Epic Games has now offered the clearest indication yet of which console it sways toward when it comes to getting the most out of its engine. And Xbox fanboys aren’t going to like it. | Source: Ascannio/Shutterstock.com

  • Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5 tech demo offered the first look at the potential of the next generation of consoles.
  • The company just revealed it rejigged elements of Unreal Engine 5 on the basis of the PS5’s ultra-fast SSD.
  • The engine has the potential to allow developers to craft experiences unique to the PS5.

There’s no doubt last month’s Epic Unreal Engine 5 demo – which ran on a PlayStation 5 (PS5) – delivered the next-gen vision. But it left lingering questions about what this means for competitor Microsoft and the Xbox Series X.

Epic was quick to strike a diplomatic note. Epic head Tim Sweeney explained that the tech underpinning the Lumen in the Land of Nanite demo would be supported on the Xbox Series X.

Tim Sweeney confirmed the Xbox Series X would benefit from the Unreal Engine 5’s next-gen tech. | Source: Twitter

Glaringly absent from the CEO’s reassurances was any mention of whether the Series X could churn out similarly breathtaking graphical fidelity. In tandem, Epic gushed on about the PS5, notably the SSD.

A month later, Epic Games has now offered the clearest indication yet of which console it sways toward when it comes to getting the most out of its engine.

And Xbox fanboys aren’t going to like it.

Engine Tweaks to Cater to Sony’s Console

Speaking to VG24/7 about the next-gen potential bundled into Unreal Engine 5, Epic Games VP of engineering Nick Penwarden touched once again on the capabilities of the PS5’s proprietary SSD.

According to Penwarden, the SSD’s ability to stream content at breakneck speeds led to Epic returning to the drawing board. The team rejigged elements of Unreal Engine 5 to make the most of the PS5’s dazzlingly fast transfer speeds.

Penwarden explains:

The PlayStation 5 provides a huge leap in both computing and graphics performance, but its storage architecture is also truly special. The ability to stream in content at extreme speeds enables developers to create denser and more detailed environments, changing how we think about streaming content. It’s so impactful that we’ve rewritten our core I/O subsystems for Unreal Engine with the PlayStation 5 in mind.

Next-Gen Experience Unique to the PS5

PS5 could benefit most from Unreal Engine 5. | Source: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

Reading between the lines: the engine has the potential for developers to craft experiences unique to the PS5.

Although the Xbox Series X trumps the PS5 on many fronts – notably its higher debate-stirring teraflop count – Epic appears convinced that the true generational leap lies in the PS5’s SSD.

It’s worth remembering that tech demos are stylized experiences. The visuals they showcase generally land quite far from the games players eventually get their hands on.

Nevertheless, should developers manage to feather the performance and detail of the tech demo, Epic’s words suggest there’s potential for the PS5 to benefit most from the engine’s tool kit.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

Last modified: June 3, 2020 7:49 PM UTC