There’s been a maelstrom of rumours floating about regarding what sort of hardware the next generation of consoles will be packing – as well as what sort of hardware’s been abandoned. Possibly (though probably not) set to be introduced at E3 this year, Microsoft and Sony’s new consoles will have to be stuffed with cutting edge technology to compete with the ever-increasing power PC’s can offer.
Here’s what the developers behind Battlefield 3 – who recently won a “best technology” award for their Frostbite 2 engine – want to see in the next crop of gaming hardware.
"There’s two things: memory and processing power," DICE rendering architect Johan Andersson told Joystiq he wanted from next-gen. "We need lots and lots of processing power. The more you can cram into a machine, we’ll take advantage of that." While ‘more power’ is the obvious answer — both on the CPU and GPU side — we wondered what wouldn’t be ‘enough’ to work with. "Two gigabytes would not be enough when it comes to RAM" Andersson said. "Four gigabytes would work. Eight gigabytes? Yeah. I think that would be perfect when it comes to memory."
Both current HD consoles only sport 512Mb of RAM. The Xbox 360’s memory is unified, while the PS3’s is evenly split between system memory and video memory. Both are still capable of producing awe-inspiring visuals – though the generational leap that exists between consoles and PC gives computers a distinct graphical edge.
Could the new consoles actually have that much memory?
Weighing in on Andersson’s comments, Engadget’s Tim Stevens said , "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."
As far as graphical horsepower goes, he says new consoles probably won’t employ multiple GPU’s – but shiny new visuals aren’t really the point. "To build game changing experiences, not just pretty visuals, but game changing experiences? That’s what we’re really excited to do, going forward," he clarified.
That’s what DICE wants from the next gen. What do you want?
Last Updated: March 12, 2012