- Next-Gen Console Development Issues: What Makes PS5 and Xbox Series X Different?
- 7 Major Development Challenges of Next-Gen Game
- #1 New Hardware Impact on Game Design
- #2 The Full Use of More Resources
- #3 New Technology Application (AI and Machine Learning)
- #4 Changes in Development Tools
- #5 New Technologies in Animation
- #6 Quality Assurance Challenges
- #7 High User Expectations
- Differences in Next-Gen Video Games Development: Microsoft and Sony
- Next-Gen Consoles Games Development Cycle: Previous Gen Comparison
- Our Cases
- Final Thoughts
The next generation of consoles has been widely regarded as high-quality machines with state-of-the-art hardware. Not only can they boast increased power both in terms of GPU and CPU (compared to the previous generation of consoles), but they are also equipped with unique technological solutions that have the potential of changing the gaming industry as a whole. Furthermore, the demand for these machines is as high as ever, partially due to their dedicated graphics cards’ market shortage that drives PC players to alternative solutions.
However, the gaming systems are still rather new, and a fair amount of testing and bug fixing remains to be done. This, combined with the unfamiliarity of developers with the consoles, has led to certain next-gen console development issues. Let’s take a closer look at the most prominent Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 game development challenges and what might be at their root.
At first glance, the new console generation might not seem groundbreaking compared to the previous one. However, there are actually quite many changes that open multiple new possibilities for game development and, at the same time, might result in several issues.
So, what are the core changes in the next generation of gaming consoles that might be the reason behind the game development problems for next-gen consoles? Well, there are both hardware and software changes that make the machines drastically different.
More powerful hardware requires some getting used to from game developers, as they need to come up with the ways of using them to their full potential. In addition, parts of the next generation of game hardware (such as next generation SSDs) are entirely new to these gaming systems, which may further impact the development process and require new approaches.
Other PS5 and Xbox Series X development issues may concern the software changes at the core of the systems. With a change of generation, the development tools have changed as well, a little in some aspects and a lot in others. This requires some adaptation too and may cause next-gen video games development issues in the early months of the development process.
The application of new, state-of-the-art technology to the latest generation of gaming consoles opens many new opportunities. For example, using state-of-the-art Solid State Discs (SSDs) should drastically cut the loading times, thus potentially changing the established paradigms in game development.
However, while such change is definitely for the better and might significantly impact future games, it also requires a shift in the developer’s approach to memory usage. SSDs operate based on a completely different physical process than regular hard drives, which must be accounted for if you want to use them to their full potential.
Other next-gen game development issues concern the rise in popularity of VR and AR. While there already is a wide variety of games based on these technologies, users expect more innovative products to come with a new generation of consoles.
One of the more direct changes in the new generation of game consoles is simply their increase in power. More RAM, better CPU, and GPU allow for games with better visuals, NPC AI, and a more extensive and detailed world.
However, ensuring full use of these resources may prove to be complicated. Transitioning from PS4 and Xbox One game development, it might be hard to gauge which features fall within the technical requirements of the new consoles.
Furthermore, there are next-gen games development challenges when it comes to backward compatibility. Especially at the early stages of next-gen console existence, developers might be hard-pressed to create versions of the game both for previous and the current console generations, which might dissuade them from using the full next-gen capabilities.
Artificial Intelligence is slowly seeping into every facet of our life. So it’s no wonder that Sony and Microsoft have decided to employ it in their newest consoles as well.
These new technologies are tasked with improving the visual quality of the game without using the graphics engine. Through an analysis of the environment, AI will be able to construct the missing pixels, thus reaching a higher definition.
So, what can cause the next-generation console game making issues? In some cases, the use of AI can lead to certain artifacts, and developers would have to tread carefully to avoid them. This requires a particular set of skills and specific knowledge that PS4 and Xbox One developers might lack.
With the new gaming systems, companies release new game development tools made specifically for these consoles. While they were definitely created with developers in mind, it still requires time and effort to learn more about them and get used to them.
Reportedly, developers have fewer problems in PS5 game development, as the development tools are built upon the familiar foundation. They are based on the tools introduced during the previous generation release, scaled to the needs and resources of the next generation.
Microsoft tools are reportedly much more different from their predecessors. While this poses specific Xbox Series X game development challenges, this doesn’t make the tools bad; it just requires more time from the developers to spend learning instead of creating.
With the improvements of modern game engines and the consoles becoming more powerful, more developers strive for realistic animations, especially when it comes to facial expressions. This is where one of the major next-generation console game building problems lies.
Animating realistic human faces is extremely hard, especially considering that the closer you get to a completely real look, the bigger the chance of getting into the uncanny valley. An alien-looking expression might take the player out of the situation and spoil a genuinely emotional moment.
This is why 4D facial capture is becoming more and more popular. With animations based on the actor’s performance, there is no need for extensive polish.
As is often the case with new technological solutions, quality assurance is one of the big development challenges of next-gen console game creation. QA is an essential part of the next-gen console game development cycle, so it is crucial to overcome these challenges as quickly as possible.
One of the reasons behind the challenge is the inherent flaws present in systems not long after their launch. While most of them get patched as time goes on, at the early stages, they go unnoticed and might get confused with the flaws of the game.
Another important issue is the unfamiliarity of the QA department with the consoles. They might miss certain interactions between the game and the console that needs to be tested, and the product will get launched with a critical flaw.
Each generation of modern gaming consoles has marked a drastic change in game development. That’s why players have high expectations from next-gen consoles, which are difficult to meet.
While some games available for PS5 and Xbox Series X have already shown an increase in quality compared to their predecessors (like the Demon’s Souls remake), users want more and now. However, the experience shows that the most innovative titles come out towards the end of the console generation. Thus, managing the players’ expectations is also one of the developers’ challenges.
While the next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony are similar in hardware specifications, their strategies towards the next-gen game development seem to differ.
One of the major differences lies in support of other systems. Microsoft seems to aim to support Xbox One and One X for as long as possible, making the transition to the next generation more smooth. They also seem dedicated to the Xbox — PC crossplay, making the games available to as many people as possible.
On the other hand, Sony seems to be aiming for a faster transition towards the next generation. However, with more and more PS4 exclusives getting released on PC, it appears that Sony is moving past being based entirely on exclusive games.
However, these decisions are being made by the developers, as both companies have decided to give them more control over the game release to the creators.
Let’s take a closer look and find the difference between the previous generation and next-gen hardware:
|PlayStation 4||PlayStation 4 Pro||PlayStation 5|
|CPU||8-Core 1.6-2.75 GHz AMD “Jaguar”||8-Core AMD “Jaguar”||8-Core AMD Zen-2 based, 3.5 GHz|
|GPU||AMD Radeon-based engine, 1.84 TFLOPS||AMD Radeon-based engine, 4.20 TFLOPS||AMD Radeon Navi-based, 10.3 TFLOPS|
|RAM||8 GB GDDR5||8 GB GDDR5||16 GB GDDR6|
|Storage||500 GB hard drive||1 TB hard drive||825 GB SSD|
|Xbox One||Xbox One X||Xbox Series X|
|CPU||8-Core, AMD-based, 1.75 GHz||8-Core, AMD-based, 2.3 GHz||8-Core, AMD Ryzen Zen2-based, 3.8 GHz|
|GPU||1.31 TFLOPS||6 TFLOPS||12 TFLOPS|
|RAM||8 GB GDDR3||12 GB GDDR5||16 GB GDDR6|
|Storage||500 GB hard drive||1 TB hard drive||1 TV SSD|
These changes not only will make the systems as a whole faster and more responsive but also open a lot of possibilities for game developers. Better processing capabilities support the trend of the game worlds getting bigger and more open, with NPCs that feel real and can interact with the world around them. So, players that like to explore and create their own storylines should definitely rejoice.As you can see, the difference between the generations is drastic. Next-gen consoles are now comparable to the current high-end PC setups, which wasn’t the case for the previous generation even at the time of their release.
The question of backward compatibility should be discussed here as well. While at first glance it might seem that games that will use the next-gen hardware to their full advantage cannot be scaled down for the previous generation, modern game engines (like Unreal and Unity) support the scalability fairly well. It depends on various aspects, but early next-gen games could probably be scaled down for PS4 and Xbox One.
Despite the recency of the next generation of game engines, consoles, and hardware, we already work on a few Unity and Unreal Engine projects for both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
The majority of the next-gen games we’re working on are under strict NDA. But one of the first next-gen projects we touched is a pixel-art boss-rush game, which is soon to be released on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One.
We’re looking forward to sharing more details about the next-gen projects we’re doing now.
Pingle Studio has also worked on numerous projects, co-developing and optimizing games for the consoles of the previous generation.
Lost Ember, for example, is a beautiful adventure game with a unique breathtaking world with a perfect way to explore it through the eyes of the creatures that inhabit it. We co-developed it and worked tirelessly to port it and optimize the controls and performance for the best console experience.
Our success with both of these projects shows that we’re intimately familiar with how console gaming works best, and how to combine the greatest quality with the best performance. While our previous projects were mostly related to the previous console generation, we’re keeping a close eye on the next-gen systems and are ready to help with the next-gen development as well.
While PS5 and Xbox Series X are still new to the market, the next-generation console game development is full of challenges. Xbox and PS5 game development issues range from hardware- to software-related ones, and while some of them are about to go away with future patches, some of them are here to stay.
If you need help developing or optimizing the game for a console, Pingle Studio is here for you. Contact us now, and we will help you create the successful game of your dreams.