PS5 Architect Mark Cerny Surprised By Early Uses of Ray Tracing in Games

    Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect of the Sony PS4 and PS5 Consoles
    Mark Cerny, Lead System Architect of the Sony PS4 and PS5 Consoles

    The PS5 has only been out for 6 months now, but that doesn’t mean game developers haven’t already started to tap into the console’s hardware well, which generally takes more time for any console launch. One of the PS5’s key features is hardware-accelerated ray tracing and the console’s system architect Mark Cerny has been surprised by the number of games that have made use of the feature so well.

    In an interview with Wired, Cerny added the following regarding the use of ray tracing in early generation titles on PS5:

    “I thought ray tracing was something that would be used in second and third-generation titles. I thought that maybe an early title might show a little bit about the potential, and it would be one of those things where you’d be wondering, as somebody involved with the creation of the hardware, was this worthwhile to be put in, given the associated cost in silicon? And to have that question answered the very first time titles were shown in public was amazing.”

    Almost every game on the new console has included some form of ray tracing support, which isn’t just limited to pretty reflections. Insomniac Games is a great example, shipping one spectacular Spider-Man game as a launch exclusive, and releasing another one with Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart due out in June. These games have and are showing how the increased power of the PS5 is giving developers more freedom to craft better and more experiences at the same time.

    Uses of raytracing in PS5
    Uses of ray tracing in PS5

    As per the interview, Mark Cerny usually holds conversations with various game studios to get input on how they are using the console’s features, and which ones are being advocated for in the next hardware revision.

    “I actively seek out the people who will have strong opinions, who clearly lay out all the issues they’re having with the hardware so that we can get busy thinking about how we can address those in the future.” 

    Ray tracing made its (underwhelming) debut in video games back in 2018 when NVIDIA released its RTX 20 series graphics cards. While the then-newly released GPUs supported hardware RT, the performance was average at best with support in very few games. Game developers implement features for which a sizeable audience already exists, or at the very least shows a promised growth soon backed by data. That’s where consoles come in, which set the minimum standard that developers can work with. With the newly released PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, hardware ray tracing is now accessible to more gamers around the world, and it makes sense for developers to rapidly increase their investment into this feature.

    PlayStation Studios Logo Banner and IP (by u/grizmox5151 on Reddit)
    PlayStation Studios

    The PlayStation 5 has made making games easier for developers and has allowed Sony to rapidly increase its game development and output for the console. PlayStation Studios has over 25 titles already in various stages of development for the PS5.

    The PlayStation 5 is out now in India and worldwide, and while Sony has reported record-breaking sales figures, supply is still restricted thanks to a global chip shortage.

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