Could Next-Generation consoles use Nvidia, and still keep BC?

Remij

Veteran
If hobbyists couldn't get their Mantle translation layer to run on other vendors then there's no hope to achieve better results with modern console APIs ...
What if one of the companies had an advantage, such as being the developer of both the original API itself, and the translation layer... as well as the OS itself... and also has direct access to hardware vendors to help provide driver support?? Not to mention that company having VAST amounts money and an incentive to do it.

I'm sure there's more hope in a company like that, than hobbyists who have little control over any of those things.
 

Lurkmass

Regular
What if one of the companies had an advantage, such as being the developer of both the original API itself, and the translation layer... as well as the OS itself... and also has direct access to hardware vendors to help provide driver support?? Not to mention that company having VAST amounts money and an incentive to do it.

I'm sure there's more hope in a company like that, than hobbyists who have little control over any of those things.

Being the developer of the original API itself isn't all that helpful when it's designed around specific hardware. No matter who it is whether it is insiders or outsiders, both face the exact same challenges surrounding emulation and we're not just talking about any hobbyists here either since they managed to have an actual Mantle application up and running. They're very likely to be experts who were inspired by the work of professional Valve employees for their Direct3D translation layers ...

If console vendors truly wanted compatibility with other hardware vendors then maybe they shouldn't have toyed around console specific APIs and stuck to industry standard APIs instead. Better hardware can only afford you so much when there's a lot of mismatch between how different architectures work and maybe that's why modern console emulation is largely a failure since the developers behind them have irrational desires to abstract their solution over different hardware no matter how futile it is ...
 

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
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Their technical approach wasn't the major obstacle behind less than full library support. They required licensing approval from publishers & developers. Some of the publishers & developers providing that approval had legal issues or may no longer be in business.

And the issue of limited IP, licensing redistribution approval isn't one that will disappear. If a publisher has the rights to a IP (like Activision's old Spider-Man games) which then expire, they can't give approval to redistribute. That's a barrier to running games you game today on tomorrow's hardware. There were technical barriers in bringing some 360 games to Xbox One, in a 2017 interview with Giant Bomb, Phil Spencer said some games were "technically difficult".

This is why I raised this issue given the magic bullet terms of "Xbox backwards compatibility" and hypervisors being suggested. OG Xbox and 360 "backwards compatibility" on Xbox One is so good that people forget it's not backwards compatibility at all, what Microsoft are doing is making mini-ports of hundreds of games which carries with it legal issues and an ongoing resource commitment because this is not a quick process. Xbox One launched in November 2013 and the first batch (104 games) of 360 titles appeared in November 2015, with more a several hundred more games appearing over time.

Hypervisors, virtualisation and APIs are all implementations to help abstract code from hardware but they aren't magic. There are a small number of PS4 games that don't work on PS5 and that's an APU design where AMD built in hardware-level functionality to provide compatibility with the PS4/Pro chipset. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

OPs question is a technically interesting one.. :yep2:
 

AzBat

Agent of the Bat
Legend
You understand that I don't care about all your words right? You made a misrepresentation about the technical approach being attributed to the small library & corrected you on it. I'm done. Happy New Year!

Tommy McClain
 

Remij

Veteran
Phil Spencer seems to at least appreciate the importance of backwards compatibility, and just recently made a call on the industry to do more to ensure preservation of it's history.

I know that doesn't change the very real technical challenges that it presents, but to do what you can where you can is the most important thing.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
You understand that I don't care about all your words right? You made a misrepresentation about the technical approach being attributed to the small library & corrected you on it. I'm done. Happy New Year!

Huh? If you don't want ti discuss things why are you posting? Well done for ignoring the link to Phil Spencer's comments that demonstrate your correction is not accurate.

Also, Happy New Year.
 

Shifty Geezer

uber-Troll!
Moderator
Legend
The licensing logistics aren't really relevant for this discussion which is in the Tech forum and was notably opening with a technical consideration about hardware differences. It's only relevance here is if quantified to narrow down precedent on what proportion of the old libraries were not BC because of licensing versus due to technical issues.
 

BRiT

(>• •)>⌐■-■ (⌐■-■)
Moderator
Legend
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It's only relevance here is if quantified to narrow down precedent on what proportion of the old libraries were not BC because of licensing versus due to technical issues.

It was only brought up to refute what was said. Microsoft has said they had reached a wall with what the BC program can do because of IP and License restrictions when they released their last batch to the BC program. The technical issues they mentioned were related to not being able to support hardware like Kinect 360 or Kinect One hardware.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
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Supporter
The licensing logistics aren't really relevant for this discussion which is in the Tech forum and was notably opening with a technical consideration about hardware differences.

I would agree but as I asked back in post #3, there still needs to be some clarity on what is meant by "backwards compatibility". I think this was prompted any some posters suggesting the Xbox backwards compatibility as the solution, rather than the innate hardware compatibility of current generation PlayStation and Xbox consoles (and some previous Nintendo and Sony consoles) which run the original digital and disc-based games unchanged, i.e. pop in the disc and the game runs.

If the technique used by Microsoft to get OG Xbox games running on Xbox 360 and Xbox One (and Xbox 360 games on Xbox One) is valid, whilst you can state that licensing/IP aren't relevant to the technical discussion but it's not irrelevant to what games may might actually be playable on a future Xbox if Microsoft went with a Nvidia GPU. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

But the discussion cannot really progress without somebody with explicit knowledge of AMD-specific hardware or engineering approaches used in current games that Nvidia couldn't not implement in hardware, then there can be a discussion about what abstraction solution might work. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

Mobius1aic

Quo vadis?
Veteran
Re-tailoring software partially to work on a different given set of hardware is a definite advantage that's further helped by multicore processing. IDK the exactitudes of XB360 BC on the Xbones, but it's pretty safe to assume that each recompiled Xenon PPE thread could be mapped to an individual Jaguar core with plenty of CPU grunt left for inflight tasks. It assumes what-were VMX128 tasks don't oversaturate the much slower clocked SIMD system of Jaguar. I'm also interested in how Xenos' Vect4 + Scalar shaders were addressed moving onto GCN. Granted the original Xbone was 12 Compute Units and each CU has 4x 16-wide vector units meaning a convenient 48 total vector units but I'm not sure if they're super scalar a la Terascale........
 
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DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
Re-tailoring software partially to work on a different given set of hardware is a definite advantage that's further helped by multicore processing. IDK the exactitudes of XB360 BC on the Xbones, but it's pretty safe to assume that each recompiled Xenon PPE thread could be mapped to an individual Jaguar core with plenty of CPU grunt left for inflight tasks. It assumes what-were VMX128 tasks don't oversaturate the much slower clocked SIMD system of Jaguar. I'm also interested in how Xenos' Vect4 + Scalar shaders were addressed moving onto GCN. Granted the original Xbone was 12 Compute Units and each CU has 4x 16-wide vector units meaning a convenient 48 total vector units but I'm not sure if they're super scalar a la Terascale........
Yup, I 100% egree. If somebody (Microsoft) is willing to put the time and effort in to tweak older game builds to work better on new hardware/software environments then the results speak for themselves - i.e. just look at a bunch of a 360 games and how well they look and run on Xbox One/Series consoles.

And as say, there is a "but".. Some games will be left behind and you won't know today what will be lost tomorrow. It's a gamble. There is very clear pros. And some cons. :???:
 

invictis

Newcomer
Ok, so could it be as simple as this?
Every game on Xbox also is on PC. I am assuming that all those PC games would be already coded to work on Nvidia and Intel etc, so could the PC code just be downloaded onto the next xbox console that had a Nvidia GPU and even an Intel CPU?
Like, would that take much work?
 

BRiT

(>• •)>⌐■-■ (⌐■-■)
Moderator
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The overwhelming majority of new releases are on both PC and Xbox. I can't remember the last one that wasn't.

There's an entire library of Xbox One Games since 2013 that typically do not have PC versions. Sure, if you don't want to support that wide library you could just run the fraction of titles as PC. That is entirely counter to what Xbox gamers are accustomed to, having extensive library support going backwards and forwards.
 

see colon

All Ham & No Potatos
Veteran
Supporter
And the issue of limited IP, licensing redistribution approval isn't one that will disappear. If a publisher has the rights to a IP (like Activision's old Spider-Man games) which then expire, they can't give approval to redistribute. That's a barrier to running games you game today on tomorrow's hardware. There were technical barriers in bringing some 360 games to Xbox One, in a 2017 interview with Giant Bomb, Phil Spencer said some games were "technically difficult".

This is why I raised this issue given the magic bullet terms of "Xbox backwards compatibility" and hypervisors being suggested. OG Xbox and 360 "backwards compatibility" on Xbox One is so good that people forget it's not backwards compatibility at all, what Microsoft are doing is making mini-ports of hundreds of games which carries with it legal issues and an ongoing resource commitment because this is not a quick process. Xbox One launched in November 2013 and the first batch (104 games) of 360 titles appeared in November 2015, with more a several hundred more games appearing over time.

It was only brought up to refute what was said. Microsoft has said they had reached a wall with what the BC program can do because of IP and License restrictions when they released their last batch to the BC program. The technical issues they mentioned were related to not being able to support hardware like Kinect 360 or Kinect One hardware.
I think that contracts now include language needed to carry games to future hardware without needing to jump through licensing hoops. Microsoft saw the licensing issues when they started the BC program on Xbox One (for 360 and OG Xbox games) and changed things to include future hardware. There were leaks from the Apple/Epic legal battle a few months ago that had people freaking out that MS was forcing indie devs to support Xcloud or something, and I think that was part of the new language added. Because Microsoft is trying to push it's console into a software platform that isn't tied to a specific piece of hardware. Also, remember this?
Microsoft's newly announced next-generation console, Xbox Series X, had its formal unveiling during The Game Awards. As it turns out, the console's name is actually only "Xbox."
Well, if you license your software to play on "Xbox", and all your hardware from now on is called "Xbox", then you have the rights from the original contract and don't have to renegotiate.

As far as the original question regarding nVidia GPUs in the future, it could happen with a setup not dissimilar to modern laptops where you have an APU plus a dedicated GPU. In 5+ years, we will be at a point where the APUs in PS5/Series X are more in the lower end bracket of performance, so if a newer CPU design is coupled with an identical GPU for BC, and then a second, high performance GPU is available for new games. It would cost more, of course, but it is a technical reality.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
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Well, if you license your software to play on "Xbox", and all your hardware from now on is called "Xbox", then you have the rights from the original contract and don't have to renegotiate.
I'm not a lawyer but I think it's more nuanced than this. Licensing/IP can just expire, which we have seen this with some Grand Theft Auto games disappearing from Steam over time, then re-appearing.

So there are legal implications that can apply to new sales even when a game is not technically changing. I understand there are different laws in many countries where companies (like Microsoft, Sony, Apple - anybody that provides digital content) are making available digitally the exact same thing that somebody bought previously, even if it can no longer be sold to new customers. Where it may have gotten complicated is when Microsoft made new versions of older games for modern hardware.

I have no idea where the lines are drawn because it feels like this could impact patches and other updates - acknowledging that few games get years and years of updates so maybe expiring licensing/IP hasn't been that big an issue. But if this is the reason 75% of 360's library didn't make it to Xbox One then it's potentially quite a big issue, especially if a selling point is backwards compatibility and people do want to bring their old libraries forward. On PC you may be able to mod/hack old games to run on new hardware but that's not an option on consoles, hence Microsoft's implementation for Xbox was putting some real effort not only making those games run, but run as well as possible.

Legislation in most countries hasn't even caught up with modern digital 'ownership' and the whole backwards compatibility issue feels even more complex.
 

eastmen

Legend
Supporter
It was only brought up to refute what was said. Microsoft has said they had reached a wall with what the BC program can do because of IP and License restrictions when they released their last batch to the BC program. The technical issues they mentioned were related to not being able to support hardware like Kinect 360 or Kinect One hardware.

certainly in terms of other games coming but I think with each console generation you will see more features come to the older games. Higher frame rates , resolutions and so on and so forth will happen on the microsoft side.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
Legend
Supporter
certainly in terms of other games coming but I think with each console generation you will see more features come to the older games. Higher frame rates , resolutions and so on and so forth will happen on the microsoft side.
After last generation with mid-generation consoles, and this generation, games should definitely be more adaptable to increasing future hardware capabilities, but what other features can you expect to see on next gen consoles that don't exist on Series X?

Excepting things that scale easily, games do need to be feature aware. Look at something really simple like the Dual Sense controller. You can't magically insert support those features even when running PS4 Pro games on PS5. The games have to have support for the concept of those things.
 

Mobius1aic

Quo vadis?
Veteran
Yup, I 100% egree. If somebody (Microsoft) is willing to put the time and effort in to tweak older game builds to work better on new hardware/software environments then the results speak for themselves - i.e. just look at a bunch of a 360 games and how well they look and run on Xbox One/Series consoles.

And as say, there is a "but".. Some games will be left behind and you won't know today what will be lost tomorrow. It's a gamble. There is very clear pros. And some cons. :???:

The pro is goodwill to the long established user base and future sales oppurtunities.
 
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