Developers say new generation of consoles not yet needed

By Andrew Yoon, Nov 04, 2011 8:45am PDT

Isn't it about time Sony and Microsoft announced the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox next-thing-they're-going-to-name-it? Some have been pleading, especially with the arrival of games like Battlefield 3, which look significantly better on PC than on console. Industry Gamers polled a few developers, and the general consensus seems to be "no."

"There is way more to be done on this generation," Square Enix Group's Worldwide Technology Director Julien Merceron said. The longer a generation goes, the more "creative people and artists" can "really understand how content should/could be designed, helping designing way more polished experiences."

Obviously, Square Enix is very committed to the current generation of consoles, with a new Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, and Hitman game coming next year. That hasn't stopped the company from dabbling in a theoretical next-generation, though. It has been demoing the possibilities of its new Luminous Engine.

Sledgehammer Games' Michael Condrey believes that the current generation of systems has been pushed to its limit. "For good teams, the raw horsepower has been pushed towards its peak performance, and great teams are looking for hundredths, and more often thousandths of a second of CPU and GPU optimizations to push the consoles harder."

Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi agrees. "I think by looking at the current lineup in games, most developers have figured out how to maximize those processors somewhere around last year," referring to the multiple cores that the current slate of consoles have. While there can be more squeezed out of the current generation of consoles, "any further dramatic evolution in current consoles that could be plainly understood by the general gamer would be fairly difficult to achieve."

In spite of seemingly reaching a tech ceiling on this generation, Hayashi isn't too excited about jumping to the next generation. "I don’t think there is a great need anytime soon for the next generation of consoles to advance the industry," he succinctly said.

So long as the current generation continues--and evidenced by the 2013 announcement of the new Rainbow Six game, it's likely to--the PS3 will seemingly benefit the most. "Personally, I’d say that – on PS3 – I believe there are some major improvements that can still be done, taking advantage of parallelisation and using more of the CPU for graphics tasks," Merceron said.

Hayashi also agrees. "PS3 came out a year later than the X360. Because of its later arrival, I would say that the PS3 has a slight advantage in performance," but as Merceron notes, "it is very possible consumers might get the feeling PS3 is slightly ahead of Xbox 360 in terms of graphics, but it will only happen if developers dedicate time to really push things on PS3!"

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