PS4 and Xbox 720 Could Offer Tons of RAM for Multi-Tasking
If reports are anything to go by, Microsoft and Sony are ramping up their next-gen consoles' RAM so they can multi-task.
One of the big revelations when the Wii U's launch's was announced last month was the fact that the upcoming console will have 2GB of on-board RAM, While that number isn't really that big, the fact that Nintendo is allocating 1GB for MiiVerse use and the other for its Operating System (OS) is quite noteworthy.
If there's one thing PC gamers have over its console counterparts, it's that they can "multi-task" while playing. Something consoles today can't do due to their limited RAM capacity.
However, if this report from GamesIndustry is to be believed, those are about to change once the Xbox 720 and PS4 comes around. According to "sources" who worked directly on major first-party Microsoft games, the new "Durango" will have its OS RAM size ramped up dramatically.
Based on this information, the next-gen Xbox could feature 8GB of memory in total, with up to 2GB reserved for OS functions - a phenomenal figure when compared, say, to the 1GB total found in the iPhone 5. Microsoft's vision for the next-gen OS is ambitious in scope: both the leaked Xbox 720 discussion document and the firm's own 2010 patent applications suggest that the OS - or "platform" as it is described - have dedicated CPU and GPU components, separate and distinct from the resources available to developers, who only have direct access the "application" areas of the hardware.
In addition to that, the patent application in itself is an in-depth filing on how Microsoft's engineers will use two architecures in a single box so that it can multi-task without losing quality. Yes, it seems the report indicate that the next Xbox (and we presume the PS4), will run "OS-level" apps and games at the same time.
For PC gamers, this is nothing new, of course. Even now you can have your web browser -- or other apps -- running simultaneously while you're playing a game. Although if and when users do that, whatever app is running on the background will affect the game in some way due to the shared RAM. The report adds, "In a console environment where developers rely upon a fixed architecture with known performance levels, the notion of apps interfering with the operation of gameplay simply wouldn't work. It's for exactly this reason that the examples we've seen of OS functions on Vita and Wii U require the game to be paused first."
However, based on the Xbox 720 mega-leak, it shows that "examples shown on a basic level in the 720 leak include customised ticker-tape feeds that could be superimposed onto the screen, presumably encompassing social media feeds," which opens up the door on a lot of things.
Keep in mind that though that this is all conjecture at this point. But seeing as how much Sony and Microsoft wants to own your entire living room and not just your gaming space, it's one that's highly probable to happen.
Would you want our next-gen consoles to mimic that of a PC with its multi-tasking abilities or would you rather they concentrate on just making it a solid videogame system and leave the other stuff to dedicated devices?