ago

and not enough unless there is some secret sauce with the ssd.

rainslacker28d ago

There is always a limit, and any dev when asked will say they want more. But, the SSD's, "secret sauce" as you call it is not really secret, nor is it a golden ticket to infinity. It can, however, free up a significant amount of RAM by loading in less at start, and streaming or swapping assets as needed during run time. Since it can do this faster, it is a pretty big thing, which is why there is so much talk about it.

Games1st28d ago

If you want more ram wait for PS5 Pro in three years or so.

Babadook728d ago (Edited 28d ago )

RAM size went up 2x. That seems like a small upgrade. But because RAM only needs to hold what you see on screen right now, (due to virtual RAM in ultra fast storage) it will actually act like it’s 4x more.

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