Industry insiders Jeff Grubb and Dusk Golem have been talking as much as they can about the limitations that third-party developers have been running into with the PS5. Namely, they’re having issues with getting stable framerates at 4K. The issue is pronounced enough that apparently even for Resident Evil 8, they’re having framerate stability issues at 1080p, which sounds troubling. So what’s the issue?
There are a couple things here at work and the difference between teraflops, RAM bandwidth, and processing power is not really the biggest part of it. But what seems like an issue now can easily be addressed, but it relies on two things. Reports of what is going on behind the scenes are reminiscent of what happened with the PS3, where new technology or unfamiliar spins on existing technology cause a bit of a learning curve. First party studios, like Naughty Dog for example, might have the clearest idea of what the console is capable of and how to work with the new toolsets.
Now, one of the issues for the PS5 is the fact that it is less powerful than at least the Xbox Series X. This will make use of features like raytracing harder without the use of a lot of tricks. While there are an abundance of tricks for that, Sony could remedy issues that third party studios are running into with a cheat sheet on how to best use the technology. This actually reminds me quite a bit of what happened with the PS3, where third party quality typically suffered for about a year or two while developers worked on figuring out how to use the power and tools that Sony provided them with.
One of the biggest tools that is helping the Xbox Series X is the use of DLSS. Now, while that is nVidia technology, Microsoft also has DLSS baked into DirectX12. So even though the Xbox Series X is also operating on AMD technology like the PS5 is, they have a similar technology baked into DirectX12. So AMD-based PCs using DirectX12 aren’t losing anything by not having nVidia guts. Since Sony isn’t paying Microsoft for access to DirectX12 or paying nVidia for DLSS, they have to cook up their own version. Issue is their new version will come with a learning curve that’ll take time for third party studios to learn. While the compression tools sound like something that will help increase stability, depending on how clear Sony is on how to use Kraken, the pay-off for that will likely hit quicker. Actually, that’s the case with pretty much any of the Sony-specific tech.
The point is this. Yes, in terms of multiplatform games and third-party exclusives, Sony will suffer. But the set back will be temporary and as developers figure out how to use Sony’s version of development tools, they’ll figure out how to increase the performance, though the graphical fidelity might be a little lower than the Series X. First party games will be fine right away. Sony has a vested interest in making sure they know how to make the most of it because most of their must have games and their developers are first party. It’ll just take time for third parties, especially multi-platform developers, to catch up and figure out how to get the most out of the PS5.