Developers are “starting to truly harness the power” of the current consoles

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This generation of consoles has surprised everyone. Both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are outpacing their predecessors at the same point in their respective lifecycles, with the PS4 especially leading the charge. What makes it surprising is that many in the industry had pegged the Xbox 360 and the PS3 as the end of consoles as we know them – and that this new generation wouldn’t do all that well.

“Clearly, consoles have sold faster than everyone expected. We’re ahead of the previous cycle in terms of the pace. We’re on track to see, industry-wide, about 50-51 million units by calendar year end. And typically, most of the consoles are sold in the last quarter of the year because a lot of it is around gift-giving,” EA’s CFO Blake Jorgensen said at the UBS Global Tech Conference.

One of the problems with the consoles though, is their relatively weak specifications. They’re built on familiar X86 architecture, packing in the sorts of components you’d now find in mid-to-low-range gaming laptops. Thankfully, thanks to low-level hardware access and better optimisation, consoles games still look pretty good. And according to Jorgensen, they’re set to look even better. Developers, he says, are now getting to grips with the consoles and how they work.

“The power of the new consoles is fantastic. I think software makers are just now starting to truly harness the power. The first year, you had people testing and pushing, but now I think you’re starting to see, particularly this fall and winter, a lot really exciting pieces of software in the industry that are taking the processing power of the console,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen cites Star Wars Battlefront as an example of how games are pushing the consoles – and in some ways he’s right. Yes, it’s true that certain resolution concessions were made to keep Battlefront running at 60fps, but it still looks pretty darned amazing. It’s a beautiful game, even if it is shallower than Darryn’s gene pool.

Last Updated: November 18, 2015

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