PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio Will Lead To Higher Asset Quality Over Time, Won’t Increase R&D Costs- EA
EA don’t think these consoles should change much for developers.
One potential problem with the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One Scorpio that people like to point out is that these new consoles could add to development costs by introducing a need for research and development into these new consoles, and the development of higher quality assets to leverage these consoles properly. That, plus the unnecessary need to support additional console SKUs, can lead to unnecessarily inflated development costs, at a time when rising development costs isn’t really what the industry needs.
However, speaking at the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, Electronic Arts Vice President of Investor Relations Chris Evenden discussed how this would not necessarily be true, and that the general inter compatibility between the standard PS4 and Xbox One, and the Pro and Scorpio respectively, would mean that no new R&D would need to be done, and higher quality assets would be introduced over time, almost on a rolling basis.
“You can increase the performance of consoles by asking AMD for a better CPU and asking them for a slightly better GPU, but the programming for games doesn’t change very much, as the performance profile of the hardware hasn’t changed, it just got faster all around,” Evenden said.
“And the operating system, what they’re doing now with the new PS4 Pro and the Xbox Scorpio, is really the same software platform, the same operating system, so the R&D costs shouldn’t change. Now, the quality of the assets you apply will slowly increase over time, but that’s the way it’s been forever.
“The way a development cycle works, is that you develop for the highest performance platform, which is generally a high-end PC, and then the tools you use will scale that down for the other platforms that you’re supporting. That’s not a challenge either, so it shouldn’t really have a big impact in R&D, because it’s not really changing what we’re doing.”
So EA are optimistic about it- but of course, they have been, and as one of the biggest third party publishers in the world, they can afford to be optimistic. I do need to point out that several smaller developers have expressed apprehension about the added costs and wrinkles that these new consoles introduce- after all, not everyone has an established, scalable development pipeline in the form of Frostbite engine, nor do they have the monty to invest in one.