PS4 and Xbox One Developer Leaks a Truckload of Details About Sony, Microsoft, Latest Consoles’ Potential, Cloud and More
Since the Release of Sony and Microsoft's respective PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, the gaming community has stumbled upon more leaks and rumors than authentic official announcements and confirmations, and well this month is actually all about leaks and rumors. Today, we have some very interesting leaked details about PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, their developers, their hardware, cloud gaming and other stuff related to video games.
PS4 and Xbox One Developer Leaks a Truckload of Details About Sony, Microsoft, Cloud, Latest Consoles and More - Flaks Xbox One, Props Up PlayStation 4
Sony and Microsoft have revealed a lot of details and information about their latest consoles since their launch last year. The manufacturers have explained hardware and software of their consoles, how the consoles work, how they provide next-gen entertainment, etc. However, unofficial sources have played a greater role in brining forth new critical information and details from within the industry.
Industry insiders and former company employees always keep on giving out stuff that makes cover of different gaming websites and discussion forums. Yesterday night a similar case happened. Some guy, claiming himself as a PS4 and Xbox One developer with seven years of experience in the industry responsible for AAA video game titles, conducted an AMA (Ask me anything) session on Reddit. In answers to people's questions, the alleged developer revealed a lot of interesting details about latest video game consoles and their manufacturers.
Due to some NDAs in place, the developer was unable to come out of anonymity and verify his identity. However, the details he leaked look very appropriate, specific and believable. Some known developers like Dan Marshall also tweeted about this AMA session and as it is highly unlikely that some verified developers like them would contribute to spread wrong information, so more than half of the leaked details are most possibly true. Although with no official confirmation, it is hard to keep all these details in the verified section.
Below are the most relevant and appropriate looking leaked details shared by the alleged PS4 and Xbox One developer, thanks to DualShockers for arranging them properly.
"Sony is complex because many companies. from what i understand the business people are more suffering under this but even as a dev you become aware that there is Sony America and Sony Japan for instance. they are doing cool stuff for devs at the moment though and care a lot. As an indie that’s awesome."
"Microsoft is a huge institution. not sure what to say about them. they were never easy to work with but now they also suffer from the fact that they are not sure themselves which direction the boat is heading. (for instance the indie stuff they are doing is bizarre. lots of people asked for self publishing for ages as you could see on every single conference they did, but until Sony announced something there the policy that there needs to be a publisher). every interaction with them goes through a proxy person."
"Your mileage may vary with either of them and it can change depending on how much they care about you."
The alleged PS4 and Xbox One developer responsible for these leaked details is not, apparently, very worried about the town-talks claiming Microsoft is planning to sell Xbox business and Sony could lay off employees:
"Quite irrelevant because those companies are not going to go away and even if they would, the market would move somewhere else but not disappear."
"Sony is not going away, Microsoft is not going away either. nobody is worried about the future of either platform. Multiplatform development is awesome and f2p titles are doing really well on PS4 at the moment with higher ARPU than on PC. if Microsoft would want to sell of their division, someone else will acquire it but they have a new lead and that won’t happen. Mot sure what you want to hear from me. That they are doomed? They are not."
He also explained the cloud service that Microsoft offers free of cost to its video game developers. Talking about big cloud computing promises made by the manufacturer, he said:
"It’s basically a dedicated server that is given to you for the duration of one game session. you cannot have any persistence with it unless you serialize your game state out and store it in some other service. But that’s not what you get for free from Microsoft. They might change that apparently but presently it does not exist. It’s quite literally a random dedicated server with a random 64bit cpu but predictable ram."
"Generally cloud services exist obviously : P"
"Just for the record: there is storage but when the server boots it needs to download the state from a remote storage. It cannot run when the game session is finished so you cannot do background tasks."
We got to know that shipping a stable video game title is much easier but first getting all the requirements right on submission can be quite hard:
"Almost all knowledge is something you cannot learn without a dev kit for the stuff I do. that’s because for console titles you need to fulfill very rigid requirements and those are behind NDAs. for instance there are lots of technical requirements that are checked on submission. This includes correct framebuffer sizes, not stalling, not showing a black image for too long etc. Also a lot is knowing people you can ask because you can’t Google your problems."
"I think generally console development is vastly easier to ship stable because everybody has the same system but getting all the requirements implemented can be a nightmare."
In response to a question regarding devkits that come with the latest PS4 and Xbox One consoles, the developer made a rather funny statement:
"You compile on PC and run it on your devkit. In case of PS4 it’s straightforward in case of Xbox One the devkit is super wonky. for instance if you unplug it from power it forgets that it’s a devkit and you need to provision it again …"
"Devkits are usually loans. insignificant cost for an AAAstudio. indies get it for free as far as i know."
From what is stated below, it is clear that the developer himself prefers to work on PlayStation 4, although most other developers like DirectX for rendering:
"PS4 hands down. The Xbox One devkits are crappy and the software stack is a stupid moving target. they are a software company so they will fix that, but currently it’s just pain."
"PS4 feels familiar even though different architecture [compared to PS3]. Xbox One is tricky. Rendering wise i don’t care much, I don’t write that stuff. Pretty sure most people prefer DirectX."
He also explained how programming can be done on PS4 and Xbox One consoles simultaneously and collectively:
"It’s not rocket science. You just put some layers in between and connect them properly. The parts that are system specific (platform services, networking, audio, renderer) you write twice."
"We use Unreal and various middleware. The bits and pieces you need to write yourself you wrote twice largely. Not the interfaces obviously but the implementation. I’m not saying you write everything twice. There is overlap. But the system specific parts share very little."
Shared memory between consoles' CPU and GPU help developers to save time and thoughts for real problems:
"Already last generation you have some shared memory between CPU and GPU. Now you just need to worry less about doing stupid things."
Bearing in mind the current situation, he shared his view by saying that in the war between the two latest consoles, nothing is properly predictable. Both consoles have their own perks so now, software is what will count:
"If you are looking for an interesting story, there is none. You have two fast consoles one of which is faster than the other one but does not include fancy motion controls. From this point onward software will count and since both will have a long shelf live anything can happen."
He believes console gaming is not dying anytime soon in the coming future. In fact, much can be expected from the industry in the future:
"Initially Microsoft talked about this generation of consoles being the last one but i think that changed. Sony probably aims for same shell life on the tail (for cheap games) but to have a new console ready sooner than that. Sony loves if devs develop for their old consoles because they keep selling them in emerging markets."
"Not sure why people think there won’t be a jump. consoles did not look awesome last gen because of PowerPC (if anything despite PowerPC). Consoles look awesome at the end of the generation because clever people find clever algorithms and concepts to exploit them, and because everybody has the same hardware you can trick around. Also you have low-level access to it. Same this generation."
Clarifying that is is not very hard to port video games from consoles to PC, he said:
"It has never been hard to port games from consoles to PC. Just work."
...nonetheless, consoles have their own advantages for developers:
"The debuggers are awesome and everything is the same. you can ship with crappy hacks and it will still work."
…and some disadvantages:
"Microsoft should stop being a dick about their security policies. they are annoying, a huge waste of time and don’t do much. publishers might think different but for actual developers all that crap is just annoying."
Sharing things he likes and things he would change in the Sony's latest video game console if he gets a chance, the anonymous developer said:
"Better WiFi adapter and battery life for the controller. i love the PS4, not much that needs changing. It’s very powerful and it’s well designed. The only thing i really wish would be that Sony would stop pushing for 4k displays because for that there is not enough power in the machine."
He mentioned that even with having no direct experience on Sony's handheld console, porting to PS Vita and PS4 is fairly easy:
"I don’t know, i never touched the Vita. Generally from what i have heard from other people porting to Vita/PS4 is easy as pie when you had previous experience with Sony platforms."
His comments about Nintendo Wii U make it clear that he never had a good time with the Wii U:
"When i looked at the Wii U it was madness, but that’s par for the course with Nintendo, so not news. It’s pretty much irrelevant for third party developers. Almost every studio outsources their Wii U ports to some poor guys."
He also mentioned mentioned that programmers hate Unreal Engine 4 while artists love it:
"As of recently UE4 is cheap to try. I would look at it. Unreal is hard to judge because programmers hate it but artists love it. I would generally recommend it."
That is all for now from PS4 and Xbox One developers' memory, and no doubt, that is a lot to take in. The developer's identity is still a myth and no one knows who he is but still, the details leaked by him seem far from fake. However, it is important to mention here that all these details are not backed up by some solid proofs so we better take this all with a pinch of salt.
What do you think about all the aforementioned stuff that is directly or indirectly related to PS4 and Xbox One video game consoles? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.