The PlayStation 3 has been around for five years now (the five-year anniversary for the US comes in November), so perhaps it's time to ask the question: has the machine reached its graphical peak? And if not, how much longer before it does? Then again, will it ever ?

Maybe the best thing to do is approach this question from a historical perspective, despite the significant changes in the industry. Let's look at the PS2- when it launched in 2000, we had titles like Tekken Tag Tournament , Summoner , Smugglers Run , TimeSplitters , SSX , and Fantavision . SSX wowed all the critics and at the time, represented a new graphics bar (or so many gamers claimed). Things just kept getting better from a visual presentation standpoint because, much like all PlayStation consoles, developers are often clueless at the start of the lifespan. They just become more comfortable as time goes on.

So by the time 2005 and 2006 rolled around, we had games like God of War II , Final Fantasy XII , and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater . If we compare later-gen titles to the launch lineup, there's such a drastic leap that the uninitiated might think we're examining two completely different consoles. The first question is, has the PS3 exhibited the same kind of leap? From Resistance: Fall of Man , Ridge Racer 7 , Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom , and Genji: Days of the Blade to inFamous 2 , Uncharted 2: Among Thieves , Gran Turismo 5 , God of War III , LittleBigPlanet 2 and Killzone 3 . Well, yeah, that seems about right.

Moving right along, we expect Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception to once again outstrip anything else in the console game world; it should be yet another graphical bar. That launches on November 1, 2011, just a few weeks shy of the aforementioned 5-year PS3 anniversary in North America. Will that be it? Will that be the FFXII or the GoWII of the PS2? The big exclusives seem to have already hit and I'm not sure what to expect in 2012. Plus, with third-party exclusives basically a thing of the past, we can really only focus on first-party titles from various Sony studios. Maybe the biggest and most important question is whether or not new installments in the biggest franchises will make it this generation…

If you believe Sony's insistent 10-year-lifespan claims, you should believe we'll see another God of War , Uncharted , and Killzone (but maybe not a new Gran Turismo ). So maybe in that case, we'll see yet another graphics increase. And maybe it's unfair to compare the PS3 to its predecessor, as so much has indeed changed. But what do you believe?

Subscribe
Notify of
99 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

I'm going to say, Unknown, and here's my primary reason. Since the PS3 was announced way way back, and for awhile after, they discussed it's ability to run parallel with other active PS3's on the network. Meaning, large arrays of idle PS3's could be used together to create a larger gaming universe.

I'm still waiting for a practical application for this. With a bunches of PS3's running the actual program, who knows what kind of graphics we could see with the machine. It seems as if, it could be more than what has been presented thus far…on paper, of course.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I would guess they were then referring to clustering of Linux boxes. If so, that's no longer possible (unfortunately).


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/9/2011 12:50:01 PM

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

@ Beamboom: Nah, it's already done with the [email protected] projects. Idle processing power is used to for one specific end.

The thing is, the Linux option would refer to a private organization/array. Sony wouldn't be delivering a game via Linux OS, when their primary concern is promoting the PSN and the games through that network.

Heh, just because the Other OS option is removed, doesn't mean Sony and developers can't make use of what the Cell Broadband Engine is capable of, you know? This is only a guess, but I'd imagine they have much, much more access to the hardware than we do.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I'm not saying it can't be done, by all means. I'd just assume they were talking about Linux-clustering since that's available technology today, and the ps3 is indeed a very powerful machine to be used for such things.

But if we talk theory, then sure. However, also the software (the game) must support this (to split the tasks and send the less instant tasks to the networked machines), and I don't really see that happening. Just imagine the reactions if a game requirement on the box stated "two or more ps3 required for optimal performance". 😀


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/9/2011 1:04:53 PM

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

@ Beamboom: Well, it wouldn't be hard for Sony to have an array of PS3 servers, like they do with Warhawk. That could be for launch, after launch, as the game gains popularity, you could scale back those servers as you'd expect more connectivity with the network.

Additionally, they could also make it an app, just like [email protected], you don't even have to own the game, to allow idle processing power from your machine to be used to maintain the gaming environment.

You'd have to take a look at the original R/D documents that came out with the PS3, they weren't discussing Linux clusters, although, that's possible with any group of PC's running Linux. They were definitely referring to the Cell's capabilities, which 'should' (yeah, in theory heh), be capable of doing the same thing in the PSN environment, provided…they make it heh.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Do you know how much actual work the Warhawk (and other similar) servers do? It ain't much, mister. That's how those services can run free of charge for so long. 🙂

The problem here is the bandwidth to the end user. Even if you *could* create a centralized cluster (btw it would not have been ps3's in that cluster – unless it was to prove a point) the current bandwidth would make the lag unbearable if they should push more than basic info (like coordinations for a locally stored map).


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/9/2011 1:34:49 PM

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

@ Beamboom: Not sure what they're doing now for usage, but they were definitely busy back when the game launched. I played avidly, for quite awhile.

The bandwidth issue, well, that could be an explanation for why we haven't seen it in use. But, I think the tech is definitely worth looking into, if the Cell performs as was explained in the articles I read way back when.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Oh busy indeed, but all the central servers do is to gather players as they enter the game and and connect them to eachother – typically based on how far from each other they are networkwise (low "ping reply"). The actual game itself is run on one of the players machines acting as the server for everyone.

That workload is comparable to a semi-busy webserver – ergo it could easily be running on your average laptop. it really is not much to talk of.

Another matter is games like MAG, where every player are clients connected to the same central server. That enables them to accept more players per game session.

But the actual data between the player and the server is as little as possible. All visuals are rendered using local hardware, all audio likevise, etc. It's just info about the other players activities (location, movement direction, actions) that's distributed to/from the server.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/9/2011 1:46:11 PM

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

@ Beamboom: Oh certainly, I know they're not setup in the fashion I describe, wasn't stating that. Simply, Sony has utilized the PS3 as servers before. They could just as easily do so for this project.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

The CellBE itself is designed to run in parallel with other Cell processors in a single system. The potential for PS3s running in parallel is well known, as you can see from the various PS3 supercomputer projects.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I havent read about ps3 projects, but the software would still have to support it, and they would still have to communicate via the ethernet interface?


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/9/2011 11:14:33 PM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I've googled "PS3 supercomputer project" and so far I've only found projects using the otherOS feature to run Linux clusters…


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/10/2011 4:34:40 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Yes, the point I was making was that the potential for combining PS3s to form a much faster system was amply demonstrated by Beowolf clusters. If you want another example, I believe that Polyphony digital did an early 1080p in 3D demo of Gran Turismo using 4 PS3s running together over Ethernet.

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

@ Highlander/Beamboom:

http://www.ps4talk.com/gran-turismo-in-super-high-def-12052907/

They were actually running it in 3840×2160, each PS3 was rendering a quarter of the display and all 4 were melding it together on one screen.

Beamboom, I'll keep looking around for the original documents I was looking through, that was discussing the Cell's capabilities, haven't found it yet, but the GT5 project is definitely indicative of what I'm talking about.

Super HD isn't much use to us normal folk heh, but imagine having multiple PS3's crunching AI engines, physics engines, lighting etc… From the things I've read in the past, such things should be possible if the Cell is utilized properly.

Though, I hadn't necessarily thought about bandwidth either in this (and, of course, since I can't find that original report, I can't really go back and see what I was reading either), so you could absolutely be right that there are simply some bottlenecks that prevent this from happening. Just hoping that isn't the case, myself. =)

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@both of you: I've never heard about this before! Very cool, thanks for info and links.
But how the heck did they do it? Was is a custom modified game then? Cause it's not a feature in the retail version?

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
9 years ago

@ Beamboom: That particular project was simply a demo setup between Sony and Polyphony Digital (developers of GT5), likely to promote the disgustingly high-end TV that Sony had to make, in order to view such resolutions LOL. I honestly don't think the GT5 retail version would be capable of reproducing it without some kind of support from PD, at the very least, Sony at the most.

But yeah, knowing how they utilized multiple PS3's for this scenario, it'd be pretty cool to see what arrays of PS3's could produce, provided, as you said, the bandwidth is available, of course.


Last edited by Mornelithe on 7/11/2011 4:36:03 PM

Kevin555
Kevin555
9 years ago

I reckon it's going to be near impossible to top console graphics after Uncharted 3. But i would be interested to see how a new God of War or Crysis game would look in say another 2 years just to see how much they evolve in visual power.

I remember on PS2 when i first played MGS2 & Devil May Cry thinking "pinnacle" & it was what? only 2001? Yet, years later we got MGS3, Resident Evil 4 & Tekken 5 which all upped the bar again. Sadly after 05 i can't remember a single PS2 game that toppled anything visually in 05.

So i'm guessing, although i do believe that PS3 still has a spec of untapped secret tech juice somewhere within it's electric guts, Uncharted 3 will be the closest to suck it dry.

I do however wan't the PS3 to hang around abit longer even if i am anticipating the new consoles with warm saliva coated lips.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I suspect we're pretty much there. I think aside from the most prominent and prolific exclusives we've witnessed the majority of what the system can offer us technically.

Riku994
Riku994
9 years ago

You're forgeting FFv13, from what Nomura claims, the game is outrageously pretty, having gone through 3 graphical overhauls IIRC.

p.p
p.p
9 years ago

Gears of War 3 already tops Uncharted 3 graphics by just looking at the Multi-player Beta lol. PS3 is maxed out 🙁

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Oh just get out

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

And you're assuming all this just by a couple of "BETA's"??????

Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,
ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,
ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha, ha,ha!

That's got to be the best comic relief I've heard in quite a while!


Last edited by BikerSaint on 7/9/2011 1:13:03 PM

AshT
AshT
9 years ago

u should go back to playing gears 3 then

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

First post = flame bait.

hmm… Aside from the post just being factually incorrect, I wonder what other facts we could deduce about this pee-pee.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Well, since I love to play the devils advocate I have to say that he do have a point, the beta of Uncharted do not look that impressive, at least not by Uncharted standards. That's even something others have stated too, earlier. It looks like a "layer" is missing, and indeed I believe that to be the case. They are simply holding back on the visuals to not give away too much too early.

That being said…
/me takes off advocate coat

He's a flamer. Set phazers on stun!


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/9/2011 2:22:21 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

I just have to ask-

Has anyone ever seen a die-hard fan of the Xbox 360 that wasn't a flat-out braindead idiot? Wouldn't the relatively intelligent 360 fans be continually embarrassed by this "representation?"

Anyway…bye.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 7/9/2011 2:44:05 PM

Riku994
Riku994
9 years ago

Yes Ben, actually I do know one. He's a cocky little guy but by no means is he an idiot. He does do a pretty good job at representing an XBox fanboy though..

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Well, I'm referring more to fans who show up in forums and communities online. Maybe it's just the online disease that affects them. 😉

PasteNuggs
PasteNuggs
9 years ago

Ben,

I just wonder if they love playing Gears and Halo so much why are they not playing them and instead go look to argue on forums.

To answer your question, yes most 360 only owners I know usually admit they made a mistake in choosing their console. On the internet though, no, everyone is so tough from the behind there monitor.

Riku994
Riku994
9 years ago

Could be Ben… Could be…

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I am a fool for believing he might have had the best of intentions.

Well terminated, Ben.

Ignitus
Ignitus
9 years ago

I know several die hard 360 fans and they are not idiots at all.

I don't understand why people here get offended when SONY products get trased but it is ok when they trash other manufacturers product.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

Nobody trashes anything. You don't see posts like that from anyone here, so don't say it happens. That insults the community.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

@beamboom

there's nothing wrong with playing devil's advocate, and i couldn't agree more with your assessment of the graphics in uc3's beta multiplayer. it does look like a layer a texture detail is missing. something's off.

they should have polished up some more. i know it's the beta version, but a lot of people will sample that and form an opinion…uc3's graphics are not as good. beta's are almost considered promitional material in this day and age. developer's should make sure they look as good as possissble to get good word of mouth and buzz going.

@ignitus

i agree to an extent. ofcourse there are die hard xbox fans that are not idiots.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 7/9/2011 4:03:41 PM

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

@Ignitus

Of course there is an exception to things, everyone should know that. lol

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

I've never met a diehard Xbox fan who isn't a blathering idiot. Not saying there aren't any intelligent, easy going diehard Xbox fans. I just haven't met any.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

although i'm sure certain developers will be able to squeeze a little more out of the ps3, i think it's fair to say we are approaching the limits of what it can do. it has all that room on the blu ray disc but only 512 mb of memory(only 256 of video ram). that's not very much at all by today's standards.

one thing i would finally say to the console makers is if you want to future proof your consoles and are truely expecting 10 yr life cycles, don't skimp on the ram.


Last edited by Excelsior1 on 7/9/2011 1:04:45 PM

AshT
AshT
9 years ago

I guess we'll see PS4 sooner than we expect 🙂

FM23
FM23
9 years ago

minus the stardard stuff…right?…lol

city96
city96
9 years ago

Well, I guess its just down to the developers. If they aim for high quality visuals then they need to utilise the Cell and all the SPU's as Naughty Dog and Guerilla have done.

I hope that Third Party Devs like DICE and Ubisoft one day can create a third party game to rival all the First party SONY devs. 😛

Shoc_Trooper
Shoc_Trooper
9 years ago

lol PS3 graphics plateau, tell me – are cell shaded graphics an improvement? Graphic improvement … lol… depends on how we want to define our experiences. Of the few PS3 exclusives available, none really spring to mind as being all that memorable for what they were offering on a graphics level. I know ppl love Uncharted, but that game has useless priorities. – How nice could it look, if you got rid of everything it didn't need? I find there is so much "wasted" memory with games like Uncharted and Infamous, that it's unfair to hold them up as the standard.
Has the PS3 it hit a plateau? no
Have the developers gotten lazy? yes

Not on a level of output, but on the level of prioritizing.

Stop making games with 20 different single function items (use once never use again) or programming NPC A.I. Bots (Battlefield 3 is guilty again) (really, bots? again? for noobs? no thnxs!) and put those resources towards graphics then maybe we'll see the plateau. Oh, and stop making games for PC, PS3 and 360 and expecting the same level of quality out of them.

Can't tell you how many "design" decisions were "made" so that these games would run on a 360 at all. pooh pooh. If anything it's time to get rid of the 360, once and for all so the PC and PS3 can finally party down!


Last edited by Shoc_Trooper on 7/9/2011 1:45:04 PM

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
9 years ago

hey expert, please name some useless things on uncharted 2 that proves the devs are lazy…

which major ps3 exclusive is using cell shaded graphics….


Last edited by aaronisbla on 7/9/2011 1:56:30 PM

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

Some parts I agree, and on some I disagree. Either way, excellent first post, and welcome to PSXE!

I do agree that there are some misguided priorities on some exclusives. Unfortunately for you and I, it's entirely subjective. For example, I would rather Killzone 3 be run in 1080p with the best FPS possible instead of having 3D or PSmove functionality.

However, I do believe in the realm of consoles, many PS3 exclusives have set the bar. Wii and 360 have nothing that can top the best of PS3. I don't think it's fair to compare PC, only because each system is unique and devs have the ability to simply demand higher specs from users. Consoles have a set formula to work with.

Personally, I think Uncharted doesn't have many if any useless features. At least I can't think of any. (Certainly not from a gameplay perspective. Not sure on a graphical level) But when I observe the environments and scenery and how fluid UC2's animations are, I really have to say it is a bit of a bar setter! Standing at the top of a mountain, looking out across the water and islands with birds flying across the sky, I think, "just… wow! SO pretty!"

In terms of AI bots vs. graphical prowess, I only disagree for 2 reasons: First and most basic, those programming codes don't really take much space and second, if AI bots must leave games, it should remain as options. Personally, in FPS's I turn off auto-aim options when possible, and I always play on toughest difficulties, but I firmly believe "noobs" need to be given a fair shot at gaming as well. And those little additions really aren't labour intensive design decisions. The more people I can get to love Uncharted the better, I say!!

Finally, in regards to your last paragraph, while I do believe consumers should have more options, and hence, should have multiple systems to choose from, I have to agree that I am getting sick of accommodations being made for the 360, thus hurting the PS3.

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

Cell Shaded Graphics? On what big exclusive? I've never seen any, Journey for example uses that…

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Valkyria Chronicles used them. Not a big exclusive, really. Sly 4 will be using them, and one of the Naruto games did too.

Deathb4Dishonor
Deathb4Dishonor
9 years ago

@Lawless

I don't think those titles are big exclusives for Sony… Anyways i don't understand why he's Shoc is saying that when MS use cell shade in crackdown which to them is major exclusive even though i think it's a horrible game… That's just me though… I couldn't get into it

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
9 years ago

Deathb4Dishonour,
Sadly, I know. The only one that might be regarded as being a big exclusive is Sly. That being said, Sony brought it back because Sanzaru wanted to do it, not because Sony outsourced it to them. And of course Valkyria Chronicles is from Sega.

Oh, and Shoc,
It seems to me that you're implying that games with a different art style to reality are the only ones that can have great graphics. What a crock of crap. They certainly can be more appealing, like the cartoon style of R&C or the art-deco overlay of Bioshock, but that doesn't mean that they're better.

Honestly, I'd rather see a dev focus on the gameplay, making it diverse and fun over graphics. Who cares if a plateau is never hit, as long as you get good games?


Last edited by Lawless SXE on 7/9/2011 6:28:06 PM

Shoc_Trooper
Shoc_Trooper
9 years ago

Last edited by Shoc_Trooper on 7/9/2011 1:43:41 PM

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

In the future, just click the little garbage can instead of the edit button.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

LOL