This is about ten times longer than I originally intended. My bad.
...8bit, 16bit, 32bit, 64bit, 128bit, is the bulk of videogame console history so far.
Bus-width is a very important factor but hardly the determining one in terms of comparing power. Doubling the word size does not automatically make your entire system immediately twice as fast. It just doesn't work like that. For instance, the Game Gear and the original Game Boy both use an 8-bit processor. We all know the Game Gear was more powerful than the Game Boy. Another example: various registers within the Cell processor are 128-bit, 64-bit, and even 32-bit. Does that mean the system is on the same level as the PS2, which also uses a 128-bit processor?
Most of the "bit marketing" of the 90's was just because it was an easy way to indicate advancement. "Your machine is 16-bit, mine is 32-bit. Ha!". There's a reason its not really part of the marketing lingo anymore -- things aren't quite so simple these days.
Increased bandwidth and RAM will result in little to no loading times in open world games, they will be able to load in the BG as PC games do.
But the rumored specs don't correspond with top of the line gaming GPU's at all. (Not even close, actually). I already said it WILL be better, but a significant portion of that increase in power is probably going to be absorbed by going to a higher resolution (1080p).
John Carmack agrees:
It's obvious what you do if you got a title on this current generation; the next one you go ahead and you run a 1080p instead of 720i. If you're a 30 hertz game, you try to push up to 60. Actually, most games will run out of power on the new consoles even before they've added all those things onto that.
Annnnnd more RAM doesn't automatically decrease loading times. You still have to load crap into the RAM in the first place even if you have more of it. You might reduce the number of times you have to have a loading screen by being able to stick more into it ahead of time (and then creatively shuffling things around as the player moves through the world), but you're still going to have to do some loading at some point.
There will still be load times in Mass Effect 4. You can quote me on that. And a good portion of that advantage that PC has over consoles when it comes to load times is because loading from a hard-drive is faster than loading from a disc. Unless the next generation consoles require an install, that limitation probably isn't going anywhere.
Your suggestion that there is no room for further advancement is utter nonsense, there isn't a dead end in either the technology or the creativity, I haven't seen that in more than 20 years.
You're missing my point and creating a strawman argument in its place. I never said there's no room for advancement, I said the current specs being bandied around for the next generation of consoles won't give us much of an advancement over what we already have.
The bottom line is diminishing returns. In order to make a noticeable difference going forward, your game machine has to be significantly more powerful. We're no longer in the days of jumping from a SNES to an N64. These rumored specs don't point toward "super machines" capable of delivering that "oomph" over what the current generation already offers. They point toward machines that will deliver more or less the same experience at a higher resolution with a few added coats of polish.
Then there's Tessellation which is one of the biggest things that will effect graphics
The 360 already uses Tessellation (it's a built in feature of its GPU), though obviously not quite of the caliber that's available on today's best cards (and the rumored Xbox 720 GPU is not one of the best available cards). Not too many games take advantage of it, but one notable example is Halo Reach.
( Edited 27.01.2012 06:18 by Jacob4000 )