The Xbox One cloud computing demo recently show off by Microsoft shows at least one way the Xbone can beat the PS4 performance gap.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, Microsoft hopes a DirectX 12 upgrade may help the Xbox One GPU compete with the PlayStation 4, but critics believe that graphics parity can never be achieved based upon hardware realities. Regardless of the hardware differences, some analysts believe it’s possible the Xbox One sales numbers could catch up to the PS4 due to Sony’s failing business.
The debate has developers chiming in. For example, Just Add Water CEO Stewart Gilray says the PS4 GPU always will win:
“The PS4 has more COMPUTE units, and faster memory and a whole bunch of things, that would make that [Xbox One / PS4 parity] physically impossible to happen.”
But Microsoft has been showing off the Xbox One cloud computing capabilities. Both systems have pretty much the same processor, although the Xbox One CPU is clocked slightly faster, but in physics and AI heavy situations, cloud computing is claimed to make a huge difference. The cloud computing function provided by Microsoft’s Azure server is already being used in Titanfall, but a new demo shows off how physics calculations can be offloaded.
Anyone who has ever played a PhysX enabled PC game with an AMD video card knows how heavily the CPU can be stressed when the number of physics objects reach tens of thousands. For example, I just played Alice: Madness Returns, and in order to use PhysX at acceptable framerates I had to manually edit the INI settings file in order to cap the number of physics objects allowed.
It’s actually quite impressive what the Xbox One cloud assist can achieve, although it can be argued that games can offload these calculations to the PS4 GPU using OpenCL or other physics middleware. So without a demo being on both platforms we’re left comparing apples to oranges.
Still, in the past there has also been talk about how Xbox One cloud computing could be used for lighting calculations for objects that don’t change every frame, including the position of the sun and cloud shadows. There’s also the possibility that Xbox One backwards compatibility with the Xbox 360 could be offered via the cloud if they don’t use a local software emulator.