- Aug 25, 2020
Ori and the Will of the Wisps game director Thomas Mahler has begun sharing some insights into what he thinks are key gameplay differences between the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X from the perspective of a game developer. Mahler boils down these differences as a choice between better resolution and better framerate. By now, we know enough about the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X to highlight some key differences, especially when it comes to hardware architecture and backward compatibility. What we still don’t know is how these differences will translate into a gameplay experience in practice. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=confirmed-xbox-series-x-games&captions=true"] But Mahler, who is the game director at Moon Studios, the developer of the Ori series, says that the hardware differences will play out as expected for gameplay. Namely, that Sony’s new ultra-fast SSD will result in faster load times, while the Series X will result in more raw power. “Now, let’s say the average load time with those SSDs on next-gen will be 10 seconds,” posits Mahler in a ResetEra thread. “And let’s be generous and say that the PS5 SSD and throughput is twice as fast as the [Xbox Series X] — At that point you’d have a 10s load times vs. 5s load times (keep in mind that loading often is more than just shuffling data around, so this isn’t in any way accurate). I don’t know if I’d care that much about 5 seconds saved every time I load if what I give up for is framerate or resolution. And I guess that’s the bet that Microsoft made here — more power rather than faster data transfer.” Note Mahler’s language, which appears more hypothetical than something he’s come up with through practical knowledge. While we don’t know if Moon Studios has a dev kit for either the PS5 or Xbox Series X, Mahler is a veteran game developer who has first-hand knowledge on what it is to work with game consoles. So his insight comes from a place of expertise. One of Mahler’s key points is that Sony first-party studios will likely take the most advantage of the PS5 SSDs, “ensuring that everything’s smooth and juicy all the time and that you don’t see loading screens at all.” But third-party studios will likely not “change their games completely, adjust levels and other stuff just to squeeze the most out of the PS5 architecture.” [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=confirmed-playstation-5-games&captions=true"] The end result, according to Mahler for third-party games, is that players will see Xbox Series X games “render at 4k more regularly and/or at better framerates and on PS5 games will load faster. Players will have to decide what’s more important to them.” Ultimately, we don’t know how the hardware differences will fully play out until both consoles are released and there’s a sizable third-party library of games to test out Mahler’s predictions. But considering everything we know about the PS5 and Series X specs, plus Mahler’s experience, this is something to keep an eye on when comparing the two next-gen consoles. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Matt Kim is a reporter for IGN.