Backwards Compatability With Original PS4 Will Be A Major Problem For PS4 Pro Going Forward, Says Vikings Dev
“The market may become a bit overpopulated.”
Update: The headline has been updated to correctly reflect the story.
The PS4 Pro is now a thing, which means we can stop speculating about its impact on the market, and start actually analyzing that. One of the ways we do that is by talking to the developers who are working on games for the PS4, and asking them any questions we have about the PS4 Pro directly. So when we had a chat with Peter Nagy, CEO and Head of development at Gamesfarm, the folks currently developing Vikings: Wolves of Midgard, we decided to ask him some questions we have about the PS4 Pro.
We asked him, for instance, what he foresaw the PS4 Pro’s greatest weakness being- would it be the CPU, which had always been the weak link on the PS4, but would be even more so on the Pro, given the extent of improvements all other aspects of the console got? Nagy, however, felt that it would be something else entirely- it didn’t have to do with anything wrong with the architecture of the PS4 Pro itself, it had to do with the PS4 Pro’s compatibility mandate.
“The major problem for us as the developers is that there is going to be line-up of different but still same consoles with mandatory backwards compatibility,” he said. “So it only adds more requirements we have to take care of instead of focusing on the development. Tuning the game to a single platform is well possible; but tuning the game to multiple performance wise different platforms is very annoying and requires additional costs without any real gameplay benefits beyond some visual improvements. I understand that incoming VR and 4K has different needs but the market may become a bit overpopulated with income of XBOX ONE S and Project Scorpio.”
That said, he did also sound off on what specific weaknesses on the PS4 Pro would be, in his opinion- he pointed out that the memory and CPU would probably become bottlenecks for PS4 development going forward, even on PS4 Pro.
“I consider CPU and memory as primary drawbacks for PS4 – we already experienced certain performance issues during Vikings: Wolves of Midgard development… This did not improve a lot with PS4 Pro,” he said.
This is another admission from developers that having to support an additional SKU might be a problem, and I can empathize with them to an extent- I take note of the fact that so far, smaller developers have been the ones who have exclusively pointed out this problem at all. That said, as I have pointed out before numerous times, iterative consoles are the way of the future, and this transition period, while inevitably painful, is a necessary evil. I also cannot fault Sony for their overly conservative policies mandating compatibility with the PS4 Pro- they are treading new ground here, and they don’t want to alienate 50 million PS4 owners. I get it.
So, while I feel Nagy’s pain here, I must assert that I personally also feel that the PS4 Pro (and the Scorpio) are both blazing the trail for the future, and that the painful teething period will be worth it in the long run.