PlayStation 5 is easier to make games for, devs having issues on Xbox

Anonymous developers unanimously praise the PS5's uncomplicated and easy-to-use software tools, APIs, and dev architectures.

3 minutes & 21 seconds read time

Developers are once again praising the PS5's development architecture, saying it's extremely easy to transition between generations.

PlayStation 5 is easier to make games for, devs having issues on Xbox 4

Streamlining the transition from PS4 to PS5 is the most important thing Sony can do, and it actually solved that issue a while back. The PS5 has not only been built from the ground up to play, support, and boost PS4 games on a logical level, but it's x86 architecture is also extremely similar to the PS4's. This means devs can easily carry their PS4 games over to PS5 for cross-gen play and ramp up resolution and technical features accordingly. Cross-gen will remain extremely important until 2024, Sony says.

That's not it, though; devs who use engines built around the PS4 architecture can also scale those titles over to PS5 much more easily than before. This streamlining and efficiency is also made possible by upgrades in engine environments like Unreal Engine 5, which is being optimized specifically for next-gen consoles like the PS5.

Now more devs are expressing their love for the PS5's software architecture. According to Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter, nearly every developer he's spoken to is praising the PS5.

"Every single developer I've spoken to developing for PlayStation 5 has been evangelizing how easy it is to work for. It's essentially the same development environment as PlayStation 4 and you scale up from there for the new power, the features and whatnot," Leadbetter said in an interview at EGX.

"I can't stress enough how happy developers seem to be with this situation."

PlayStation 5 is easier to make games for, devs having issues on Xbox 34

Leadbetter also says that some Xbox devs are having issues with Microsoft's new General Development Kit (GDK) software, namely because it's spread across multiple platforms like PC, Xbox Series S/X, and the Xbox One family. This is something we've expressed concern with in the past, namely with Microsoft devs having to scale and optimize games across six different platforms in 2020: PC, Xbox One (2013), Xbox One S, Xbox One X, Xbox Series S, and the Xbox Series X.

"There's no doubt that on paper the Xbox Series X is more powerful," Leadbetter said.

"However, speaking to developers, the development environment they're dealing with...some people seem to be extremely happy with it, other people are having problems with it. Microsoft has moved away from what was previously the XDK, which was specific for Xbox, to the GDK, which is a more general development environment for PC, Xbox Series S/X, and Xbox One.

"The long-term win with the GDK is that you're going to be able to develop for and deploy for all of these different systems. But in the short-term, I have heard some developers having some problems with it, and whether all that is going to manifest in final games is the big question."

This is the fourth time we've heard from secondhand sources that developers are praising the PlayStation 5's console architecture.

First, in November 2019, Sony's Jim Ryan said devs are giving hugely positive feedback for the PS5's uncomplicated toolset.

"One thing that makes me particularly optimistic is, what we're hearing from developers and publishers, is the ease in which they are able to get code running on PlayStation 5 is way beyond any experience they've had on any other PlayStation platform."

Secondly, in December 2019, Sony exec Shuhei Yoshida said developers were smoothly transitioning from PS4 to PS5.

Third, in May 2020, anonymous developers told VentureBeat that the PS5 had the best architecture in gaming history.

Hopefully we'll hear more developers actually speak out about the PlayStation 5's architecture, but that kind of thing is usually kept behind closed doors. Mostly devs have focused on the PS5's ultra-fast 5.5GB/sec PCIe 4.0 SSD's capabilities and graphical effects like ray tracing.

The PlayStation 5 releases November 12, 2020 for $399 (digital-only) and $499 (disc-based).

Check below for a side-by-side comparison for the entire 9th console generation:

PlayStation 5 is easier to make games for, devs having issues on Xbox 5
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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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