If you’re wanting to comprehend just how advanced the ray-tracing technology is in Nvidia’s GeForce RTX graphics cards, or just how far behind consoles lag cutting-edge PC hardware, then Battlefield V producer David Sirland has provided an interesting insight.
Sirland has acknowledged that ray-tracing will become standard practice, even on consoles, but these $400 boxes are still at least “a console generation or two” from utilising the new technology.
Speaking to fans on Twitter, Sirland said: “Give it a console generation or two and it's standard I bet".
As for why ray-tracing will become the norm, Sirland explains how "this kind of tech allows us to throw away some of the faked stuff we do now, which is very tricky go get to play right sometimes, simplifies if you will. But, in a few years. I personally play on low settings, vsync off, no triple buffering - I hear ya. But some of the lighting fixes RT improves on makes things better when it comes to playable shadows and indoors vs outdoors etc.”
Ray-tracing will be inbound on consoles then, although it doesn’t sound as if we should get our hopes up for the next-gen consoles implementing this ultra-demanding technology. The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox One X successors are looking likely to launch on 2019/2020, and this seems far too soon for Sony and Microsoft to supply the hardware at an affordable price. The main hitch right now is both consoles currently use AMD custom APUs, and AMD has yet to even throw its hat in the ring in terms of ray tracing, let alone offer an affordable solution. It means we’re looking at a further console generation before the hardware has caught up with the tech, so around 2025 or onwards. For the next handful of years, PC is going to be the only place where ray-tracing is even possible.
For Microsoft and Sony though, I think the focus for the next crop of consoles is a no-brainer. Ray-tracing is prohibitively expensive and performance would be far better dedicated to actually regularly hitting 60 frames per second rather than enabling cutting-edge lighting. True system-wide 4K support would also be a bonus but it’s the frame rates where the current consoles are currently really hurting.