Next-gen rumors have been floating around quite a lot recently, causing many to speculate about the potential power and announcement dates of the Xbox 720 and PS4. But what do developers want from the next generation of gaming consoles? DICE's Johan Andersson details his desires.
The current-gen PS3 and Xbox 360 both have about 512mb of RAM if we look at it in simple terms. While these consoles are still able to create some stunning games they're proving time and time again to be severely lagging behind high-end PCs and Andersson feels as though RAM should be the first thing to see a siginificant increase next gen.
Andersson is hoping we will have at least 4GB of RAM in next-gen consoles. Most graphically stunning PC games these days do recommend at least 4GB so if anything, that amount of memory should give consoles a definite boost in power and should be the base minimum. As Andersson states, having at least 8GB of memory would also help to futureproof consoles. Considering the lack of RAM is the reason the PS3 can't even support cross-game chat, it'd be hard to disagree.
"Two gigabytes would not be enough when it comes to RAM. Four gigabytes would work. Eight gigabytes? Yeah. I think that would be perfect when it comes to memory."
"Presumably next-gen consoles will be rendering internally at 1080p, so they'll need much higher resolution assets than are commonly used for modern games (usually rendered at 720p and scaled up). Also, console lifespans have been getting longer, and presumably the next-gen units have an even longer journey ahead of them. More memory means more future-proofing. Finally, RAM is cheap. You can buy 8GB DDR3 modules for $40 retail. Buy the chips wholesale and it's easy to imagine the cost for 8GB dropping under $20."
The graphical enhancments won't just make games look prettier, but as Andersson says, they will also help to create game changing experiences.
"To build game changing experiences, not just pretty visuals, but game changing experiences? That's what we're really excited to do, going forward."
Some of the most innovative experiences this gen seem to come from games that don't really push consoles to their limits, so power isn't always required for "game changers," and thatgamecompany (Journey, Flower) is a perfect example. That being said, seeing Battlefield 3 on max settings with 64 players on PC versus a 24-player max on the consoles and lowered graphics does make one long for an increase in power to take full advantage of DICE's Frostbite 2 engine.
Andersson also talked about processors, but aside from saying he wanted something faster, he didn't really go into specifics. Though he did point out that we probably won't see multiple processors in a single unit.
Will we see a dramatic increase next gen? Maybe. After all, Andersson does have a point: buying 8GB of RAM in bulk should be relatively cheap. However, we've already heard rumors of the Xbox 720 graphics card, and the Wii U's lack of processing power, but with nothing truly sound to go on, all we can do is wait until the impending console announcements.
Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyMole