Technology and gaming have always evolved together since the very dawn of time. So with the announcement of the specs for both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the gaming world is buzzing about what these systems might be able to pull off. The extra power and new technologies surrounding both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will undoubtedly push the gaming scene forward to a new level.
Let’s see what possibilities the next generation of consoles might bring and what the Fighting Game Community (FGC) hopes to see from them.
Next Gen Hardware
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will both have very powerful components. They’re both touting an AMD Ryzen Zen 2 CPU, AMD GPU, and SSD Hard drive. They will also support 8K video output with a max frame rate of 120fps.
For the non-technical people the comparison is easier seen by this demo of Spider-Man PS4. The PS5 can load a Spider-Man stage 10x faster at 0.8 seconds while the PS4 does it in a full 8 seconds.
Sony’s official video comparing performance of PS4 Pro vs next-gen PlayStation pic.twitter.com/2eUROxKFLq
— Takashi Mochizuki (@mochi_wsj) May 21, 2019
What do we want in the FGC with all this power and speed? Faster matchmaking according to Maximilian1. The one thing we want to get to is the fighting and if we can get there without having to “get ready for the next battle” then that is a big plus. Although the extra power and speed will allow for great graphical improvements, the graphics typically take a backseat (as long as they’re decent) over the game play. In fact, players would rather optimize for performance by picking a bland training stage over having beautiful backdrops. The extra processing power could go toward loading assets fast and anything else that can reduce wait time between matches.
The prominence of streaming in gaming puts an impetus on the next gen consoles to accommodate streamers. Offcast2 suggests a few features that could be added to aid streamers at home and at esports events. Having multiple video outputs would easily let someone capture video for a streaming device and show the screen to players. Multiple audio outputs would allow for easier headset setups for multiple competitors. Having an SD card slot built into the machine could allow for recording matches at events that aren’t captured on a live stream.
The capability of having machines connect and interact with each other has revolutionized our tech. But consoles haven’t really progressed further than connecting a controller to the console wirelessly and playing laggy matches.
Netcode is a very hot topic in the FGC in 2019. Sajam released a few videos3,4 that have started a crusade to standardize rollback netcode for all fighting games. He rightfully questions, “Why can I play [any other genre of game] and I don’t have any of these issues, I queue up for a match I find a match, I play online and everything is fine?” It is absurd to think that the primary mode of a game ranges from lackluster to unplayable. Although it does take more work to implement rollback netcode, the FGC has the right to demand a better product.
To understand more about how rollback netcode works, Infilament’s netcode guide should help.
Sony CEO, Jim Ryan, says that crossplay will be a big focus for the upcoming console generation5. This would be a big boon for the FGC to increase the potential player base for the scene. The announcement of Street Fighter V being exclusive for PS4 set it as the must-have console for the FGC. But with crossplay, Xbox and possibly Nintendo system owners will be able to try out more fighting games without having to buy a whole new system. The accessibility of being able to play on any platform will create a bigger pool of players which in turn helps to sustain and increase the game’s lifespan.
Offcast has some great suggestions for how NFC (Near Field Communication) and NDI (Network Device Interface) tech can be used for esports events. NFC is the technology that allows you to swipe your device to pay for something. NFC could allow players to load their player profiles in a tournament setting with name, custom skins, button layouts, and stat tracking. NDI technology allows machines to talk to each other and it could be used to great effect for tournament streamers. If the connection is strong enough, it may be able to allow streamers to view to another high profile match in pools during any downtime on the main stage.
Esports Event Features
Esports has grown to be bigger than it was expected to be when the PS4 and Xbox 1 first launched. With the next gen still under development, this is Sony and Microsoft’s chance to be the choice system to use at esports events.
The biggest thing the manufacturers can do is to create an event mode. Offcast has suggested some features that can make things easier for competitors.
- Buttons on the console are locked to prevent accidental power offs and disk ejection
- Better controller logistics with only active profiles controllers working
- Disabling trophy notifications
- Disabling HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection)
- The option to set a standard resolution when changing video outputs
- Stat tracking using NFC or other easy methods
Offcast has also suggested some great ideas that can help tournament organizers as well. Tournament bracket runners can have an app that is integrated on consoles to have automatic result reporting or show which players are up next for a match. He also suggested that tournament organizers could possibly get contracts with manufacturers to get discounts on bulk orders of consoles.
There’s no doubt that the power and speed of the next gen will help greatly with amazing graphics and speedy load times. But the features and possibilities we dream of can help shape the future of esports and the fighting games we love so much. So dream big and let it be known because someday we all might just see it come true.
Choysauce plays as many fighting games as possible and writes about how to play them. He also helps with management for toptier.gg. Catch him on Twitter @choysauce85.