PlayStation 4 vs. PC Unreal Engine 4 Showdown: Can Xbox 720, PS4 Compete?

By Jordan Mammo , Apr 03, 2013 02:35 PM EDT

When a brand new system like the PlayStation 4 (or Xbox 720, for that matter... whenever that shows up) is revealed, typically the first thing on anyone's mind is simple: How powerful is it? Can it compete with, or outdo, the high-end PCs that are already on the market?

With the PlayStation 4, as well as the Xbox 720, the question is even more apt than usual, since both next-gen systems are eschewing custom, specialized hardware in favor of more familiar PC technology. When Epic recently showed off its Elemental demo running on PS4 hardware, it looked like next-gen systems from Sony and Microsoft would easily be up to the task.

Over at Eurogamer, Richard Leadbetter wrote an in-depth comparison between the PS4 and PC versions of Unreal Engine 4's Elemental demo, and the takeaway was that while Sony's console (and presumably the Xbox 720) is definitely impressive, Epic did have to scale back some effects to get things running smoothly.

"On a technological level, it's clear that the more computationally expensive effects-work in the original PC version of the demo has been pared back - not surprising bearing in mind that the raw power of the GTX 680 is a significant leap beyond that offered by the new console generation," Leadbetter wrote.

"Cutbacks aside, the overall impression from the PlayStation 4 showing is positive — in terms of detail, physics and effects, Elemental on PS4 is still a very cool piece of work, and we expect Unreal Engine 4 to pick up on the new wave of consoles exactly where UE3 left off on PS3 and Xbox 360 — as the preferred middleware of choice for next-gen AAA games development."

You can read the rest of the analysis over at Eurogamer. Despite the fact that the PS4 isn't as powerful as Epic would like, it's still a very capable console. Chances are, the Xbox 720 will match up similarly.

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