Two years later, the PS5 could never live up to its performance promises
The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5’s seams are beginning to separate. A Plague Tale Requiem and Gotham Knights, two games that debuted last week and challenged the established quo for performance on current-gen platforms. Both games came without a performance setting and locked at 30 frames per second (fps), which is in contrast to almost all platform releases since 2020.
When the Xbox Series X and PS5 were released in late 2020, users often had the choice of a high resolution at 30 frames per second or a smooth 60 frames per second. Microsoft hinted at it, but Sony never stated directly that the PS5 will always offer a steady 60 frames per second, despite the expectation throughout the previous two years. That’s changing, and things won’t get much better in the future, particularly with these third-party releases.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X still seem like next-generation systems, but they are not. The consoles are becoming outdated at this time, two years before the debut. Both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 are powered by a semi-custom AMD system-on-a-chip (SoC), which was already a little dated when the consoles were introduced two years ago.
The CPU in both consoles has eight Zen 2 cores and is built on the same architecture as AMD’s Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs. With a little reduction in clock speed, it is similar to a Ryzen 7 3700X desktop CPU. Also, they both make use of a bespoke RDNA 2 GPU, the same architecture that AMD employed in their RX 6000 graphics cards. It’s harder to find a comparable for the GPU, although it’s about an RX 6650 XT (read our RX 6600 XT review to get an idea about how that GPU performs in a PC).
Even though the CPU power of these consoles lagged behind PC at launch, the GPU power was very competitive. This stance is being challenged by next-generation GPUs like the RTX 4090, and programmers are prepared to use more demanding features to benefit from more potent hardware. It is evident if you look at the suggested system requirements for Gotham Knights and A Plague Tale Requiem. The recommended PC specifications, which are the specs the developer suggests for 1080p at 60 frames per second, are not met by either the PS5 or Xbox Series X. (let alone 4K at 60 fps).
It’s not a direct comparison because consoles benefit from a closed environment that developers can target and optimize for, but it provides an excellent picture of the requirements for contemporary games and how “next-gen” consoles fit into the picture. They are behind.
The fact that consoles seem much more modern than they are doesn’t help. For instance, the PS5 is currently unavailable at most shops and sells on the secondary market for between $700 and $800. Even though many people currently cannot afford a base PS5, if we follow the timeframe of the previous generation, we would see a PS5 Pro roughly six months from now. There is no doubt that the PS5 is outpacing the PS4, but even Sony admits that supply issues are preventing the device from reaching its full sales potential.
Game developers, especially those that work on both console and PC games, aren’t just sitting around waiting. This entails pushing greater picture reconstruction and more powerful graphics features, which the PS5 and Xbox Series X don’t always have access to.
PS5 vs Xbox Series X: price
Sony increased the cost of the PlayStation 5 (disc edition) in a few nations in August 2022. It is now £480, $499, or AU$800. The Xbox Series X costs £449 / $499 / AU$749 in the UK and Australia, respectively.
Each console is available in more cheap, disc-free variants. The Xbox Series S is just $299, AU$ 499, or £249. At £390/$399/AU$650, the PS5 Digital Edition is significantly more costly.
That’s not a big surprise because the Xbox Series S has a variety of performance reductions compared to the Xbox Series X, but the PS5 Digital Edition is just a regular PS5 with the disc drive removed. In other words, the two disc-free next-generation consoles aren’t intended to be direct rivals.
Both consoles are still quite popular. You may now locate a PS5 replenishment, but you’ll need to act quickly. The Xbox Series X is simpler to locate, although the Xbox Series S is already rather common. Online businesses have started to provide price reductions.
Upscaling is the key to the finest video game performance. Even absurdly powerful GPUs like the RTX 4090 benefit from upscaling technologies like Deep Learning Super Sampling, which consoles have been doing for years and continue to do (DLSS). Sadly, consoles cannot use capabilities like Intel’s XeSS and DLSS.
Instead, most consoles employ some type of internal upscaling or choose technology like Temporal Super Resolution in Unreal Engine (TSR). At least on the Xbox Series X, AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 (FSR) is also accessible. Although they are not free, these upscaling options are excellent for GPU-intensive games.
AMD advises an RX 5700 or RX 6700 XT (or above) GPU to upscale to 4K when using FSR 2.0 as an example. Some upscaling programs render the game at a reduced resolution, but there is some cost and performance isn’t as good as if you merely ran the game at that lower resolution. For instance, using FSR 2.0’s Quality option, we observed an average frame rate of 62.6 fps in Uncharted Legacy of Thieves (rendering at 1440p and upscaling to 4K). The frame rate at native 1440p was 79.2. The overhead of the upscaling algorithm is that gap.
Considering the narrow performance margins that consoles must work on, any overhead is crucial. The RX 6700 XT, for instance, struggles to maintain 30 frames per second in A Plague Tale Requiem at 4K (and that’s even with a Processor that is more potent than what the consoles are capable of). Upscaling can assist increase that frame rate into the high 40s, but developers must choose between a terrible experience with a frame rate that fluctuates widely between 40 and 50 frames per second and a locked 30 frames per second where the game runs smoothly at all times.
If your CPU is the bottleneck, scaling up won’t help either. A Plague Tale Requiem’s enormous rat hoards, for example, may take a significant toll on your CPU even though most games are GPU-limited. It seems reasonable that Sony and Microsoft chose the less potent Zen 2 architecture since Processors don’t often offer a significant gain in gaming performance. Upscaling cannot replicate the substantial increases in gaming performance made by the Zen 3 and Zen 4 in more recent generations.
Sign of the times
At the debut, consoles are frequently quite remarkable. In comparison to comparably priced gaming PCs, they offer far greater power, but unlike PCs, consoles are locked. There is a physical limit to what the system can do, and performance diminishes as graphic fidelity increases in games like Gotham Knights and A Plague Tale Requiem.
Because first-party games have direct access to console hardware, such as the forthcoming God of War Ragnarök, they can operate at substantially faster frame rates with the proper optimizations. As a result of the lack of access and time that multiplatform developers have, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a lot more 30 fps console games in the future.
The good news for console users is that gaming Computers continue to advance during the course of the system’s existence, eventually providing higher performance at reduced costs. Check out our list of the best gaming desktops if you’re not happy with the performance offered by the PS5 or Xbox Series X.