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Old 06-12-2020, 08:29 PM   #1
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Default DF: PlayStation 5: Does the new Sony console deliver the next-gen dream?

Article by Richard Leadbetter, Technology Editor, Digital Foundry
Updated on 12 June 2020

Yes, we finally saw the console, we know what it looks like and how gigantic it is - but crucially, yesterday's PlayStation 5 reveal also delivered software and lots of it. It was our first opportunity to see the extent to which Sony and its partners delivered on the vision set out by Mark Cerny in the articles and presentations we'd seen so far. What we got was technologically astonishing in several places and diverse in scope, encompassing both console exclusives and an array of cross-generational releases. It was a flavour - a taste - of the next-gen experience to come a few short months from now.

Sony certainly didn't make it easy for us though, kicking off proceedings with a bizarre Grand Theft Auto 5 trailer pulled from PlayStation 4 footage, while delivering the whole presentation via bandwidth-challenged, poor quality streaming at 1080p30 - a baffling decision when 4K media was (and is) available. Similar to the PS4 Pro livestream from 2016, it was difficult to fully appreciate everything Sony had to offer. It was like trying to sell a Blu-ray movie to the masses by showcasing a badly re-encoded hooky DVD in its place - and it was particularly impactful to the first PS5 title we saw: the new take on Marvel's Spider-Man, featuring Miles Morales.

Thankfully, the quality of key titles shone through the macroblocking and we saw a definite pay-off to the specs reveal delivered by Mark Cerny a few months back. After the GTA5 episode and the Spider-Man teaser, we swiftly moved into proper showcase territory, kicking off with one of the highlights of the event: Ratchet and Clank on PlayStation 5. A closer look at the trailer asset reveals a native 4K resolution, and a basic density of detail far beyond its already impressive PS4 and PS4 Pro predecessors. Indeed, there's a good argument that what we're seeing here is significantly beyond the fidelity of the Ratchet and Clank CG movie - it's a breathtaking example of art, technology and imagination coming together to produce something that looks simply fantastic.


From a technological perspective, perhaps the real breakthrough is the game's dimensional rift mechanic, which sees Ratchet and Clank teleporting nigh-on instantly through very different domains at full fidelity with no sign of streaming issues or pop-in - validation perhaps for Sony's super-specified solid-state storage solution, capable of streaming up to 5.5GB/s of data. Interestingly, slight hitches are noticeable, something we'd expect to see Insomniac clear up by launch, but also adding further to the authenticity of what was delivered. It's work-in-progress code, after all.

And yes, we also saw judicious use of real-time hardware-accelerated ray tracing - the kind of technological leap we could only envisage in the most optimistic scenarios possible when we first started to ponder next-gen console specs back in 2018. And yet there it is, in a game we expect to ship with the machine's launch, running at what the pixel counts suggest is indeed full native 4K (no mean feat when RT is involved). Developer Insomniac talked about ray tracing effect's on Clank's chrome-like finish but the game's lavish reflections work - particularly on the ground - may also lean into hardware RT.

How can we tell? Screen-space reflections (SSR) are a hallmark of this particular console generation, and while they do look good, visual artefacts and discontinuities are easily noticeable. Partially obscured objects on-screen don't provide the visual data to deliver fully accurate reflections, while anything that isn't being rendered on-screen at all can't be reflected. Ratchet and Clank side-steps these issue and looks wonderful as a result. However, there do seem to be some limits to the reflection implementation: not everything gets reflected, suggesting that hardware RT may have its limits.

From there, we move on to Gran Turismo 7, which offered up much of what we would hope for from a Polyphony game - a loving attention to detail, a beautiful presentation, 60fps and an eye towards technical detail. The small gameplay slice we saw delivered a new rendition of the classic Trial Mountain stage - a staple of the franchise since the original Gran Turismo on PS1 (though it skipped Gran Turismo Sport). We need to see more to get a better view of the engine enhancements Polyphony has made, but once again, it does seem that we're getting some utilisation of the PS5's hardware accelerated ray tracing features, this time on the reflective effects seen on the bodywork of the cars - though curiously this does seem to cause some kind of low resolution aliasing on edges in certain cases. For the most part, it looks like a native 2160p presentation, but we'd need to see more video to rule out a reconstruction technique such as checkerboard rendering.

It was also heartening to see what look like ray traced reflections manifest outside of the first-party juggernauts. While it's difficult to fully confirm with a limited sample of footage, Annapurna Interactive's Stray exhibited excellent reflections work without the typical artefacts of SSR. Io Interactive's phenomenal-looking Hitman 3 also presented stunning reflections - though whether it's based on ray tracing or on the planar reflections technique used in Hitman 2 remains to be seen (this brute-force method effectively re-renders the entire scene within the reflective surface). Meanwhile, Capcom's Pragmata seemed to exhibit a similar approach to the RT work seen in DICE's Battlefield 5 - screen-space reflections are used, but where blanks arise from missing visual data or obscurance issues, ray tracing is used to fill in the void.

Elsewhere, another aspect of the Cerny presentation paid off spectacularly. One of the key features of the new GPU is the Geometry Engine, giving developers unprecedented control over triangles and other primitives and easy control over geometry culling. There's nothing new in terms of principles here - it boils down to removing the need to render triangles that end up being invisible in the final frame. The less geometry you process, the less work there is for the GPU, meaning that resources can be used elsewhere. The immense richness in detail seen in idTech 7 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare's IW8 engine owes much to culling. However, the next-gen geometry engine does this at the hardware level, while opening the door to primitive shaders, which helps to streamline the entire process.

Alongside Ratchet and Clank, Bluepoint's Demon's Souls remake and Guerrilla's astonishing Horizon Forbidden West showcase a richness in detail unparalleled on current generation consoles - and after the beautiful Unreal Engine 5 tech demo, perhaps an emphasis on precision detail will emerge as one of the hallmarks of the generation. At the same time, the emphasis on extreme detail also highlights the priorities of most of the developers showcased here - while Microsoft is talking about 4K 60fps and even 120fps frame-rates as the design targets for its hardware, the vast majority of the titles in yesterday's PS5 presentation were concentrating on 30 frames per second instead.

Based on media from yesterday's event, Counterplay Games' Godfall is the only 100 per cent confirmed title from the line-up to target a native 4K60, though possibly Resident Evil 8 may also follow suit - it's not possible to tell from the assets released. While we're on the topic of pixel-counts, Astro's Playroom presented at 4K60 - though some clips in the trailer drop down to 1792p, suggesting a dynamic resolution solution. Meanwhile, Sackboy: A Big Adventure - another game targeting 60 frames per second - reveals areas rendered at 1512p. Of course, all of the titles we saw were work-in-progress and final code may alter.

We also took a look at Demon's Souls, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Little Devil Inside, Pragmata, Ratchet and Clank, Returnal and Stray - and all of them appeared locked at native 3840x2160 with no evidence of reconstruction as we know it. Horizon Forbidden West also checks out as full 2160p, but we can't quite rule out some kind of temporal reconstruction (it is very, very clean, however). An exception is Destruction All-Stars, which is native 4K for much of the trailer, but also includes a few 1080p shots too. While the jury is still out in the absence of higher quality assets, what we've seen so far across the board shows little to no evidence of the use of variable rate shading - a technique Microsoft is championing as a key efficiency driver in next-gen rendering.

There's one final takeaway from the games revealed last night that bears mention. While PlayStation 5 was the focus, a range of the games we saw straddle the generational divide - and there will be PS4 versions. In some cases, that's genuinely surprisingly bearing in mind the quality of the visuals. In particular, Kena: Bridge of Spirits looks phenomenal, raising the question of how these titles will scale down to existing consoles. Going into the cross-gen period, we anticipated that the 'easy win' for developers would be to increase resolution, frame-rate, and a boost to precision in effects work.

Kena: Bridge of Spirits - and possibly Oddworld Soulstorm - seem to take a different approach, aiming for a level of fidelity that looks difficult to match on current-gen systems while targeting what we assume would be the same 30fps frame-rate. It'll be fascinating to see how these games shake out on existing consoles - though for the record, we did get to play Soulstorm last year at E3. It was running on PC and it was sitting comfortably at 60 frames per second. The adherence to native 4K in these titles also poses interesting questions for Xbox Series X ports - if these games are already running at ultra HD resolution, where do developers go in pushing visuals still further?

Yesterday's showcase was packed with content and excitement and it's a credit to Sony that it came up with an innovative approach in delivering slick production values in a crazy world where a traditional E3-style showcase was impossible to put together. Its smart PlayStation CG interludes and developer/exec inserts worked well, while the user interface tease (it's at the 44 minute mark) reminded me of the PS3 UI - hinting at an attractive, special place to be in addition to being the ways and means of navigating your way around the console.

Beyond the poor stream quality my only criticism of the presentation is the continuing 'trailerfication' of big console reveals - with the bulk of the content consisting of random snippets of a game that tell you very little, giving you no time to understand the nature of the product or crucially, how it plays. The presentation started off well with a closer look at Ratchet and Clank but once we were beyond Gran Turismo 7, a chance to sit down and enjoy some games took a back seat to watching trailer after trailer - and with that, the chance to deliver a genuine 'moment' for a big console reveal rapidly diminished. Horizon Forbidden West delivered a jaw-dropping conclusion to the software showcase, but a chance to appreciate more of the game could have delivered something even more potent.

The Digital Foundry team recently revisited February 2013's PlayStation Meeting - the event where PS4 was first revealed. It didn't have anything like the level of game content we saw yesterday, but it more effectively introduced the new console and what made it different. Crucially, it delivered the Killzone Shadow Fall 'moment' - a glorious section where the execs stood back and allowed the developer to introduce a game that looked like nothing we'd seen before, running 100 per cent in real-time on actual hardware. Fundamentally, we had the time to enjoy the game for what it was and by extension, what the system could deliver. It wasn't just a window into the future of gaming but into the kind of experience we'd be enjoying once we'd unpacked our console, loaded up an actual next-gen game and sat down to play it. It's a lesson I think Microsoft has learned the hard way following its recent software showcase - and I look forward to seeing what they have for us in July.



https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/d...next-gen-dream
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Old 06-12-2020, 09:41 PM   #2
NARMAK NARMAK is offline
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I'm hoping to watch the full video soon. I look forwards to their break downs but 100% on the money. The 1080p stream really suffered from poor compression and i don't know if this is a severe problem on the end of YouTube because the individual stuff looks impeccable.
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:12 AM   #3
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Here's a quick summary I wrote as I watched the Sony presentation of the 25 games revealed in it.

Spider-Man Miles Morales - Impressive movie like graphics. Holiday 2020
GT7 - Driving on PS5.
Rachet and Clank Rift Apart - Ability to warp into next zone instantly
Project Athia - Lady from earth has powers in other realm from Square Enix.
Stray - Looks like you control a cat in a city of robots.

Returnal - Woman in her mid 40s or older in constantly changing loop, like Edge of Tomorrow
Sackboy Adventure - Isometric Platformer
Destruction Allstars - car demolition of future
Kena - adventure action cartoon style game
Goodbye Volcano High - cel animated cartoon game

Oddworld SoulStorm - platformer action puzzle game
Ghostwire Tokyo - FPS action game set in city of monster realm
Jett the Far Shore - Exploration space type cartoon game Holiday 2020
Godfall - Action combat game Holiday 2020
Solar Ash - Platformer game with Abstract visuals similar to Bound

Hitman 3 - Agent 47 assassinates in open maps, January 2021
Astro’s Playroom (Astrobot game, nothing said about PSVR2)
Little Devil Inside - Cartoon style action adventure game
2K21 Basketball Fall 2020
Bugsnax - Cartoon action game with food Holiday 2020

Demon’s Souls - Action battle game (another dragon roars in this preview)
Deathloop - FPS action game with cartoony graphics with special abilities
Resident Evil VIII Village - FPS Survival Action game
Pragmata - Action, Spaceman flies into space with android - 2022
Horizon Forbidden West - Action Open World



Spider-Man MM could be amazing visually on PS5.
Some of the smaller studio games would still fit perfectly on a PS4, not quite PS5 in terms of wow factor, but proof that not every game is going to be visually impressive for PS5.
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Old 06-14-2020, 11:17 AM   #4
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I see PS5 helping bring the death of physical media. Which is the opposite most people thought. Why do I think this? It's because of the all digital version they revealed, which will also probably be a little cheaper than the one with a disc drive. I reckon as expensive as these consoles will be, people will want to save money where they can. Most people are about the here and now. Play a game then sell it or toss it in a pile somewhere to be forgotten about. Most could care less if something is here today and gone tomorrow.
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Old 06-14-2020, 11:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrowKiller View Post
I see PS5 helping bring the death of physical media. Which is the opposite most people thought. Why do I think this? It's because of the all digital version they revealed, which will also probably be a little cheaper than the one with a disc drive. I reckon as expensive as these consoles will be, people will want to save money where they can. Most people are about the here and now. Play a game then sell it or toss it in a pile somewhere to be forgotten about. Most could care less if something is here today and gone tomorrow.
What's wrong with Sony providing the option? Not everyone is a passionate collector of disks. I'm one of those people. I went all digital this generation and never looked back. For me the convenience of quickly switching from game to game without constantly switching disks, along with no longer worrying about finding space to store them are huge benefits that I simply cant walk away from. I am extremely happy that Sony is providing a diskless model! That speaks directly to me and my preference. Plus the all digital model just looks cleaner/more symmetrical.

Sony isn't helping to bring the death of physical media. Theyre just providing another option and ultimately the market will decide what dies. Besides, the polls I've seen show the split to be about 80% buying the standard model and 20% buying the all digital model. I don't think you have anything to worry about.
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Old 06-14-2020, 11:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrowKiller View Post
I see PS5 helping bring the death of physical media. Which is the opposite most people thought. Why do I think this? It's because of the all digital version they revealed, which will also probably be a little cheaper than the one with a disc drive. I reckon as expensive as these consoles will be, people will want to save money where they can. Most people are about the here and now. Play a game then sell it or toss it in a pile somewhere to be forgotten about. Most could care less if something is here today and gone tomorrow.
Why blame just Sony? I've seen this arguement a few times and it's as if people dont even realise MS has already released a digital only Xbox and have/had plans on releasing another one alongside the series X I dont see anyone blaming MS for the downfall of physical media lol
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrowKiller View Post
I see PS5 helping bring the death of physical media. Which is the opposite most people thought. Why do I think this? It's because of the all digital version they revealed, which will also probably be a little cheaper than the one with a disc drive. I reckon as expensive as these consoles will be, people will want to save money where they can. Most people are about the here and now. Play a game then sell it or toss it in a pile somewhere to be forgotten about. Most could care less if something is here today and gone tomorrow.
Well, you are also doing your part by owning as many digital HD films as you do.

If you want disc to survive the next few years you have to back it fully, not have a foot in both camps.

PS5 wise, people who are 4K enthusiasts already own a player, if they are biding their time, they will buy the PS5 to kill two birds with one stone. Itís unrealistic to expect the masses to suddenly have a craving for buying 4K Blu-ray. Itís simply not going to happen. Both PS5 and Xbox will support 4K, thatís a very good thing.
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:13 PM   #8
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Spider-Man PS4 is my favorite game of all time and I sold it on when it was completed. I want that option when I complete games as I use the money from the sale to buy other games. I can't do that with a digital only version. I also want a media center that plays 4K blu Ray.

Last edited by spider-neil; 06-14-2020 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 06-14-2020, 12:26 PM   #9
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I think people didn't notice the word "HELP". I didn't say Sony was the sole reason. I understand the convince of digital but I like to actually own things I buy and not worry about some douchebag taking it away or altering it.


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Well, you are also doing your part by owning as many digital HD films as you do.
lol I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again. Every last digital movie I have was 100% free to me or happened to be with a blu I bought. I haven't paid a single extra penny for any of it. I'll never pay for anything digital unless it's insanely cheap or not available on a disc/cart. Now.. if I buy an all digital PS5 and Sony gives me all the games for 100% free, then I'll praise it. Otherwise, I'll keep doing my best to actually own the things I buy.
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Old 06-14-2020, 02:45 PM   #10
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I guess this is as good a thread for what i'm gonna say as any.

PS5 delivers the beginning of what will define a next gen experience and that's going to be imo a native 4K image. The next step is to step up resolution to always stay locked at resolution by ensuring framerates can stay locked and not drop down. Getting this all the way up to like 120fps is the golden standard imo whilst all the bells and whistles are running.

Not all of this will be done this gen at all. Especially 4k/120hz probably AT ALL in any but the most absolutely basic and undemanding titles. The foundations for ray tracing are surprisingly also something that is coming to this gen way earlier than we would have thought.

I think a PS5 Pro model will release in due course about 3 years of so into the gen but the primary goal may and probably will be to nail 60fps at native 4k. The 120fps can hopefully be aimed for by PS6 but the foundations have to be laid now. So people start adjusting and expecting more fidelity from their images in motion.

A lot of people cite Last of Us and the remastered version single player where when i believe they first played it, the "weight" given to the 30fps stuck with them as "the way to play" and playing it in 60fps felt "weird" to a degree. I think this is possibly because maybe 60fps didn't "weight" the 60fps experience the same. However in motion the higher the frsmes, the much smoother the gameplay.
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Old 06-14-2020, 03:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrowKiller View Post
I think people didn't notice the word "HELP". I didn't say Sony was the sole reason. I understand the convince of digital but I like to actually own things I buy and not worry about some douchebag taking it away or altering it.




lol I've mentioned it before, but I'll say it again. Every last digital movie I have was 100% free to me or happened to be with a blu I bought. I haven't paid a single extra penny for any of it. I'll never pay for anything digital unless it's insanely cheap or not available on a disc/cart. Now.. if I buy an all digital PS5 and Sony gives me all the games for 100% free, then I'll praise it. Otherwise, I'll keep doing my best to actually own the things I buy.
But you still must have registered an account for those films regardless of how you got them. Thatís a statistic and a box to tick for active Digital accounts. I stand by my original statement. If you have any digital HD content, you are part of the problem so itís no good complaining.
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Old 06-15-2020, 10:48 AM   #12
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I'll be getting the disc version. Probably not for games, but for films. Streaming is fine and convenient but it can't beat a UHD disc.

Games are exactly the same whether bought on disc or downloaded, and I like the convenience of switching games without swapping a disc. Digital games can be expensive at launch but Sony have so many PSN sales, I've picked up most of my digital games for much less than the launch price. And don't forget PS+ (it'll be interesting to see what's available on PS5)

Sony releasing a digital only console is, as they highlight themselves, a response to a huge increase in the number of gamers buying digital. They are providing a choice and yes, this version is likely to be cheaper. That will impact your ability to install a PS4 game onto your PS5 if you have the PS4 disc of course. Something I hope Sony clarify before the 5 is released; how exactly will b/w compatibility work?

Personally I don't think we will see a PS5 Pro, but that's entirely up to Sony and how this generation pans out. I hope we won't need one.
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Old 06-15-2020, 03:25 PM   #13
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PS5 Disc version for sure, as I have a lot of disc PS4 games, blu ray's I'd like to see up-converted on a 4K player on my 4K TV, and for UHD movie discs I might buy once in a long while (preferring blu ray's price). I bet the disc version will be $50 or more. It's worth it for me. 100%.

That said, I have quite a few PSVR digital only games. That is great for digital because the games are smaller in file size, and perfect for quickly and seamlessly starting the next PSVR game without having to remove the virtual reality experience with the headset on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrowKiller View Post
I see PS5 helping bring the death of physical media. Which is the opposite most people thought. Why do I think this? It's because of the all digital version they revealed, which will also probably be a little cheaper than the one with a disc drive. I reckon as expensive as these consoles will be, people will want to save money where they can. Most people are about the here and now. Play a game then sell it or toss it in a pile somewhere to be forgotten about. Most could care less if something is here today and gone tomorrow.
An option is a nice thing, and concretes discs for awhile longer, than if Sony only offered a digital only version. But I see your point, where they could've offered just a disc version as with the PS4.

I believe digital storage is a nice option for those who enjoy it, being able to quickly start a game without having to sort through a stack of disc games.

I'll still buy disc games for large file titles and AAA games, but I can see the future being digital only in about 10+ years or so. I'd like them side by side for much longer though, but stores are drying up their inventories it seems, like Best Buy for example, which used to be one of the biggest resources for walk in stores carrying movies on disc.
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Old 06-15-2020, 04:05 PM   #14
Steelmaker Steelmaker is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zivouhr View Post
PS5 Disc version for sure, as I have a lot of disc PS4 games, blu ray's I'd like to see up-converted on a 4K player on my 4K TV, and for UHD movie discs I might buy once in a long while (preferring blu ray's price). I bet the disc version will be $50 or more. It's worth it for me. 100%.

That said, I have quite a few PSVR digital only games. That is great for digital because the games are smaller in file size, and perfect for quickly and seamlessly starting the next PSVR game without having to remove the virtual reality experience with the headset on.



An option is a nice thing, and concretes discs for awhile longer, than if Sony only offered a digital only version. But I see your point, where they could've offered just a disc version as with the PS4.

I believe digital storage is a nice option for those who enjoy it, being able to quickly start a game without having to sort through a stack of disc games.

I'll still buy disc games for large file titles and AAA games, but I can see the future being digital only in about 10+ years or so. I'd like them side by side for much longer though, but stores are drying up their inventories it seems, like Best Buy for example, which used to be one of the biggest resources for walk in stores carrying movies on disc.
Don't you still have to install games in their entirety on the hard drive, even when it's on disk?
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Old 06-15-2020, 05:00 PM   #15
Zivouhr Zivouhr is offline
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As far as the next generation dream as the title of the thread states, the new games actually look too good to be true regarding most are being presented as mostly cinematic trailers with some gameplay. The PS5 presentation said the games are sourced directly from a PS5, so that's hopeful if those are real time graphics and not pre-rendered cutscenes. If so, that's an impressive leap forward.

Quote:
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Don't you still have to install games in their entirety on the hard drive, even when it's on disk?
True for PS4 games (not PS3), but inserting a 55 GB new game disc in a few seconds is much faster than downloading it as a 55 GB digital game, so that's the one advantage of disc. The disadvantage is having to later find and insert the disc each time you want to play a different game on disc. With digital, it's instant. The disc being the literal key required to play the game.
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Old 06-15-2020, 05:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrowKiller View Post
I see PS5 helping bring the death of physical media. Which is the opposite most people thought. Why do I think this? It's because of the all digital version they revealed, which will also probably be a little cheaper than the one with a disc drive. I reckon as expensive as these consoles will be, people will want to save money where they can. Most people are about the here and now. Play a game then sell it or toss it in a pile somewhere to be forgotten about. Most could care less if something is here today and gone tomorrow.
maybe the disc console will outsell the discless
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