At this point, it seems very likely that the promise that Sony and Microsoft first nebulously made back when they announced the x86 hardware platform for the PS4 and Xbox One will be coming to fruition, and that iterative, upgraded consoles will be a thing soon. Microsoft have already referred to potential future Xbox hardware, and rumors of PS4K are getting hotter by the day.
Of course, developers probably have their own take on the matter- do they welcome this move, or are they resistant to it? Given that one of the appeals of consoles has been a fixed hardware spec that all developers can target, surely they are unhappy about this move towards a rapidly iterative platform?
Andy Tudor from Slightly Mad Studios, the folks who brought us Project CARS, at the very least, seems to be enthusiastic towards the notion- at least somewhat. While discussing future projects in an exclusive interview with GamingBolt, Tudor brought up the PS4K and Xbox 1.5 himself- noting the potential they offered to developers.
We asked him whether for Project CARS 2, Slightly Mad Studios would look into targeting a resolution of 1080p on the Xbox One (the original game ran at 900p on Microsoft’s console). Tudor’s answer gave us an insight into where developers stand on upgraded consoles, should they come to pass.
“Yeah, certainly, [1080p on Xbox One is] something we actively are looking at, definitely,” Tudor said. “And it’s interesting to hear the news from Sony and Microsoft about upgradeable consoles, essentially. So, whether that is the PlayStation 4K or Xbox 1.5 or whatever you want to call it, that’s certainly interesting from a development point of view, what we can take advantage of, when those consoles or add-ons or whatever they may be, come around.”
“You know, higher frame rates, or getting a game to run at 4K on a console, as opposed to just a PC, or getting full parity on a console, so it’s running at 1080p on both, PlayStation and Xbox… so yeah, it’s something that we will always be looking at, and it’s always our goal to get parity across every platform that we release on, absolutely. It’s just that sometimes there are, you know,restrictions, or things that we need to overcome in order to reach that, so yeah. It’s definitely something we’ll be looking at for Project CARS 2.”
So what are his thoughts on these upgraded consoles from a consumer’s perspective, we asked him. Did he think that there was a potential for fragmentation of the userbase, and alienating the millions who had already purchased the 60 million PS4 and Xbox One units out in the wild?
“I think it’s too early to tell, to be honest,” Tudor said. “The full information is not released yet, so I think it would be wrong of us to comment on rumors at the moment.”
Which was a fair response- so we decided to return to the development side of things- did he think that PS4K and Xbox 1.5 represented a good move for developers?
“It depends on how it’s done,” he answered cautiously. “I didn’t say that it’s a good idea, necessarily, but that we will always look at- if there is more power available, then we will be there to look at how to use it, yeah. But, there are good ways and bad ways of doing that. Would it be a good thing to bring out a brand new console which is more powerful and that annoyed the 10 million people who bought the original one? That wouldn’t be a good thing.”
“Equally, would it be good to bring out an add on that, you know, attaches itself to your existing PlayStation, and if you have an add on, you can use it, and if you don’t have the add on, then we can’t use it- okay, well maybe, that’s a bit like mobile development, in that we have to cater to the people who have the iPhone 6s, but also to people still on an iPhone 5. So there are pros and cons. But like I said, we don’t know the full details, so it is kind of too early for us to speculate on what our stance would be. But if there is more power available, however it may be, we will certainly look into using it somehow.”
It is interesting to hear his responses- they seem to be more positive, on the whole, than the responses we have gleaned from a lot of other customers and developers. Then again, Slightly Mad Studios are a studio that have always striven to be on the cutting edge, so is it a surprise to anyone, really, that they would be enthusiastic about new technology?