Sony PS6, Microsoft neXtBox - 10th gen console speculation [2020]

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Megadrive1988, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. thicc_gaf

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    That certainly seems to open up the spectrum of where designs can go for 10th-gen, then x3. I still don't know if adding in NVRAM would complicate things that much; the way I was trying to present the NVRAM in that other example was just as a memory direct cache. The OS would handle the transfer of the data, so the NVRAM gets treated basically like a last-level cache. Exactly the same way Optane is on PCs today for applications operating with it in Memory Direct mode.

    In that setting it saves the developers a lot of code rewriting; in terms of bandwidth, I have thought of other figures where future NVRAM could go. You can already get around 40 GB/s in read speeds from Optane DC Persistent Memory on server systems, but you have to install cards into six DIMM slots for that. Which, obviously, sounds worst than going with actual DRAM where you'd only need maybe two slots of DDR4 to achieve that type of bandwidth if not more, but you're trading in some bandwidth for a big increase in capacity for this case, of byte-addressable memory. That's a different market segment sure, but just an illustration of where NVRAM bandwidth is already at currently, so it can improve even more in the future.

    But, if it's being used as a sort of memory-direct cache for moving data in and out of storage to/from RAM, going by some of your previous posts you would only need 12 GB/s - 16 GB/s SSDs to fill in a 32 GB capacity of RAM with lossless decompression; I'm just trying to envision a scenario where the NVRAM naturally provides that bandwidth without decompression being required, but you can still have the decompressor present for data coming from the SSD into the NVRAM. Maybe the could in fact make the NVRAM capacity larger but bandwidth more modest, that's why I threw out the 32 GB/s figure. Though, I guess for instances where one would like to direct CPU or audio to address that NVRAM cache directly (which you're right, would require specific code to do, though maybe not that much), they can increase the bandwidth by a factor of maybe 2x to 64 GB/s (by 10th-gen I think that should be easily doable for things like Optane, though whether there's a transition to something like using PCIe 6.0 with CXL for interfacing vs. DIMM slots, I don't know if or when that would happen).

    And it's another option for providing more memory bandwidth, too, while cutting down on some bus contention. That would essentially offer more effective bandwidth for the GPU since if the CPU or audio need to access some memory, they could address the NVRAM in parallel. You'd just need to ensure some type of cache coherent management. In any this case, just speculating on these possibilities is really exciting and these back-and-forths are always very helpful. I think, having had these ideas bounce around, I could see Sony taking something more tried-and-true that might not leverage NVRAM but goes for a decent sized pool of very fast unified memory and fast (but friendlier) SSD storage, a narrower processor offsetting raw TF computation with a bigger focus on dedicated hardware accelerators. And I honestly think they will try pushing VR as a default standard included in every PS6, by then the tech and prices should be advanced and manageable enough to do this, at least for a basic VR option as standard.

    Microsoft probably goes more open in terms of VR/AR, they partner with another company (Samsung, HTC most likely) and continue whatever VR initiative they start with the Series X and S (if or when that happens). They go further in on a PC-style design, incorporate a lot of new tech into a package OEMs would not be able to match for price-to-performance, finally unifying Xbox and PC in that regard. More raw TF computational power, but less a focus on dedicated hardware accelerators. They wouldn't have a hUMA design by default but basically leverage newer versions of SAM/BAR with further cache coherence to make up for that, and they offer a console and PC version of such a design with a staggered release between the two. NVRAM isn't a massive focus, but they provide support for the technology in their design through some sort of JEDEC-approved, industry-standard card form factor and interface through PCIe 5.0/6.0 with CXL integrated within, to facilitate use of byte-addressable, DRAM-class NVRAM without needing to use DIMM slots.

    I think that's the general direction Sony and Microsoft go for 10th-gen, so we might see systems even more different in quite a few ways than what we see between PS5 and Series X|S, fitting the business strategies of the respective companies.
     
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  2. rntongo

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    Yeah this back and forth is good. I think by the 10th gen an expansion slot similar to what Sony has in the PS5 will be the most economical option. A 2TB SSD and option to add another 2TB or 4TB or 8TB SSD. That would be sufficient to install as many games as possible. I also think it will be the last generation with discs. Games that are available on disc could ship with two discs in the case. Most likely they'll be marketed as 8K machines so It'll be interesting to see how the AI upscaling and decompression block work.
     
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  3. thicc_gaf

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    I won't be surprised if either Sony or Microsoft decide to skip disc support altogether for 10th gen tbh; they'll watch the trend for digital sales and then decide things from there. Microsoft is showing through Gamespot that there are ways to keep brick-and-mortar stores in the cut off digital sales, referrals, sign-ups for services etc.

    However, I think out of the two Sony might be the more eager to drop disc support by time for 10th gen; they might feel that their brand power can afford some leverage in doing so while brick-and-mortar stores still comply to carry the system because, well, it's PlayStation. But if they do so I'm sure that Sony will have to take some cues from Microsoft in keeping brick-and-mortar retailers in the cut still on the software front.
     
  4. rntongo

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    If anything I don't see Sony dropping disc support by 10th gen. They are the predominant global brand. So they'll be alienating parts of the world without good internet/expensive internet. But 10th gen is most likely the last one to support discs. So may people even by then will still not have access to good internet.
     
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  5. thicc_gaf

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    That's a good point; wonder if the could consider doing a disc drive peripheral then for those markets, especially if they introduce the system a bit later in those particular markets. It's not like UHD Blu-Rays are particularly high bandwidth; they could release a cheap add-on drive for like $30 - $50 globally and bundle it in with a price-reduced SKU in markets with bad/no internet.

    That way they still can save on BOM for the actual system and for those who really want or need discs, they can just buy the add-on or get an SKU with the add-on included. Just...make sure there's a decent form factor for the disc drive so it compliments the system well xD.
     
  6. DSoup

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    And as long as people are buying a significant number of discs, not including a drive hampers owners of PS6's ability to play some or all of their game collection. Before COVID-19 the number of digital/disc sales very slowly were reaching equilibrium and COVID-19 tipped that in favour of digital. Whether that regresses slightly once the world gets back to normal in 2022 we'll have to wait and see.
     
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  7. thicc_gaf

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    Yeah but the thing is they were reaching equilibrium pre-COVID with digital gaining and disc waning. So factors outside of the pandemic were already causing disc to lose ground, those factors will likely still be around once things get back to normalcy though maybe the transition to digital slows slightly. I can't see disc/physical media gaining back ground though.

    One of the reasons why is because, unlike cartridges or vinyl (for music records), there's nothing of an inherent quality with discs that isn't done better or equally well by digital. Cartridges have nigh-instant load times and are of archival quality in terms of data preservation; discs provide neither benefit. Vinyl has an analogue quality that certain audio purists prefer in hearing & making music that has small touches of texture and character to them that digital (or cheaper cassettes, or music CDs) can't quite replicate. Playing a game off of disc is no different than playing it digitally installed on storage, in fact the latter tends to be better especially with the new systems because of their SSDs.

    So really the only benefit of discs in relation to gaming now, is having a cheap means of packaging and delivering a bulk of digital content. Their purpose now is what they were becoming for PC gaming in the mid/late '00s. I've been thinking that by the time of 10th-gen, cheap microSD cards with ever 100 MB/s; 150 MB/s bandwidth can be had at bulk for prices as cheap or not much more than UHD Blu Ray discs, and you get a lot more data transfer bandwidth plus cheaper costs in reducing the amount of moving parts and not needing a Blu-Ray drive in the system.

    Those are the main reasons I can see the 10th-gen going discless, but not at the expense of going digital-only; they can simply provide physical delivery through really cheap microSD cards with 100 MB/s - 150 MB/s (maybe slightly more) bandwidth. You can have that data compressed and decompressed through the system as data copies to the internal SSD, so you don't even need particularly large capacity cards either, 64 GB or even 32 GB could be good enough for many games. If decompression tech advances with 10th-gen systems (for example, if Sony uses Oodle Mermaid instead of Kraken; Mermaid provides 2x decompression/compression ratio to Kraken IIRC) then that only makes this and even network download of game software more preferable vs. including a disc drive yet again.
     
  8. DSoup

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    Until disc sales are a tiny margin of the overall number of games sold the problem will remain. It's taken a long, long, long time for digital sales to reach parity with digital sales and I'm not seeing any reason why it will suddenly increase. Games on disc are still cheaper to buy here in the UK (because: retail competition) and can be loaned and sold which I'm sure are a part of why they remain popular.

    People who prefer disc games but could not get them but wanted games will have been forced to go digital. Those folks will likely return to physical games.
     
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  9. rntongo

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    You need to consider that there are a substantial amount of gamers outside the US, Japan and Western Europe who don't have access to cheap fast internet. Thats like the rest of the world. And this group will constitute the largest amount of gamers if they haven't yet. And physical discs still have some benefits such as easier to trade, cheaper to buy old games, etc. By the 11th gen I don't see discs being a thing anymore. But 10th gen definitely. You can see disc models are still the more in demand even in regions with fast internet access. IIRC Sony was restocking 75% disc models for the PS5. And the Series X is more expensive, has a disc drive and is still more in demand than the Series S. By the 10th gen it could be the case that the discless model outsells in the US, Japan and Western Europe but demand from the rest of the world will still necessitate a model with a disc drive. Your suggestion of a portable disc drive is plausible though. But i would gravitate towards a model with a disc drive more suited for the global market in the 10th gen.
     
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  10. JoeJ

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    Even if compression advances further (it has to), increasing details likely compensate your argument. I'm much more worried even 200 GB won't suffice anymore.
    When will we see the first 1TB game?
    And if it happens, how much of that will the average player consume? Not doing all the side quests, not visiting every inch in the wilderness. Hell, i've never seen one of those sex scenes on CDPR or BioWare games.
    So, maybe per player we only need to transfer 100GB of this 1TB.
    This makes a lot of sense. Instead Franchises, everlasting continuously growing games. With huge worlds, multiplayer and all this.
    At this point, discs are obsolete. Streaming is the only way, and i can only hope we won't loose consoles/PC in general as a platform.
     
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  11. dobwal

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    Sony doesn't care about global internet speeds. Thats not a proper metric when determining whether to ditch optical discs. All Sony has to do is look at the breadth of DD vs discs sales on its platform. This is a far better metric because it measures the behavior of actual Sony gamers. In other words, if everybody in the world had 1 TBps connections and petabyte data caps but PlayStation users still purchased 90% of games in a disc format, Sony wouldn't be motivated to remove the optical discs from the next PS console.

    The moment DD gets anywhere near 90-95% of full game sales, Sony will more than likely drop optical discs. At $10-$20 dollars cost and 100 million units, optical discs represent billions of dollars in component cost. Sony doesn't to want to incur those levels of costs to support a small fraction of gamers.
     
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  12. Silent_Buddha

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    The bigger question, I believe, is how much space will be required if the industry moves to procedural generation? Local drive space will likely continue to increase as procedural generation would store (cache) generated content, but distributed medium might see constant or decreased storage space.

    And there's also the potential for some developers to choose to leverage cloud support similar to Flight Simulator, but likely at a smaller scale.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  13. Sonic

    Sonic Senior Member
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    It ultimately depends on the ratio of disc to digital sales. If by the end of the generation we see a steady 30% still buying games on discs then there's good reason for Sony to continue offering disc based options in the future.

    And if digital only does become the norm in the future then the platform manufacturers should be forced to support every game released on them in perpetuity.
     
  14. eastmen

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    Didn't samsung stop making uhd bluray players ? I also think movie sales on disc are down also. So it will be a multitude of factors that remove optical from the equation.

    Then you have the size of bluray discs. I believe Triple BDXL is 100gigs and Quad is 128 ? I also believe the costs of discs go up with each layer.

    I also believe that a 16x drive tops out at 72MB/s

    I say it all the time but unless there is a meaningful update to optical discs in terms of storage (I'm thinking 100gig a layer or even 256 gig a layer) and speed increase we could see the perfered medium for games to be shipped on a simple micro or standard sd card.

    Microsd cards hit 120MB/s so almost double Bluray 16x and SD cards can hit 300MB/s for reads. Yes yes they are expensive but they come down in price every year and capacity and speed go up each year. The price can also just be added to the retail price of the game. If it costs $5 for a 256gig sd card for say Sony they can just charge $75 for the physical and $70 for the digital. The smaller the physical market becomes the less power they have anyway in dictating anything
     
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  15. Silent_Buddha

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    You don't even have to necessarily charge. Flash storage isn't ROM storage, they are reusable.

    Thinking about it, anyone who has bought an external drive for an XBS can just take their external NVME cart down to a storefront and directly load a game onto it.

    As both machines support USB. A customer could just take any USB storage device down to a store and load the install media onto it. Then plug that into the console and install the game. The console will verify ownership either online or through some sort of identification key.

    There really is little to no use for optical media or even physical distribution as it's been done in the past other than the used games market. Using any decent speed external USB drive would likely see similar wait times on launch day at a store compared to a standard physical distribution package (like an optical disk). Instead of waiting in line to checkout, you're waiting at a Kiosk while it loads your game onto your drive. This is, of course, assuming that you live in an area with either dog slow internet speeds or small internet bandwidth caps and thus can't download the game at home.

    Unlike a home, storefronts can locally store the installation files thus your transfer rates from kiosk to USB device would just be limited by the speed of the USB connection or your USB device. In the case of an external storage cart (like the XBS consoles), then you can potentially transfer at full NVME speeds.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  16. Sonic

    Sonic Senior Member
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    I'm not sure about Samsung making the drives any more. I agree with you that microsd or something similar would be a better option to have and would rather see games released in that than disc. So maybe we can get discless in the future but still have physical media for those that still use it. Good point I overlooked.
     
  17. JoeJ

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    Yeah, that's a good question. Personally i believe procedural will beat photogrammetry, both in quality and about costs.
    What is stopping you from adding one new 5x5 km patch of game to your MMO every day, then?
    If content creation becomes cheaper and better, it likely means not only higher quality, but also simply more content.
    This, and other features like social presence is the point when streaming will take over - just a matter of time until a new streaming platform comes up. The change seems too big for established, almost 'traditional' behemoths like MS and Sony (or Google, if they tried). It screams for something new. Give it a new name, face and brand, and it will be hip and work.

    ... but we will see at the end of the thread if my anxiety about a boxless future for games becomes true :)
     
  18. rntongo

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    But Sony cares about maintaining their global dominance. And I’d bet digital sales are primarily in regions with cheap fast internet. So disc sales are likely to remain from regions without good internet connections in addition to those that prefer discs in places with good internet. So whatever you said is true but is not mutually exclusive from internet access. There should be a positive correlation between higher digital sales and cheap fast internet. Similarly lower digital sales in areas around the globe without cheap fast internet connections. Eventually by the 11th gen this will likely not be the case and we’ll have the chance of discless consoles only or no consoles at all(cloud gaming) as cheap fast internet becomes prevalent all over the globe
     
  19. eastmen

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    That is also a possiblity. However I know a lot of people buying discs now are doing it as an archival way and in a collectors form. So I think for those people they would be willing to pay a bit more to get a SD card of a game with the box art or something. Maybe the same could be done with the external xbox drive , ahve it branded as the game purchased and have it come in a box for it ? But those are much more expensive than a simple sd card .
    I also think SD cards are a better choice than micro since those are more easily lost.

    If you look at some of the threads from before the current systems we all talked about this before (its like groundhogs day lol) and this idea of a kiosk came up where you bring the flash drive or hard drive and load the game. It could work. Something like gamestop could even have a machine behind the counter allowing for a bunch of transfers at once.

    I do think SD has other benefits like I've said in those threads but also 1) its small so you can still have small display cases taking up less room. 2) You can still put art work for each game on it vs a hard drive 3) you can have the original unaltered version of the game kept on the drive. 4) the room for a sd slot is many many times smaller than an optical drive. You can easily put in a 2 or 4 sd card reader and take up a fraction of the space of the optical and then gamers can still have some benefits of having it installed like not having to swap discs to prove you own it. At least up till the amount of slots you have


    https://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-to-stop-making-4k-blu-ray-players-report-says/

    according to this at least for the USA market Samsung stoped making both bluray and ultra hd bluray players for the us market in 2019. By the sounds of the article the last new models were the 2017 models from them. Also apparently Oppo stopped around then according to the article. LIke I said for the US market , dunno about other markets.

    And yea right now SD cards can go up to 300MB/s reads and 260MB/s writes so in reality you could transfer the game to an internal drive rather quickly .

    Assuming a 128gig game the limit of a bluray you'd be looking at 427 seconds for the SD card to transfer to the internal ssd or a little over 7 minutes . Bluray would be 1,778 seconds or almost half an hour of transfer..... shit did I do that math right ? Thats a crazy amount of time.


    To be honest , I got the bluray uhd lord of the rings and I love it. But I would love to see someone come out with a solid state movie format. Imagine making a high end format that used 1TB SD like format ? Heck SDUC supports 128TiB at 985MB/s . You could have some amazing image quality on that stuff.
     
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  20. dobwal

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    But Sony doesn’t need to track global internet speeds to maintain dominance. If the vast majority of PS gamers move to DD because it’s their preferred means of distribution, Sony is not going to incur $1-2 billion putting optical on a vast majority of its consoles to support just a small fraction of disc only users. Sony would end paying handsomely for a small increase in users.

    It’s the reason why Sony doesn’t waste resources are localizing its games for every major language. It’s an act of diminishing returns.

    Global internet speed is growing in leaps and bounds anyways. Only a handful of countries are below what the average speeds were 10 years ago in the US just before the 9th gen. And by the time the 10th gen is out the majority will have better speeds than what the US has now. Data caps will improve as well. There are a ton of things pushing increased speeds and caps other than gaming.
     
    #340 dobwal, Feb 28, 2021 at 3:42 AM
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021 at 3:48 AM
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