Just last week, we were given a peek at Epic Games' Unreal Engine 5 demo on PS5 (opens in new tab) utilising the console's next-gen tech, and it looked fantastic (opens in new tab). But it did raise questions as to whether the demo could also run on the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab).
After some vague comments that only served to fuel the idea that either the console wasn't up to scratch, or that there was some kind of exclusivity deal with Sony, Epic co-founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney, has weighed in on Twitter to put the matter to rest once and for all.
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When initially asked about whether the demo could run on the Xbox Series X (via Kotaku (opens in new tab)) , a spokesperson said:
"UE5, with core technologies like Niagara VFX and Chaos physics and destruction—and the newly revealed Nanite virtualized geometry and Lumen dynamic global illumination—is also targeting Xbox Series X.”
When asked whether the demo was made specifically for Sony's console, and whether it was capable of running on Microsoft's, they added:
"We aren’t running it on XBSX.”
A spokesperson for Microsoft was also approached about the Unreal Engine 5's capabilities on the new Xbox, commenting:
"The fidelity seen in the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo is something that people can expect for next gen gaming across devices.
"Developers around the world, including the majority of our 15 Xbox Game Studios teams, are using Unreal Engine to build their future projects. We look forward to partnering with Epic and working closely with Unreal 5 across our development teams when it releases in 2021."
This did little to quash suspicions, especially as Epic's demo made no mention of the Xbox Series X at all, and the developers tactfully closed down any questions about comparisons between the two after the presentation.
But Tim Sweeney has confirmed that there's nothing in the pipeline with Sony, and that both consoles will run Unreal Engine 5 in all its glory.
Taking to Twitter (opens in new tab), Sweeney said:
"The Unreal Engine 5 demo on PlayStation 5 was the culmination of years of discussions between Sony and Epic on future graphics and storage architectures.
"The Nanite and Lumen tech powering it will be fully supported on both PS5 and Xbox Series X and will be awesome on both."
He added (opens in new tab) that it will also run on high end PCs, and has features for scaling down content for current-gen platforms using "using traditional rendering and lighting techniques," and that there's no "secret deal" (opens in new tab) between Epic and Sony.
Answering why Unreal Engine 5 was demoed on PS5 rather than PC, Sweeney explained (opens in new tab):
"Systems integration and whole-system performance. Bringing in data from high-bandwidth storage into video memory in its native format with hardware decompression is very efficient."
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So there you have it; when it comes to the PS5 and Xbox Series X, Unreal Engine 5 will look eye-poppingly stunning on both pieces of hardware.
With the tech potentially being on par, the deciding factor for consumers deciding on which next-gen platform to buy could lie with the exclusives each console bags. Microsoft is already off to a bad start with its Xbox Series X Gameplay event bombing with gamers (opens in new tab).
Sony has the chance to knock it out of the park now - especially if it combines its console reveal alongside its games lineup next month, as we've recently heard rumoured (opens in new tab). There's only a couple of weeks to go before the unveiling if they're to be believed, but based on the PS4 (opens in new tab)'s stellar collection of platform exclusive titles (opens in new tab), we'd be surprised if Sony's show is a dud.