Cyberpunk 2077 Performance Issues on Previous-Gen Consoles May Be Caused by the CPU; PlayStation 4 Pro Version Is the Most Stable Version
Cyberpunk 2077 comes with a lot of issues on previous-gen consoles, including crashing and performance issues. While stability can be improved and bugs can be fixed, it seems like CDPR will have a hard time making the game run with acceptable performance on base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
In a new report shared by Digital Foundry, it has been suggested that it's the previous-gen's Jaguar CPU the most likely culprit for the massive performance issues. This is made clear by the fact that the Xbox Series S has a lower power GPU than the Xbox One X, but it actually delivers a more consistent performance.
PlayStation 5 is effectively running the PlayStation 4 code with an unlocked frame-rate, while Xbox Series consoles are receiving Xbox One code with some additional improvements to quality settings, including improved density in NPCs and vehicles along with the addition of ambient occlusion alongside other tweaks. Xbox Series S may well have a lower power GPU than Xbox One X, but it's actually delivering a far more consistent, more enjoyable experience - and this too is running from the same core codebase.
The Xbox Series S Cyberpunk 2077 more consistent performance also proves that issues are not caused by lack of memory, as the Series S has less usable RAM than the Xbox One X.
Therefore, a process of deduction suggests the following: first of all, the lack of memory on the last-gen machines may not be the issue - Xbox One X has 9GB of useable RAM and still has serious problems. Meanwhile, Series S has less memory and seems to deliver a better, more consistent experience overall. Where the machine has clear wins against the last-gen consoles is in terms of storage and - crucially - CPU power. The evidence does suggest that when Cyberpunk 2077 is running at its worst, the lack of CPU grunt is the primary culprit. It's especially evident when driving around the city - the background streaming systems are very heavy on CPU and all versions buckle. Even the next-gen console, Stadia and PC builds see depressed performance here.
While the CPU is most likely the main reason for the Cyberpunk 2077 performance issues, it's definitely not the only one. The PlayStation 4 Pro version, which Digital Foundry considers the most stable previous-gen version of the game, has more consistent performance than the Xbox One X version, but the Sony console has a slower CPU compared to the Microsoft mid-gen console.
The one issue with this theory is Xbox One X - its CPU is faster than PS4 Pro's, yet the Pro routinely beats it in performance terms across the board, albeit by varying degrees.
With Cyberpunk 2077 being so ambitious, CD Projekt RED is surely going to have trouble making the game run decently on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The studio did improve The Witcher 3's performance on base consoles in the months following release, so it's not unlikely they will be able to accomplish the same in their latest game, although Cyberpunk 2077 is not comparable to The Witcher 3 in terms of visuals and complexity.
Cyberpunk 2077 is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Stadia worldwide.