Xbox Series X won't push 8K, ray-tracing has failed to deliver admits Xbox boss
Phil Spencer has warned that 8K will not be the norm in the next gen and that ray-tracing support has so far been ‘spotty’.
Since there’s plenty that argue that 4K resolution is already a waste of resources when it comes to video games, many were rolling their eyes at the suggestion that next gen consoles would be chasing 8K as well and surprisingly Xbox boss Phil Spencer is one of those sceptics.
It’s not like 4K isn’t an improvement but the difference it makes with the size of a home TV, and the distance people sit from them, is often not marked enough to justify the high cost of a 4K TV or using up such a large percentage of a console’s processing power – and it’d be even worse with 8K.
‘I think 8K is aspirational technology,’ said Spencer in an interview with Wired. ‘The display capabilities of devices are not really there yet. I think we’re years away from 8K being – if it ever is -standard in video games.’
Instead, Spencer pointed towards 120Hz refresh rates as having a more tangible benefit and suggested that the Xbox Series X/S will ‘focus on CPU and frame rate’.
The Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 would struggle to run any game at native 8K, just as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 has struggled with native 4K (as opposed to upscaled 4K).
Although Spencer’s decision not to chase 8K is likely influenced by the fact that one of the major differences between the Xbox Series S and the Series X is that the cheaper console can’t display at native 4K.
Elsewhere in the interview, Spencer talked about ‘buzzword bingo’, a familiar concept for any new console launch, and agreed with the premise in a recent PC Game article that suggested, ‘ray-tracing has failed to deliver on its promise’.
‘When I think about games where ray-tracing has had a dramatic impact on my experience as a player’ said Spencer, ‘it’s kind of spotty.’
It’s an interesting change of direction for Spencer, who helped to push 4K as a major selling point of the Xbox One X, when he was certainly a more avid player of buzzword bingo himself.
In the same article though, Xbox engineer Liz Hamren also admits that only a relatively small percentage of gamers actually own a 4K TV, and that a vanishingly small number have 8K displays.
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