PS4 'isn't quite as powerful as Epic was hoping for,' Digital Foundry reports

By comparing the first Unreal Engine 4 tech demo, running on a PC equipped with an Nvidia GTX 680, with the latest presentation running on a PlayStation. By analyzing the two, minute differences where the PS4 comes short can be found.

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Although Epic Games publicly has high praise for PS4, the wizards at Digital Foundry have determined that maybe "the next generation of console hardware isn't quite as powerful as Epic was hoping for." How did they come to this conclusion? By comparing the first Unreal Engine 4 tech demo, running on a PC equipped with an Nvidia GTX 680, with the latest presentation running on a PlayStation. By analyzing the two, minute differences where the PS4 comes short can be found.

"The biggest casualty is the omission of real-time global illumination, which produced some really impressive lighting in the original presentation," Digital Foundry writes in their report. "GPU particles are fewer in number, depth of field has been significantly retooled and isn't quite as impactful on PS4, while object-based motion blur appears to have been removed. The flowing lava effect had real depth and texture to it in the original PC version - on PS4, it's significantly flatter."

While PlayStation fans will undoubtedly be disappointed in the analysis, Digital Foundry does note that the differences can be the result of the relative newness of PS4. "The DirectX 11 API is very mature while the PS4 tools and APIs are still in their initial stages of development--it's going to take time for devs to fully get to grips with the new hardware." Thankfully, being based in x86 should make development on PS4 mature much more quickly this time around.

From The Chatty

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    April 3, 2013 10:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, PS4 'isn't quite as powerful as Epic was hoping for,' Digital Foundry reports.

    By comparing the first Unreal Engine 4 tech demo, running on a PC equipped with an Nvidia GTX 680, with the latest presentation running on a PlayStation. By analyzing the two, minute differences where the PS4 comes short can be found.

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      April 3, 2013 10:06 AM

      That was really cool. But is that what actual gameplay looks like, or just cutscenes?

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      April 3, 2013 10:08 AM

      youll take what power its got and youll like it.

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      April 3, 2013 10:09 AM

      Thought it was the world's best pc?

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      April 3, 2013 10:12 AM

      Leave it to Epic they want NASA type builds for everything.

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        April 3, 2013 10:27 AM

        Without Epic the 360 would have sucked since it was Epic's prodding which got MS to double the RAM from 256 to 512.

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          April 3, 2013 10:32 AM

          I can't imagine how much different things would have been in the 360 had launched with only 256MB. Night and day difference really.

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            April 3, 2013 12:05 PM

            We'd probably already have the 720?

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              April 3, 2013 2:17 PM

              And it would be less powerful than what Sony is putting out for the PS4, but probably still more powerful than the Wii U, so they'd be stuck in a similar position again.

              What I meant though is how much the industry as a whole would be different if 256MB had been the bottom for so long, the PS4 would look like a monster system compared to the 360 then and the Wii wouldn't have looked so bad (although still pretty bad).

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            April 3, 2013 2:59 PM

            PS3 probably would of had 256 too.

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      April 3, 2013 10:12 AM

      But the VP just commented that the PS4 was like the "world's best PC!"

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      April 3, 2013 10:13 AM

      Its odd to me what particle f/x work on PS4 vs PC and which don't. That seems like a technicality almost.

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        April 3, 2013 10:31 AM

        On some of these digital foundry bits I can't see much difference either but this one just lept out at me, particularly the particle effects on the dudes face, the lighting differences, and that lava.

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          April 3, 2013 5:40 PM

          Also the lack of bokeh, though it looked like the PS4 might have lacked most of the focus effects, which would kill bokeh.

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          April 3, 2013 5:42 PM

          Or, nevermind, looking at the stills. It's probably just due to the lower number of particles.

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      April 3, 2013 10:18 AM

      PS4 is like the world's best PC.

      Except when it isn't.

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        April 3, 2013 10:20 AM

        worlds best pc that only plays videogames and netflix.

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      April 3, 2013 10:19 AM

      I'm a PC gamer. The PS4 footage looks pretty damn close to the PC version.
      This should at least mean that PC games wont be held back as much by the lower power of the consoles for the next few years.

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        April 3, 2013 10:27 AM

        The lighting was really different in some scenes. Otherwise, very similar.

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        April 3, 2013 10:35 AM

        First gen console games always look like crap when compared to the stuff that comes out a few years later.

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          April 3, 2013 11:48 AM

          This. Fixed platform, years of library optimising and trick learning.

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        April 3, 2013 11:47 AM

        more like they'll have a year or two reprieve from being held back

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        April 3, 2013 11:55 AM

        I agree, but do consider that it looks "not bad compared" to a 680 (kepler) which is coming up on end of life with Maxwell on the horizon. So think about this, the"next gen" console is almost equivalent to the PC technology that is already becoming outdated today.

        And while you ponder that, realize that the life span of the PS4 could possibly be for another 7 years. PC gaming is going to be held back, again.

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          April 3, 2013 12:37 PM

          Very true. PC usually means higher resolution and framerates, and not much else. Maybe one day it will change.

          Far Cry 3 looks way better than on consoles, but it's so poorly optimized that it almost doesn't matter. Stuttering has killed the atmosphere in so many modern PC games.

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            April 3, 2013 1:45 PM

            It also means higher resolution textures. This has really never changed, not ever, for all time. Not sure how you can see this and find Far Cry 3 looking way better on console. With the framebuffer resolution identical on your PC and your XBox or whatever, the PC textures will just blow the console's textures away. It's like saying "everything is better, but not much is better." Seriously.

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              April 3, 2013 2:19 PM

              Hahaha, whoops, meant to say it looks better on PC, but the stuttering holds it back.

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          April 4, 2013 1:25 AM

          You can't possibly expect a console to compare to a near top-tier card on PC, let alone exceed it for years to come. That's just improbable.

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        April 7, 2013 4:32 PM

        Only really noticed Tessellation, Depth of Field, and some lighting issues the rest were about par for a console. I think they did a great job for the hardware they were given.

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      April 3, 2013 10:48 AM

      Fucking nerds.

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      April 3, 2013 11:06 AM

      World's best PC! Except.... half of us have PCs that are significantly more powerful than the PS4 which is still 8 months out.

      Right.

      I am really glad about the direction they are taking the architecture, it's win win for everyone, but silly comments are silly.

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        April 4, 2013 1:31 AM

        Honestly, I've looked up the numbers and my current (not top of the line) PC outperforms it in all areas except BARELY the GPU. I have an i7 2700k (4.8GHZ OC), 8GB 1800MHz CAS8 DDR3 RAM, and an old GTX 470 SC that I overclocked even more (performs at roughly GTX 570 levels)

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      April 3, 2013 11:32 AM

      Seeing as how I'm likely going to be stuck with my 4 y/o pc for the foreseeable future I don't see this as a big deal. The ps4 will run great-looking games.

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      April 3, 2013 11:39 AM

      You can easily tell that there are marked differences. Still both look great, but the PC version just looks like it has more depth.

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      April 3, 2013 11:45 AM

      Roughly how much would it cost to build a pc capable of the graphics on the right?

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      April 3, 2013 11:56 AM

      Meh. So just install steam and run steambox on the tv with my current pc.

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      April 3, 2013 12:09 PM

      I find it curious that everyone is leaping to conclusions after it became known that developers only had access to kits with 1.5GB of RAM. At least, that's what the Guerrilla had to make the Killzone demo with and I'd presume Epic had to as well.

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      April 3, 2013 12:10 PM

      shady journalism...it makes it sound like Epic said that but Digital Foundry implied that by comparing the tech demos of PC and PS4? and then they go on and say oh hey maybe its cause Epic doesn't know how to optimize for PS4 yet

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      April 3, 2013 12:15 PM

      Minute?! Yeah right. Not only does the lighting suffer, but I was baffled when I saw the framerate dropped pretty badly.

      Yeesh.

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      April 3, 2013 12:55 PM

      just me or big frame rate drops on the ps4 in some areas?

      the part 1min 53sec

      and 2min 26sec

      also notice everything up close looks nice but look at 1min 33sec big big difference at the back of the shot, its like the ps4 cant render at such a high res that big an area,

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        April 3, 2013 3:05 PM

        It seems to be at 30fps the whole way through, compared to 60 on the PC.

        Check 0:46 with the red drapes on the right.

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      April 3, 2013 2:21 PM

      They both looked awesome

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      April 3, 2013 2:52 PM

      OH SHIT YOU MEAN THE CONSOLE THAT COSTS AS MUCH AS JUST THE PC VIDEOCARD ITSELF ISN'T PERFORMING AS WELL AS A FULL FLEDGED PC? HOLY SHIT, THANKS DIGITIAL FOUNDRY!

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      April 3, 2013 4:24 PM

      You'd think that instead of sitting back and whining like little bitches, they'd be a little more pro-active when developing their "next-gen" engines. But Epic has a habit of saying stupid, ill considered, bullshit that nobody gives a fuck about. They don't like Nintendo. Sony disappoints them. They've alienated the pc crowd and haven't given half a fuck about them since before Gears came out. Well, at least they still have MS's cock to slobber all over. Let's hope, for their sake, that people don't get tired of Gears sequels.

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      April 3, 2013 4:57 PM

      Most of these fancy FX that end up as bullet points for certain engine tech are barely noticeable to the vast majority of gamers. Right now, graphics are at a point where they are GOOD ENOUGH.

      after I stop noticing "God rays' the quality of the story is still lingering. If that story and/or gameplay sucks, the best graphics on the planet will be long forgotten

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        April 5, 2013 10:34 PM

        graphics are not good enough!!! Some games are about the ride and they need to use bigger and better effects to drive the expierence.
        Id say at the rate things have been going we have another 10 years or so before graphics are "good enough"

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      April 3, 2013 5:23 PM

      I suspect theyve had more dev time with the PC than the PS4 version of the engine.

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      April 3, 2013 11:19 PM

      Why are they comparing a PC that cost $1500 minimum (with a 680 costing $500) to a ~$400 console? The PC version doesn't look $1100 better to me.

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      April 4, 2013 12:41 AM

      A PS4 running on not final hardware, not final drivers, nor final OS.

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        April 4, 2013 2:09 AM

        This happens every damn generation. I'm all for the Master Race but it is a really different sort of dumb.

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      April 4, 2013 6:15 AM

      Lost all respect for this developer based on this statement.

      When have consoles ever been as good as a modern top of the line PC? (hint - NEVER)

      A GTX 680 by itself will be around the same price as the entire PS4!

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      April 5, 2013 5:31 PM

      I've never owned a console, always been a PC player (my newest has GTX680, older PC has a GTX580). Nevertheless, I am impressed with the PS4's graphics on this UT4 engine demo - it looks pretty darned good, and way better than what I recollect from seeing a few friends' XBoxes. It would be interesting to have a 3-way comparison of PS4 vs upcoming Xbox vs PC.