As we reported earlier this morning, two developers took to Twitter to say that the Xbox Series S would hold back the current games. After that, the tweets were deleted. The weak hardware of the small “potato console” is to blame for the fact that games are currently performing so poorly.
“The XSS holding back the PS5 & XSX? I can only laugh at that,” says Twitter & Co. in response from many gamers.
And yes, Gotham Knights is the hot topic and performance needs improvement. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, that poor performance on weaker hardware results in an even worse result.
Nevertheless, analyzes by Digital Foundry and more have shown that even expensive high-end PCs with graphics cards worth well over 1500 euros perform poorly with Gotham Knights or the new A Plague Tale: Requiem.
But if the Xbox Series S is really holding back the current generation of games, what about the “weak” graphics cards on the PC or the quite low-budget PCs that a large part of the PC gaming community has at home? The mainstream hasn’t shelled out $3,000 or more for their PC – and developers need to “tweak” their games for this mainstream PC clientele as well. The components couldn’t be more different here, because the graphics card, memory and much more can be individually adjusted.
And, if the Xbox Series S holds back Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 games, how come the Xbox Series S even outperforms the powerful consoles in some places?
Statements like “Even Nintendo Switch games have a better performance than the newly released Gotham Knights” are meanwhile spreading on Twitter & Co. and in the end should the Xbox Series S really be to blame? Really?
But now comes the bang! Isn’t even the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5 holding the Xbox Series S back? Nonsense of course! But gamers around the world are currently joking about the unqualified statements of some developers that the Xbox Series S is to blame for Gotham Knights delivering so badly.
But wait, as you can see from an analysis of Gotham Knights, even the Xbox Series S holds framerate better than the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X in some places. How can that be?
Gotham Knights…. Looks like PS5 and Xbox Series X both hold SERIES S back 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/TDQh6biXjT
— Marcin (@MarcinIsHere) October 20, 2022
In A Plague Tale: Requiem, the Xbox Series S also performs better in 120 Hz 40 FPS mode than the PlayStation 5 in direct comparison. Impossible right?
Also in A plaque tale requiem
Nerf that thing 😂 pic.twitter.com/pGOtGlvziz
— Alcatraz (@cy6rh) October 20, 2022
Of course, it must be noted that these examples are just snapshots taken with a magnifying glass and may appear at some points in the game, but if the thesis that the Xbox Series S would prevent other platforms or other hardware from performing better were correct, then this example shouldn’t even exist and the Xbox Series S shouldn’t perform any better! (came along?)
Gotham Knights can’t even keep up with the Batman game from 2015 in terms of the level of detail, as the analysis by Digital Foundry proves and clearly shows here:
And now the Xbox Series S should be to blame for that?
In addition, a number of games on the Xbox Series S run significantly better than Gotham Knights in direct comparison. The number of games running at 120fps on the Xbox Series S is three times that of the PlayStation 5 as of April 2021, and even Dying Light 2: Stay Human has managed to run at 60fps with a bit more optimization work .
And this is the real crux of the matter: The lack of time for optimization work!
And now to my comment: In the end it is not the hardware that is decisive for whether a game performs well or not, but rather the time for the optimization work that the developers invest or can invest in the “weaker” hardware.
While more and more platforms have to be served in order to achieve maximum profit, there is often not enough time to make dedicated adjustments and test the different situations extensively. The developers are already working under enormous time pressure anyway and if you read through the platforms and stores that games have to be released on these days, it is no wonder that almost every studio today has run out of time at the end of development and almost every title faces bugs, performance issues, and more upon release.
For the customer it then looks like that games are only thrown onto the market according to the motto: “It will run” – which is partly true – because only after the release do you take the time (or rather: the time remains ) for the further fine adjustments, the individual platforms – and especially the weaker hardware always needs a bit more attention to run better than more powerful hardware that simply swallows everything.
The truth is that developers have little to no time left for optimization!
There is a lack of staff, there is a lack of time, there is a lack of know-how and there are no optimized tools to test games extensively. But why should you put more work into a game than necessary when you can publish a game “unfinished” nowadays, get money for it and fix the bugs & performance problems later with one (or five) patch? Let the players test it!
If the five patches were developed in-house prior to release, games would be released with fewer bugs. But that time is long gone, because updates mean that games have to be continuously adapted and fed with new content anyway to keep players happy.
The early release also has an advantage: if the game flops completely, you have saved additional development costs of three to six months – that’s how things work. (also not always)
Or have you ever had the feeling that a game was launched three months (if not more) too early?
Certainly, this condition described does not affect all games and not all development environments. The developers, who certainly have an audience of millions, are usually allowed to take much more time and then – oh wonder – also deliver. Other games have to contend with special hurdles or the specially created engine doesn’t run as hoped. Studios are being restructured and much more. There is everything. There’s just a lot going on behind the scenes.
Nevertheless – new titles like Gotham Knights without a safe audience are a big risk. It has to be brought to the player and already during development! This is one of the reasons why the development department is always busy programming trailers, development diaries and gameplay videos. All just to “advertise” and arouse or maintain interest. But the resources could be used better. But who am I telling? The next skin is already waiting, but I’m drifting – I already am – sorry for that!
Digital Foundry’s Alexander Battaglia said in May that he’s heard from several developers that they feel the Series S is a bit annoying at times — not because of the CPU or GPU performance, but more because of the memory limitations. That’s right, the Xbox Series S sucks – this extra tweaking work sucks because it’s just more effort, more time to put in (which the developers don’t have). Not to mention that in June Microsoft released a new games dev kit, stating that the Xbox Series S will give developers hundreds of extra megabytes of storage.
In the end, however, these lame excuses rather annoy the gamer and the claim that his particular hardware, which has always worked (even in more demanding games), is suddenly to blame for the fact that game XY is not running smoothly, while hundreds of other games exist that make it better!
And the moral of this story? Give the developers more time for their work under proper conditions and let them optimize their games in peace so that such conditions stop in the future. Develop an optimized game first before the developers have to create DLC content, skins, and Battle Pass content before the actual game is even released.
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