PS4 vs. PC side-by-side comparison in Unreal Engine 4

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So here we have a side-by-side demo from the 'Elemental' tech demo, showing just how the PS4 stacks up against a PC. If you "look closely" (/biased) you might spot some very subtle differences.

The demo clearly shows the gap in horsepower between the two, which to be fair isn't all that surprising. Surprise or no surprise, it's still good to get to see the new Sony flagship in action.

Early on in the winter scene, you can see how decals, material reflectiveness and even shadow resolutions are stunted on the PS4. Moving into the cave area, what is on the PC subtle differences in silhouettes among the shadows, on the PS4 these dark blacks are almost completely washed into one another. Looking at the frame of the crack in the wall, what appears to be a tesselated rock structure is a lot less nuanced on the PS4.

We proceed onto a close-up of a dead Sauron-looking guy. At this point the PS4 starts to stutter profusely, even with it's vast allowances made in removing reflections, refractions and depth of field. At least it appears to output the same texture resolutions as the PC, but it should be noted that they're low to begin with. As we zoom out on the fallen king, once again, the PS4's shadow rendering makes all the nuances disappear in a black mess, as well as a somewhat simplified air particle rendering. If you look to the bottom left corner, you wouldn't even be able to tell that it's a shield on the ground if you hadn't seen the PC version next to it.

The following scene, looking at some pillars and a gate, is probably the one that suffered the most. The scene is a grey mush on the PS4, with a lot more nuances showing on the PC, presumably due to the interpretation or simplification of the volume of particles in the air. Both of them disappoint in anti-aliasing, however, this may be a fault of the engine. (Or because the PC version is running in lower, I.E. TV-level resolution for relevancy next to a PS4) Looking at the floor, where the sunlight meets the shadow, the PS4 seems to be drawing a *gasp* stencil shadow on the ground!

The gates blow open. Forth from it's mouth, grey porridge pours. Well, on the Playstation that is. It's PC counterpart seems to have drawn snowflakes instead.

I could continue, but I think I can safely lead the rest up to you, as the differences only become more pronounced. To those who expected to be blown away by the PS4 (and with performance, not porridge) I express my deepest sympathies, but it should be noted that the graphics card of the PC in question costs half as much as the upcoming PS4, in all likelyhood.

What will the graphics look like as games become more optimized for the console? Is the hardware in the PS4 the kind that they can squeeze out more?

We're at the end of a console cycle so it's natural that gaming PCs out-perform the 360 and PS3...

But the PS4 isn't even out yet and it's already underpowered compared to a PC? And the Wii U is even further behind, power-wise.

I'm not really seeing any reason to invest in the next generation of consoles as opposed to just upgrading my PC.

FreedomofInformation:
What will the graphics look like as games become more optimized for the console? Is the hardware in the PS4 the kind that they can squeeze out more?

The PS4 is not like the Xbox360 and PS3 were, with their odd proprietary motherboard designs and shortcuts. For all intents and purpouses, a PS4 is a PC. Everything in a PS4 can be replicated in a home PC build, except the GDDR5 memory which really is just modified DDR3 RAM.

So, although I'm sure developers can eke some extra frames per sec and pull a few shortcuts and tricks to make some things look better as they get used to this exact hardware config, the difference won't be nearly as clearly defined between launch and 5 years down the line as it was the previous generation.

one thing its brought home loud and clear is how far advanced graphically pc's have become over the consoles currently released and how much power there is waiting to be unleashed.. and that i need a new pc :D

FreedomofInformation:
What will the graphics look like as games become more optimized for the console? Is the hardware in the PS4 the kind that they can squeeze out more?

It sort of depends... Standardised hardware makes it possible to 'program to metal' so that more efficient code can be created to bypass things like libraries and drivers where necessary. Whether the OS and the SDK allow for it is another story... also there's the question of how efficient CISC architecture (such as x86-64) is for optimisation compared to RISC based architecture (such PowerPC and ARM).

And, there's also the huge problem with optimisation that almost no one talks about - it costs a shitton of money. If people want PC levels of performance they should shell out for a decent PC instead of expecting publishers and developers to carry the can on paying for trying to squeeze extra performance out of consoles.

I... I didn't see much of a difference. The bit at 33 seconds onward the PS4 actually seemed to have higher resolution textures than the PCs, which didn't seem to load properly, and the particle effects, while the PS4 didn't have as many, seemed to be a higher resolution: the larger PC particles that didn't load on the PS4 were just large out of focus blobs

Also does anyone know what actual specs that PC was running? Because my PC has and i3, 6 gigs RAM and a NVIDIA 315m, I think the PS4 does better than it.

I can still play Skyrim on medium, although tight caves can get laggy for some daft reason. Render all of Solitude with a several dozen npcs? no problem! render this corridor? Oh lord I'm dying!

Look I'm all too happy to prove how gimped consoles are but that is done with a proper benchmark and proper results, you do not do it with a barely launched engine on an unlaunched console with completely different renders and claim any of that has the slightest weight on anything... it just doesn't.

And I won't even go into the absurd notion that publicly recognizable chips in the PS4 make it inferior, just because you are ignorant and never heard of the stuff they put in Xbox and PS3 does not make it fairy magic or rocket science.

XMark:
We're at the end of a console cycle so it's natural that gaming PCs out-perform the 360 and PS3...

But the PS4 isn't even out yet and it's already underpowered compared to a PC? And the Wii U is even further behind, power-wise.

I'm not really seeing any reason to invest in the next generation of consoles as opposed to just upgrading my PC.

If you are purely looking at it from a Graphical Power perspective then yes, PC will always be the winner. Its not a disputable fact. However, if you are looking at overall performance, Consoles begin to make up significant ground simply because they have a fixed set of hardware which are always used when games are made. Its much easier to adapt a new tech to "fixed" hardware, vs having your tech scale across a huge variance of PC components.

The problem with this video (while good) is that we are looking at a Devkit PS4 which is not fully optimized against a high end PC optimized to display on a Monitor. The area's where the PC clearly outshines (no pun intended) the PS4 is in the light and shadows. Deep blacks can and dynamic lighting are much more noticeable on the PC. That being said, the entire section at the beginning where we are "moving through the keep" I found the level of detail to almost look fake on the PC side, while much more organic on the PS4 side.

In the end though, it shouldn't be an issue of who is the first to make a game that PLAYS in the same level of fidelity as that Unreal 4 trailer it should be WHEN does that become the standard.

Oh, and you buy a console for the exclusives and a place to game with your friends if they are primarily console gamers... just as an fyi Xmark

There is something simple and fun about console gaming. The genre has its own niche, even if it doesn't keep up with PCs. I do think this gen will be different from anything we've seen since the 1984 crash. So much competition from completely new genres. The Ouya ships June 4th. It can't keep up with today's consoles and PCs. But it can deliver that comfy living room experience for cheap.

And, what if Nintendo launches an all in one disposable box with 100 N64 games built in for $40? A portable device that plays Gamecube games in a fashion similar to the PSP? A new Microsoft Account that lets you SIM play any Xbox title from 2001-2013?

From this video, my take is, unlike past generations, when our eyes got knocked out going from NES to Sega Genisis to PS1 to Xbox, going from PS3 to PS4 is going to take some squinting to really appreciate. Great graphics are going to be a tougher and tougher sell. The less they matter, the more we would be wiling to buy that SNES simulator with 300 games for $20.

Things are going to be different.

Gorfias:
There is something simple and fun about console gaming. The genre has its own niche, even if it doesn't keep up with PCs. I do think this gen will be different from anything we've seen since the 1984 crash. So much competition from completely new genres. The Ouya ships June 4th. It can't keep up with today's consoles and PCs. But it can deliver that comfy living room experience for cheap.

And, what if Nintendo launches an all in one disposable box with 100 N64 games built in for $40? A portable device that plays Gamecube games in a fashion similar to the PSP? A new Microsoft Account that lets you SIM play any Xbox title from 2001-2013?

From this video, my take is, unlike past generations, when our eyes got knocked out going from NES to Sega Genisis to PS1 to Xbox, going from PS3 to PS4 is going to take some squinting to really appreciate. Great graphics are going to be a tougher and tougher sell. The less they matter, the more we would be wiling to buy that SNES simulator with 300 games for $20.

Things are going to be different.

That is a good point. We have the WiiU, SteamBox, OuYa, Gamestick, Xbox 720, PS4 and Nvidia Shield. Some with their own niches, but a couple that are directly competing (Ouya and Gamestick for example, and Xbox/ PS4/ Steambox)

Nobody can predict what happens after this biggest ever new console generation hits, but one thing is for sure, we're going to see a lot more bankrupt hardware companies than before when the dust settles. There simply aren't enough customers to go around.

I hope the Steambox does well, it's the only upgradeable console, with part soldered to one of four sections of a modular cubical motherboard, all you have to do to upgrade is slide the board out of the box and unclip the part you want to switch out. Plug in a new one, and send the old one back to the manufacturer for a rebate and the conscience of being green. The cooling solution is also ingenious, since one fan can pass air over all the components with the wrap-around motherboard (with components facing inwards, into airflow) acting as a turbine. I might actually buy one, just out of respect for how well-designed it is. It's also the only one with an Intel processor, which I prefer on performance basis.

Disclaimer: The above is NOT the SteamBox. It's the manufacturer's own 'Piston' computer. What components will go into a standard SteamBox is still up in the air, the only thing that'll stay roughly the same is the I/O ports, casing and modular motherboard design.

Rob Robson:

That is a good point. We have the WiiU, SteamBox, OuYa, Gamestick, Xbox 720, PS4 and Nvidia Shield. Some with their own niches, but a couple that are directly competing (Ouya and Gamestick for example, and Xbox/ PS4/ Steambox)

Nobody can predict what happens after this biggest ever new console generation hits, but one thing is for sure, we're going to see a lot more bankrupt hardware companies than before when the dust settles. There simply aren't enough customers to go around.

I hope the Steambox does well, it's the only upgradeable console, with part soldered to one of four sections of a modular cubical motherboard, all you have to do to upgrade is slide the board out of the box and unclip the part you want to switch out. Plug in a new one, and send the old one back to the manufacturer for a rebate and the conscience of being green. The cooling solution is also ingenious, since one fan can pass air over all the components with the wrap-around motherboard (with components facing inwards, into airflow) acting as a turbine. I might actually buy one, just out of respect for how well-designed it is. It's also the only one with an Intel processor, which I prefer on performance basis.

Disclaimer: The above is NOT the SteamBox. It's the manufacturer's prototype. What components will go into a standard SteamBox is still up in the air, the only thing that'll stay the same is the I/O ports, casing and modular motherboard design.

I hope these guys (Steambox types) are not too far ahead of their time. It is a great idea: the question for something like this is, price. Conceptually, it is a great idea. People want something small they can put in their living room. Potentially, there is so much power and versatility to this thing.

At the right price, this thing beats anything else out there.

I can build my own PC for about $800... but it would be about 8 times that size.

EDIT: My PC build would be a bit louder, use more power, run hotter. Might have much better sound. This has HDMI out. Maybe it would put out 5.1 over that? I don't think you get 5.1 over a 3 mm jack. I could be wrong.

You... you mean that consoles AREN'T as powerful as PCs?
OH HEAVENS! THE WORLD HATH TURNED UPSIDE UPON DOWN! FELINES AND CANINES ARE BESTEST OF CHUMS! THE VERY RAIN HAS TURNED IT'S DIRECTION UPON ITSELF AND IS NOW FORMING CLOUDS FROM THE PUDDLES RESTING ON THE VERY FLOOR

So why is this news?

hazabaza1:
So why is this news?

Because we get to see the PS4 in action?

Don't be so defensive, like.

hazabaza1:

So why is this news?

Back in the day, a new console would give you graphics that were about twice as good as what you'd get from a PC. I think that is going to slow a lot now. (The N64 was, I think, $200 at launch. You couldn't get graphics like that for $1000).

A big part of the reason is that a console was all about 100% commitment to the game. A PC was for a number of other things. A game on one was almost like running an emulator.

Now, this PS4 may cost as much or more than a really good graphics card anyway, and not deliver that kind of old school bump. I don't think people that love their PS3 are going to look at the PS4 and drool. (But look at a PS2: serviceable, but you might think it broken compared to PS3).

In short, its news because in the past, you got a lot more bang for the buck getting a console rather than getting a new PC or upgrading one.

Rob Robson:

hazabaza1:
So why is this news?

Because we get to see the PS4 in action?

Don't be so defensive, like.

I like pretty much anything that can play a game so long as the game is good, but I don't think we really need a comparison video because everybody knows the PC version will be higher fidelity. If we could just get the video by itself so half the screen isn't being taken up by the PC version, or get some real time gameplay of something I'd be more intrigued.

Here is the harsh truth of PC comparison threads. 10% of Steam users are using stupid intel integrated graphics cards. 15% of Steam users have 2gb RAM or less.

Sure PCs can and always will run things better than consoles (also we're not graphic whores right, we're not those people who care about pixels over art design right? The important thing is the size of the e-penis), theoretically right now you could create a PC 256gb of RAM and umpteen cards running in parallel or whatever. And you know what? That probably runs better than a console.

But most PC users have crud computers and will never have none-crud computers. Heck I bet a fair portion of the PC market only has a laptop nowadays. I personally have never ran a game in max settings on a PC. Stuff like this is comparing the top end to something that every single person will be able to have. This is the experience the top 10% of PC users get, that is the experience 100% of PS4 users will get

Comparisons like this aren't the most useful thing for one reason: It's a heavily compressed YouTube video. Lots of detail is lost during compression.

Uncompressed video is gigantic. I have a 23 minute, 1920x1080, video on my computer here that's 136GB (note: this is footage of people working at desks and giving interviews, there's not even much motion). Have you ever used FRAPS? That fills up harddrives incredibly quickly. My point is... look how fast "1080p" downloads on YouTube. It's nowhere near uncompressed and thus has drastically lower image quality than the real thing in person would have.

YouTube videos are heavily compressed and won't look nearly as good as the real footage in person, even fullscreen 1080p playback on a 1080p monitor. You might get a vague idea of what it will actually look like, but that's about it. I'm anal-retentive about image quality though, maybe others won't see as much difference as I do.

Rob Robson:

FreedomofInformation:
What will the graphics look like as games become more optimized for the console? Is the hardware in the PS4 the kind that they can squeeze out more?

The PS4 is not like the Xbox360 and PS3 were, with their odd proprietary motherboard designs and shortcuts. For all intents and purpouses, a PS4 is a PC. Everything in a PS4 can be replicated in a home PC build, except the GDDR5 memory which really is just modified DDR3 RAM.

So, although I'm sure developers can eke some extra frames per sec and pull a few shortcuts and tricks to make some things look better as they get used to this exact hardware config, the difference won't be nearly as clearly defined between launch and 5 years down the line as it was the previous generation.

That doesn't matter. Games can still get better on the PS4 in time. We won't see games that will fully utilize it's power for the first couple of years. Developers will find better ways to optimize the use of PS4 hardware and the engine they use for the game. And it's not all about the graphics. Developers will finally have access to a really powerful console hardware which will lead to new discoveries of what kind of games they can make on this thing.

I will get a PS4. I am genuinely excited for it. It will be a lot cheaper than buying a PC that can match it. So I guess I'll be a console gamer for a while. Until I can get a PC that is more powerful than the PS4 for a price that I find comfortable.

Adam Jensen:
And it's not all about the graphics.

Damn straight it's not all about the graphics. Remember Skyrim vs. PS3 (yes, I meant to write 'vs.') - memory limitations simply did not allow the game to fully function as intended on the PS3. Patch after patch, Bethesda removed bits and pieces from distant land to make it possible to even play on a PS3. What about next gen? How much detail will the next consoles allow Bethesda to put in their next sandbox?

Have you noticed that there is always a small vocal community that is ripping on Bethesda for always making buggy games? And what are they playing them on. Consoles. As a PC gamer, I swear I have never had a gamebreaking bug in Oblivion, Fallout 3 or Skyrim. Even most minor bugs you see people complain about I never saw. There's a huge disconnect here, as I regard Bethesda to be one of the most stable and least buggy devs, yet a huge amount of people seem to have the opposite opinion. Big sandboxes will never work properly on a console unless CPUs can calculate hundreds of AI at once and memory evolves with the times. And I'm not convinced the PS4 is doing that. 16 GB of RAM is commonplace in gaming computers now, 2-3 GB for graphics cards. Meanwhile, the PS4 is coming out with 8 GB, to be shared between GPU and system. Again, consoles are not evolving with the times. Not just in graphics, but ability to load data.

They could make the next Elder Scrolls game as graphically intense as Crysis 3 in an open world with infinite draw distance if they wanted to just target PCs. Are they going to? Not unless they gimp their game for the consoles.

Just don't come out here two years from now and bitch about the AI being dumb as doorknobs and the great outdoors firing up graphical artifacts when you're playing your PS4 version of TES VI.

Looks great, PC is a little more crisp and has a little more definition, but still a solid effort with PS4. Though I've already invested about $1700au on a gaming PC, i'll probably wait a while for a PS4.

All I could really notice was the less detail of shadow on the PS4 compared to the PC. The lights were very much harder(?) on the Ps4.

hazabaza1:
You... you mean that consoles AREN'T as powerful as PCs?
OH HEAVENS! THE WORLD HATH TURNED UPSIDE UPON DOWN! FELINES AND CANINES ARE BESTEST OF CHUMS! THE VERY RAIN HAS TURNED IT'S DIRECTION UPON ITSELF AND IS NOW FORMING CLOUDS FROM THE PUDDLES RESTING ON THE VERY FLOOR

So why is this news?

Off topic, do you mind if i start using this?

even though the PS4 footage already looks amazing by itself, the PC makes it look like a pre-rendered cinematic.

and here I sit on my underpowered PC. T-T

XMark:
We're at the end of a console cycle so it's natural that gaming PCs out-perform the 360 and PS3...

But the PS4 isn't even out yet and it's already underpowered compared to a PC? And the Wii U is even further behind, power-wise.

I'm not really seeing any reason to invest in the next generation of consoles as opposed to just upgrading my PC.

Power means nothing. It is the games that are the most important thing, which people keep forgetting.

The PC is better, but the differences are subtle, such as the sheen on the armor and the texture of the lava flow, which seems to pop out more.

Well, it's not looking too bad. Still a long way to go to reach the PC.

spartandude:

hazabaza1:
You... you mean that consoles AREN'T as powerful as PCs?
OH HEAVENS! THE WORLD HATH TURNED UPSIDE UPON DOWN! FELINES AND CANINES ARE BESTEST OF CHUMS! THE VERY RAIN HAS TURNED IT'S DIRECTION UPON ITSELF AND IS NOW FORMING CLOUDS FROM THE PUDDLES RESTING ON THE VERY FLOOR

So why is this news?

Off topic, do you mind if i start using this?

Feel free, I was just typing random shit and this came out.

I know power is the only real measure of a console when we have so few details (not to mention the 'wow' moments that companies strive for) but I can't think of a generation of consoles in which the most powerful sold the most. Sega Genesis, Neo Geo, 3DO, N64, Xbox, PS3(arguably) - If anything, logic would dictate that companies like Sony and Microsoft should actually avoid being the more powerful next gen, because they always sell less that a console either with a well stocked 3rd party library, or that pushes into a new play style.

I'm not by any means saying that 'powerful consoles are bad consoles' - just that they don't seem to sell as well, and that I'm a bit puzzled by this fixation of visuals, especially when it's getting the to point of having to go over every tech demo to see which direction a demon's pubic hair is pointing.

Well, at least we got to see the PS4 in action. It's pretty good, but obviously, as has been stated several thousand times, it doesn't touch the PC version.

FreedomofInformation:
What will the graphics look like as games become more optimized for the console? Is the hardware in the PS4 the kind that they can squeeze out more?

The PS4 is basically an AMD A-Series processor and a big chunk of RAM, so a low level media/gaming PC in current hardware terms.

It should be much, much simpler to program for than the PS3, which should cut development cost dramatically (or allow more optimisation work for the Triple A games). To me at least, that's far more important than it's graphics output, it presents a serious shot at getting indies and third party developers who normally stick on the PC to come over and publish on Sony's hardware.

Regards it's graphics, it's unlikely ever manage the amount of particle effects and tessellation that even a current mid range card can generate for PC (like an AMD7870), there is a lot of space to expand texture size though, which is more important. In regards to 1080p screens it'll pretty much hit the limit of how good a game can look, the best current graphics cards really need more than one screen at higher than 1080p to make a noticeable difference over the mid range, so it's relative lack of grunt won't be too obvious to user who'll likely just hook it up to a TV.

What is important is that it will look better than the PS3 and it should be a lot more stable!

Forgive me if I'm just completely ignorant on the subject, but I could see almost no difference at all. One was slightly harsher in lighting and brighter in colour, and that was about it.

I can't help but feel the OP is being incredibly biased. There's nothing wrong with the PS4 from what I can see, it's looking great. I'm not expecting to play staring at tiny shadows and shouting to the world if it doesn't look extremely perfect. I mean, seriously?

And I'm not even getting a PS4.

Captcha: That's right.

Exactly.

If you can't see the difference, just watch the part where the door opens 50 seconds in. From the PC we see flurries of snow while the PS4 just makes the screen white. Yeah... so much for a new generation of hardware... I'll take my PC any day (Except for FIFA and such with my mates but that hardly justifies a purchase on its own)

Hero in a half shell:
the larger PC particles that didn't load on the PS4 were just large out of focus blobs

The PC version has Depth of Field effects enabled.

What are the specs of the PC they are showing it on?

That being said, it isn't really surprising. The current hardware you can put into a PC already surpasses the PS4 (Hell, my PC surpasses everything in it except for the GPU and RAM, and those are equal(IIRC, fairly sure though) and just below the PS4 respectively), and I built it about 3 years ago.

I still laugh at my friend who wants to build a computer with his school's financial aid ($5000), when he could just wait til the PS4/XBOX Whatever comes out and buy some older parts(That's what I normally do) and still come out ahead.

XMark:
I'm not really seeing any reason to invest in the next generation of consoles as opposed to just upgrading my PC.

Console Exclusives -- That's really the only thing that could sell me a PS4/New XBOX, and even than I'll wait until a major price drop, especially if it's anything like the PS3 (being $600 at launch)

Oh, and consoles are STILL easier for the average person to use than a gaming PC. Plug and play, and all.

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