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What If Devs "Max Out" PS4 Too Early?

Developers like CD Projekt Red claim to have "maxed out" the new consoles.

Does The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt really push PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to the absolute limits? Will later titles in 2015 do the same? What if designers really have managed to tap into all the power for each new system before the start of 2016?

I wonder if this will affect longevity. Common sense says it will, simply because we won't see any real progress in terms of visual presentation and other technical aspects. The games might start feeling stale that much faster. On the flip side, maybe it would tone down the graphical comparisons and the sheer amount of attention we give to games that are flashier. I'm not saying the entire industry would start embracing substance over style (the masses would never allow that), but I am saying that if graphical improvements start slowing, we'll invariably focus on other aspects.

Of course, everyone likes to say PlayStation 4 is the more powerful machine, and perhaps we're seeing evidence of that with a lot of multiplatform titles outperforming their Xbox One counterparts. But it doesn't make much sense to say Xbox One is holding back PS4 multiplatform productions. What does make some sense is the idea that exclusive software should push specific hardware, as it has always done in the past. Maybe we won't really see what each system can do until this happens (Uncharted 4, anyone?).

What say you?

Tags: ps4, playstation 4, ps4 power, ps4 games

4/21/2015 9:59:15 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (42 posts)


Killa Tequilla
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 @ 11:35:08 PM
Reply

This is what TheHighlander predicted :(

He was right

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frylock25
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 12:28:30 AM

this is all i thought when reading the article name. as i read the article i continued to remember how upset highlander was. miss that guys comments.

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mk ultra
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 2:55:00 AM

Why no love for Highlander. I miss his comments too.

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Kevin555
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 4:05:07 AM

I think i remember that Highlander fellow. Wasn't he really popular on here and had a nearly limitless knowledge of all things specs and tech? What ever happened to him?

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Beamboom
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 8:07:27 AM

Well at least that's what he thought of himself, Kevin.

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Banky A
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 8:19:09 AM

How come his name keep popping up like he'd never left.

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PS3_Wizard
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 8:52:07 AM

He had a bit of a falling out with a few members and Ben over the specs of the ps4, Kevin.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 9:56:01 AM

Well, he thought it was a falling out, the first time, anyways. He was passionate about his hobby. Can't fault him for that. Deciding to leave was probably premature, though. I liked the guy and played a bunch of WKC with him at one point. Basically, over one issue he really cared about, people who typically agree with him on most things did not agree, and I think he probably felt (unjustifiably) betrayed.

He returned a few months later, but a couple people (myself included, admittedly) called him out for his behaviour. (I think that's why people think there's a falling out) He left again, basically because he doesn't agree with Sony's direction anymore, and isn't a Sony fan anymore. I've since talked to him. He's not mad at anyone here. There's no permanent "falling out", contrary to popular opinion. He just isn't a Sony fan anymore, and a couple people I promised not to single out drive him nuts.

He can still be seen on occasion on PS3 playing a lot of low budget jRPG's with the wife.

Edit: Actually, I wonder if this thread might draw him out of hiding

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/22/2015 9:58:08 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 10:46:52 AM

For the record, Highlander and I never had any falling out. I still don't know why he left; I wasn't really paying attention to all the comments.

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Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 11:01:24 AM

@Banky

I keep mentioning him from time to time :)

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Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 11:05:15 AM

I thought the last nail on the coffin was something to do with Level5 and In No Kuni? Something about the game he didn't like and everyone else gave him a hard time for.

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 1:43:16 PM

His prediction is his opinion, how can he be right, it ain't a fact as of we no.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 4/22/2015 1:44:41 PM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 3:20:50 PM

Killa, maybe it's like Beetlejuice.. Just gotta say his name 3 times, then he'll show up!

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Beamboom
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 4:05:46 PM

Killa, the problem was that he had a very hard time handling people disagreeing with him. He'd floated around here for too long without anyone ever questioning anything he said, and when suddenly people started disagreeing he totally lost his marbles.

I used to like the guy, but those last months I could happily be without.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 5:59:04 PM

There was peaceable aftermath after the disagreements. He ended up coming back.
Shortly after that though he stopped coming again.


Some day I may learn to avoid spending time socializing on videogame sites myself. I feel like it can be a spin-cycle of deductive logic drawn from too few strands of info to ever come to sound conclusions.
It's easier just to enjoy games like a regular entertainment and leave the philosophy and conflict of ideals alone.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 4/22/2015 5:59:41 PM

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 6:02:10 PM

It's odd. Actually playing games with people from here online I tend to view as socializing. But talking on the actual site, I've never looked at it as that. I just see the site as a chance to discuss and debate. You'd think the two were interchangeable.

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Cesar_ser_4
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 12:04:14 AM
Reply

It was only a matter of time before console players found out x86 arch isn't supposed to last, much less with what would be obsolete hardware the two consoles had to begin with.

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FAREEZ
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 1:52:30 AM
Reply

It's explode when max out and burn the house down.

Really looking forward to Witcher 3, I hope it's really maxed out the ps4...

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Bio
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 2:12:47 AM
Reply

Developers love to say they've maxed out console hardware. They've been doing it for generations. It's just another marketing tool. Amy Hennig said Uncharted 2 maxed out the PS3, and while that game looked killer, God of War III looked better, and The Last of Us looked a LOT better.

Better looking games will come along, I'm sure.

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PS3_Wizard
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 8:53:47 AM

Yep. It all boils down to the engine and optimization at the end of the day.

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matt99
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 10:47:40 AM

The way I understand it (which could be completely wrong) developing a game is like building something, a house let's say, and the hardware is the number of workers and resources that the developer has available. However, some developers are more efficient at using those resources/allocating manpower and as time goes on they find ways to be more efficient, so while they may have already used the maximum amount of resources/manpower it doesn't mean they have found the most efficient/effective way to use those resources.

Last edited by matt99 on 4/22/2015 10:48:18 AM

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Bio
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 2:02:59 PM

That's more or less the case, Matt, yes. You could max out a PS4 just running basic calculations if you wanted to. Utilizing all the resources available in any given system, console or PC, isn't that hard. It's what you do with those resources that matters.

Developers will reach the practical limits of the PS4 sooner than they did with the PS3, but only because the PS4 uses standardized architecture, whereas the PS3's innards weren't even really designed for gaming, so getting the most out of the PS3 took a lot of time and patience before developers realized its true potential.

Either way, we can expect better looking games to be continually coming out for at least a few years now.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 4:08:39 PM

Yes, this thread right here explains it.

"You could max out a PS4 just running basic calculations if you wanted to. Utilizing all the resources available in any given system, console or PC, isn't that hard. It's what you do with those resources that matters."

Exactly.

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mk ultra
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 2:53:33 AM
Reply

I bet The Witcher 3 does push it to it's limits, but that doesn't mean they can't optimize the software to get more from those limits. Though from what people smarter than myself have told me, the architecture probably will mean a shorter generation than PS3.

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Breadlover
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 3:39:08 AM
Reply

Studios should be more clear as to what they mean when they say they can "max out" a console. It's not so hard to "max out" any machine (console or otherwise) by building a game with an animating crappy 3D stick figure, and running a plethora of complex and CPU/GPU heavy physics calculations that would "max out" that machine.

Sarcasm aside.. We tend to assume that when devs "max out" a console, they've been able to make the console spit out the "best" that can be achieved on that machine. I'd personally like to believe (and encourage others) that this is not the general case. Graphics is just one aspect of what current gen consoles can do. We've got gyro-enabled controllers, cameras capable of facial recognition (albeit with crappy implementation still), 3D (stereoscopic) capable machines.. and there's only been a few games that have "mastered" the complex process of combining these features to augment their games.

But even if we were to solely focus on graphics as to gauge if a console has been "maxed out", then it would probably be when, after a few iterations of games, that we notice no difference that we can safely say.. yeah, this thing's maxxed out.

I would then like to point out then that Uncharted 4 hasn't come out yet.. :D

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Beamboom
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 4:07:56 AM
Reply

During the PS3 years I always argued that making an exotic platform that developers spend a DECADE on making the bloody thing work was *not* an advantage. It was a waste of time. And Ben pinpoint why in this quote:

"if graphical improvements start slowing, we'll invariably focus on other aspects."

And that's what I look forward to. Stop fighting chipsets and architectures, spend the time on creativity and content instead. New concepts, different approach to AI challenges, new ways to tell a story, hell there's SO much exciting stuff other than trying to reach a bloody benchmark on frames and resolutions, or trying to fight with some kind of oddball solutions to make it play along nicely.


Last edited by Beamboom on 4/22/2015 4:13:33 AM

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Bio
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 10:37:16 PM

The issue with Cell was that it wasn't a Sony specific project. It was created through a consortium that included IBM and Toshiba. IBM ended up using Cell for their Blade business servers, obviously a very different purpose than PS3 served.

So game development was unwieldy at best for several years because not only was it proprietary like the PS2's Emotion Engine, it wasn't even designed with gaming in mind (like the Emotion Engine was).

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Kevin555
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 4:19:49 AM
Reply

I personally think it will take a couple of years until we see games that truly max out the systems juice but that won't stop the inevitable barrage of devs spouting the usual pre-hype spew such as "[Insert game title here] has maxed out the PS4!!" or " [Insert game title here] has pushed the PS4 to it's limits!!"

Then after everyone has played the game and the devs have settled down from their excitement phase, we all come to realize that there is still plenty of untapped potential within the system that hasn't been fully utilized yet.

I don't think any game ever will 100% fully maximize every morsel of technology available within the specs of the hardware but if one game on the PS4 were to come close to this feat, I'd put my money on The Last of Us 2, which we all know is happening ;)

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Snaaaake
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 5:47:58 AM
Reply

I love CD PR but no way they've maxed out the PS4.
The only developers with any right to claim they maxed out a console are Rockstar and Naughty Dog.
We heard countless developers saying PS3 was maxed and then we get TLOU and GTAV.

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Banky A
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 5:57:20 AM
Reply

Well - expect tech and design problems when a gigantic game is mainly being made for a system that will continually be 2x stronger, but releases on weaker systems.

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Squirreleatsman
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 9:48:52 AM
Reply

First of all CD Projekt Red is making a multi console PC game, So I highly doubt it, this claim was also made by Crytek with the release of Crysis 2 which was decent looking but by no means the best looking game of the last generation. Secondly even if they have managed to squeeze out every possible drop, it's highly unlikely they have used them to their mass effectiveness, especially considering the lack of resources when making a multi platform game. As interesested as I am in the Witcher 3, I'm disappointed to se CD Projekt Red resorting to such ignorant claims and desperate marketing techniques.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 10:01:51 AM
Reply

Meh, what does that even mean?

There are articles easily googled (I don't want to link to avoid the mod approval) that claimed KZ3 maxed out the PS3, GOW3 maxed it out, Crisis 3 maxing it out, Bioware claimed they maxed out PS3, GTA5 claimed it was maxed out....

Lots of games BEFORE The Last of Us claimed it was maxed out.

But really... just because you use up all it's power... I'm not sure that qualifies as "maxing out". Not within this context, anyways. It's easy to inefficiently use up all the available power. It's another to find a way to program more efficiently and "max out" the full potential of what's available.

I'm not sure the latter has been done yet, nor will it for a few years.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/22/2015 10:02:20 AM

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big6
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 10:11:31 AM
Reply

The only way a system is truly "maxed out" is when the console makers (Sony, MS, Nintendo, etc) stop making optimizations and updates to their Devkits.
For CD Projekt to say they've "maxed out" the current gen systems, I guess it's sort of true. But once Sony issues their next iteration (firmware update?) of their Devkit with newly optimized code, new games developed with it outperform Witcher 3.
And so on...

That said, there will be a time when all the internal optimizations are about as good as they're going to be. However, I think we're still a year or two away from that day.

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gumbi
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 10:31:30 AM
Reply

It's somewhat of a misnomer to say you've maxed out the hardware. This simply means you're using all available resources, it does NOT mean you're using all available resources in the most optimal way. Granted, there's no way we'll see the graphical evolution we saw over the life of previous Playstaions, but that's okay... In fact, maybe it's good. Less focus on graphics, more focus on play.

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PS9
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 1:33:42 PM
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There's still room for improvement as developers slowly develop mastery of asynchronous compute and Microsoft/SONY free up a 7th CPU core. We can also expect them to free up more memory over time (even though some argue that memory is not a bottleneck this generation). Everybody wants 1080P and 60FPS but I'm more interested in newer graphical effects that we haven't yet seen in games, and improvements to AI, that will further enhance immersion.

At the heart of it, I think what frustrates people about these machines are the processors; they really are terrible. Seriously... given what happened to gaming in 2014, they could have easily waited another year and made improvements to both the processors and memory bandwidth. It's painful to see the specs on current GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD and compare them to whats in the PS4 and XB1.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 3:50:39 PM

yep. there's a huge world of discovery left. An Ubisoft programmer had a huge PDF generated some months back that I looked over. It detailed the untapped asynchronous compute potential of the PS4. We're no where near making full use of the PS4 in a sophisticated way. Sony's Mr. Cerny predicted this very thing (he was the head design engineer so he's qualified, right?). Devs early on would only understand the basic ways of maxing the hardware through conventional means. ie. tapping the core's on the CPU itself, whereas the GPU compute would be used in simplistic rudimentary implementations.

It's this trivial perspective that leads some devs like Ready at Dawn to say there's a ton left to do on PS4 (those working exclusive on PS4), whereas other devs like the Witcher guys will state something in generalized passing (addressing it in an always iffy homogoneous way that includes also the XO hardware).

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Temjin001
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 2:03:48 PM
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There's no need to live in a what if world over such trivial matters.
The industry has already been pushing back on technologically sophisticated productions this gen.

Order 1886
Drive Club
AC: Unity
KZ Shadowfall
Ryse

Each of these impress to the 'next-gen' standard but none of them were gladly received on technological merits. These devs may have assumed gamers would have been so intoxicated by their lushness of offering that they wouldn't need to worry about low scores, or may have assumed the richly cinematic experience would carry the game play in such a way that critics would come right along for the ride.

Technique is the element worth it's weight in gold these days. Any concern over the amount of processing made available to devs should be the least of our concerns. I believe the indie scene has been the perfect contrast to this. We're clearly observing those doing a lot with less are usually the stars from a critical reception stand point, while those doing less with a lot or power are usually suffering because they can't seem to get the basics right.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 4/22/2015 2:11:09 PM

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Temjin001
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 3:04:49 PM

And just look at Star Wars Battlefront. The game looks like a very authentic experience that looks uncanningly like the actual movies.
We've arrived at the technology standard we could only dream of since the original PSX. We got to stop thinking of hardware as such a limiting factor and think of it more like a camera that can get any job done in the hands of the right director.

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mk ultra
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 8:50:25 PM

Well said. That's a nice sentiment.

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Bio
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 9:15:52 PM

Battlefront isn't going to look anything like that when it actually releases. They used 'in engine' footage according to their own trailer, which means they generated it using the game engine, but without any of the actual overhead that comes with gameplay.

A great example is the MGS series. All cutscenes are created using the game engine, but they look a LOOOOT better than the actual gameplay, don't they? It's because when you're actually playing the game a lot of the console's resources are dedicated to AI, physics, background loading, caching, user interface and in general reacting to your input on the fly.

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PS9
Thursday, April 23, 2015 @ 12:25:27 AM

Wow, thanks for all of the thoughtful replies, some of the different perspectives you provided made me note a certain negativity in the way I was looking at the situation. I have to remind myself of what a friend said to me years ago concerning some of the heavy hitters of the PS2 era (like God of War 2): "That's all coding dude." Great programming is what will win hearts and minds back this gen, maybe even more so than the the previous generation.

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JPBooch
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 2:15:38 PM
Reply

I for one am glad they are maxing it out. It will allow them to spend more time on fine tuning dialog, set pieces, lighting, and other things that build drama and draw you in. Less time worrying about what they can do and more on what experience they want to make will help the industry not hurt it

Last edited by JPBooch on 4/22/2015 2:16:34 PM

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