Debate begins to swirl around Epic's Unreal Engine 5 tech demo on the PS5

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,330   +535
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Earlier this week, Epic gave us a beautiful dive into the technology of the next iteration of Unreal Engine. In case you missed it, we reposted it below—it's really worth a look. It showcased two new core technologies used for virtualized geometry and dynamic global illumination. Even more intriguing was that the tech demo was running on a PlayStation 5 development kit.

While Unreal Engine has always been platform agnostic, the choice of demonstrating UE5's newest capabilities on PS5 hardware raised some controversy in the community. Why not show it off on the Xbox Series X, or better yet, high-end PC hardware?

When asked this question, Epic said that the PS5 just happened to be the hardware targeted for this specific demo.

"The demo we revealed is running on PS5 because that's been our target platform for this particular experience," an Epic spokesperson told Kotaku.

To quell criticisms of favoritism, Epic added that Unreal Engine 5 will remain platform agnostic and that the new Nanite and Lumen core technologies will also work on Xbox Series X.

"UE5, with core technologies like Niagara VFX and Chaos physics and destruction—and the newly revealed Nanite virtualized geometry and Lumen dynamic global illumination—is also targeting Xbox Series X," the spokesperson said.

When explicitly asked if Wednesday's "Lumin in the Land of Nanite" demo could run on a Series X, the only reply was, "We aren't running it on XBSX."

Of course, just because Epic is not running the demo on Microsoft's console does not mean that it can't run on it. Any number of reasons could have prompted the decision, but all are speculation. Maybe the demo is an early build of a game planned as a PlayStation exclusive. It is also possible the devs just chose the PS5 hardware at random. But maybe it's because they needed the fastest storage system out there for the demo to run at its best, and the PS5 has it.

That's right. According to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, the PlayStation 5's storage system outclasses anything available on PC or even HEDT systems.

"[The PS5] has an immense amount of GPU power, but also multi-order bandwidth increase in storage management," said Sweeney in a press briefing. "We've been working super close with Sony for quite a long time on storage. The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on the PC for any amount of money right now. It's going to help drive future PCs."

While Sweeney's comment is likely to rile up the PC Master Race and create even more controversy, the leapfrogging of consoles over PC rigs makes sense.

"Sony has shown more information on this point than Microsoft, but both companies have emphasized custom silicon baked into their upcoming consoles, specifically intended to allow the CPU to be fully devoted to gaming," says ExtremeTech. "From an architectural perspective—if you can't deliver more performance through higher and higher clock speeds, deliver higher performance by making more efficient use of the CPU. PC's don't have an analogous function block."

Regardless of whether Sweeney's statement is valid, or not, it would not be the first time consoles have outclassed PCs with newer gaming devoted tech. The Xbox 360 was the first hardware to have a programmable GPU. This jump was good for the gaming PC market because Nvidia soon followed with the programable G80. Sony's new storage architecture should be no different. PC and consoles have always had a symbiotic relationship despite all the oneupmanship.

Of course, Microsoft was quick to downplay the demo while still claiming to have the most powerful hardware.

"The fidelity seen in the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo is something that people can expect for next-gen gaming across devices," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "Developers around the world, including the majority of our 15 Xbox Game Studios teams, are using Unreal Engine to build their future projects. We look forward to partnering with Epic and working closely with Unreal 5 across our development teams when it releases in 2021."

Head of Xbox Marketing Aaron Greenberg added on Twitter, "[The UE5 demo was] super impressive and [I] can only imagine what the new Unreal 5 Engine will look like on the world's most powerful console."

Barbs back and forth are par for the course as console wars heat up, both between the companies and the fans. But it's still too early to be making fair assessments. Until consumers and reviewers have the new hardware in hand, saying one is significantly better than the other at this point is either marketing hype or fanaticism.

Rest assured that the back and forth will continue up to and through the launch of the next-gen systems this winter. You can also bet that Microsoft is undoubtedly planning a similar jaw-dropping XBSX reel to build up hype and take back the sudden attention Sony's PS5 console has received.

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kira setsu

Posts: 267   +186
This is the dumbest article I've seen on this site in awhile,

of course it can run it, the consoles pretty much have ran the same games since what? videogaming was a thing. so why would the narrative change now?

the "console wars" at this point is a joke, why? because the switch exist, is crushing everything and somehow ends up running the same games albeit chopped down a bit, as long as the weakest player(ninty switch) gets the most hype and devs rushing to port their games over these tech demos mean nothing.
 

Nobina

Posts: 2,428   +2,028
The enviroment looks great but the face of the character looks out of place and just not as realistic. It's still just a demo made specifically to show off but I doubt you'll have actual games that look this good. Also keep in mind game demos have had better graphics than the final product, consoomers were lied to, shocking. Graphics are probably one of the last things on the list to worry about if I was interested in console gaming.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 404   +395
They will both be close enough and run about equally well. We go through this with every console release. The console wars, they have started...
 
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poohbear

Posts: 429   +299
This is the dumbest article I've seen on this site in awhile,

of course it can run it, the consoles pretty much have ran the same games since what? videogaming was a thing. so why would the narrative change now?

the "console wars" at this point is a joke, why? because the switch exist, is crushing everything and somehow ends up running the same games albeit chopped down a bit, as long as the weakest player(ninty switch) gets the most hype and devs rushing to port their games over these tech demos mean nothing.
Take a chill pill dude.. I have never even heard of the Switch. PC, XBOX, PS. Those are the giants by market share for AAA gaming. They decide the direction of gaming.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 849   +351
MS isnt worried or care about what Epic did with the Unreal Egine for PS5 because it isnt close to being ready. So no one should be worrying about anything till next year after the consoles have been released. This also assuming UE5 doesnt get delayed. We are still a year away from UE5 anyways.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 849   +351
This is the dumbest article I've seen on this site in awhile,

of course it can run it, the consoles pretty much have ran the same games since what? videogaming was a thing. so why would the narrative change now?

the "console wars" at this point is a joke, why? because the switch exist, is crushing everything and somehow ends up running the same games albeit chopped down a bit, as long as the weakest player(ninty switch) gets the most hype and devs rushing to port their games over these tech demos mean nothing.
Nintendo isnt even in this convo. They lost the console war after the Super Nintendo. Even they said the wont be competing against Sony and MS. They will be doing their own thing. The Switch imo is pos plastic trash. Its only good for kiddie games which is fine cause there is a lot of kids out there. Mommy and daddy will buy their kids anything as long as the kids leave them alone. Parenting in 2020.
 
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Cooe14

Posts: 66   +82
Holy ****, did you just rip off Joel's ExtremeTech article near entirely... You literally just reorganized his words (in a vastly inferior manner) and called it a day. Giving a small shout-out doesn't suddenly make plagiarism ok... -_-
 
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Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,297   +1,248
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"Developers around the world, including the majority of our 15 Xbox Game Studios teams, are using Unreal Engine to build their future projects."

Epic really knows how to market when you consider how many game engines are out there yet they can get their single engine used in over half the publishing studios out there.
 

Tom Yum

Posts: 11   +12
Of course Unreal Engine 5 will run on PS5, XB and PC, that is the whole point of middleware engines, it provides developers one interface they can use across multiple target environments. Having said that, MS must be annoyed that they didn't get Epic to do a tech demo for XB during their 'game play' demo, as to be honest what they presented there was pretty meh from a technological leap PoV, whereas this demo I think is what people were expecting.
 

Cooe14

Posts: 66   +82
Of course Unreal Engine 5 will run on PS5, XB and PC, that is the whole point of middleware engines, it provides developers one interface they can use across multiple target environments. Having said that, MS must be annoyed that they didn't get Epic to do a tech demo for XB during their 'game play' demo, as to be honest what they presented there was pretty meh from a technological leap PoV, whereas this demo I think is what people were expecting.
If people are expecting graphics like this tech demo in launch titles (what Microsoft was showing), they are freaking delusional. Sony might be in for some SERIOUS backlash when people realize that next-gen titles aren't actually going to look like this for years at the absolute earliest. (See the Unreal Engine 4 demos from 2012-2013). Microsoft's presentation might have been underwhelming, but at least it was honest to what launch period games (on both consoles) will ACTUALLY look like. Aka, shinier versions of essentially last gen titles (or exactly what we got at the PS4/XB1 launch as well). It'll take at least a year before we see anything that actually couldn't have been done on last gen. The development tools like UE5 literally don't exist yet; let alone the user base to make true, big budget next-gen exclusives financially viable. I really thing Sony might have bit off quite a bit more than they can chew, expectations-wise with this demo.

Honestly, it's probably better to under promise and over deliver (like it looks Microsoft is setting itself up to) than the other way around, as far as consumer anger & backlash.
 

pit1209

Posts: 106   +155
If people are expecting graphics like this tech demo in launch titles (what Microsoft was showing), they are freaking delusional. Sony might be in for some SERIOUS backlash when people realize that next-gen titles aren't actually going to look like this for years at the absolute earliest. (See the Unreal Engine 4 demos from 2012-2013). Microsoft's presentation might have been underwhelming, but at least it was honest to what launch period games (on both consoles) will ACTUALLY look like. Aka, shinier versions of essentially last gen titles (or exactly what we got at the PS4/XB1 launch as well). It'll take at least a year before we see anything that actually couldn't have been done on last gen. The development tools like UE5 literally don't exist yet; let alone the user base to make true, big budget next-gen exclusives financially viable. I really thing Sony might have bit off quite a bit more than they can chew, expectations-wise with this demo.

Honestly, it's probably better to under promise and over deliver (like it looks Microsoft is setting itself up to) than the other way around, as far as consumer anger & backlash.
As I can see and understand nobody has claimed that games will look like that in 6 months, not on PS5 or Xbox Series X for that matter, they even clearly stated the engine is going to be ready late 2021.

Now, are games going to look like this at some point this next gen? Absolutely and they just showed us a glimpse to the future capabilities of this consoles and that's something we all wanted to see. Remember this was on the base PS5, imagine on Series X or the Pro versions, games are really going to look great.
 

m4a4

Posts: 1,763   +1,455
TechSpot Elite
The storage architecture on the PS5 is far ahead of anything you can buy on the PC for any amount of money right now. It's going to help drive future PCs.
This is demonstrably false. PC has faster storage solutions already. What is his angle here?

 
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Fuzzy Dunalap

Posts: 23   +45
Nintendo isnt even in this convo. The lost the console war after the Super Nintendo. Even they said the wont be competing against Sony and MS. They will be doing their own thing. The Switch imo is pos plastic trash. Its only good for kiddie games which is fine cause there is a lot of kids out there. Mommy and daddy will buy their kids anything as long as the kids leave them alone. Parenting in 2020.
Kiddie games? So let me guess, you wanted a switch and da said no?
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,202   +548
Textures are awesome yo. But you know what I thought people dont talk about much?
Ram prices arent going down. Like did we not have a monopoly case not very long ago when largest makers conspire to sell at the same price?
HOW are you supposed to make next gen texture scans that take gigabytes upon gigabytes?
Better graphics will need more ram. There should be a way to buy double of ram for the current price!
 
What's with the PS5 SSD, we are reminded of Sony's lies with the PS3...
High bandwidth isn't everything there is a reason why optane (the best SSD technology out there unlike what has been said) and is the only storage that comes close to ram but costs a leg...
As for Microsoft weirdly followed Sony's methods, the only difference it was rather underwhelming, they could've easily made a real time demo using one of their "numerous" upcoming games.
The good thing is, with Zen2 and RDNA2, PC games won't be stuck with the underpowered Jaguar cores and entry level GPUs of the PS4 and Xbone.
 
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Rdmetz

Posts: 29   +14
This is demonstrably false. PC has faster storage solutions already. What is his angle here?


He probably shouldn't have used the word ANY price but for any reasonable price yes it's much faster the drive you listed may be faster but its also almost $2,000 on Amazon and is definitely not a reasonable product for "just gaming".

Their actual speeds now and even when they launch will be much better than the majority of gamers have as well as can afford.

That would have been a better way to explain it. But doesn't sound as catchy.

From the perspective of most gamers though it's kinda true.
 
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Why don't you guys get it? Sony paid Epic a ton of money to say what they say and play their demo on PS5 only. Duh.
Oh, and Sony storage will not be that fast. After all consoles are out on the market, you'll find independent tests that show, it's just a normal Class 40 SSD. No big deal, and dirt cheap. Maybe backed by a big ram cache, but Intel Optane already does that on a PC. Besides, Sony's own SDK already talks heavily about pre-loading data on the fly before it's needed. It's all marketing BS right now.
 
Whats all the rubbish around the PS5's SSD and how fast it is? You can buy PCIe Gen4 SSD's for PC that have write speeds up to 4.4GB's and read of 5GB's which is the exact specs of the one in the PS5.

I have never read and seen so much rubbish from repudiable sites and YT channels before, I saw someone saying that PC's wont be able to even run these games, or require an SSD at least, it like they have all forgotten how **** works....
 

Irata

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