Xbox Boss Phil Spencer has been incredibly active recently on social media, which isn't necessarily out of the norm. Earlier today he opened up about building more on Microsoft's first party line up, and now he's talking about graphic progression in gaming and how far off is photorealism with the evolution of technology.
Up until recently, the PC platform has been the paramount of gaming. If you wanted the crispest graphics, you went PC. It was as simple as that. Now in a world of PlayStation 4 Pros and Xbox One X, that gap is quickly closing between platforms and the hyperfocus on 4K is a huge shadow cast over future titles. When Spencer started "fan boying" out about Red Dead Redemption and how it recently receive significant upgrades for the Xbox One X, this led to a discussion on what's next for hardware.
I'm always learning, it's key for me. I've learned a ton from the response to X from gamers and studios, trust me that this learning is impacting our future plans.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 12, 2018
In a future where you have so many big games that have huge playing communities behind them a future where you fragment that community via hardware feels like a challenge.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 12, 2018
Yea, 10 years is reasonable. There are scenes today where the average viewer would be hard pressed to differentiate. Animation and lighting are still ways off for real time realism in a scene in my view.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 12, 2018
The final comment closing off the above thread encapsulates our thoughts as well that the focus is a solid one to have for the next generation:
Yes lighting (shadowing), fps and animation are the keys to taking graphics to the next level. Provide those tools to developers and games will look amazing. Glad that’s what’s the focus for the next Xbox!— Crypt (@Crypt_Concepts) April 12, 2018
I will say that I am incredibly excited to see what's next. Looking over God of War footage and recently wrapping up Far Cry 5 where the graphics were nothing short of stunning, it's a long way from where I started my gaming journey during the era of 8-bit adventures. To go from "are those stairs, those look like stairs" to not being able to distinguish action gameplay from a cinematic sequence is thrilling. It's going to be an interesting ride to see what's next!