the first multi-platform PlayStation Studios title tested •

the first multi-platform PlayStation Studios title tested •

“Sony Interactive Entertainment Presents”. We’ve all seen that splash screen, the white on black type change to a polished branding sequence, culminating in the familiar cross / square / triangle / circle iconography – but this time it doesn’t just show up on a PlayStation game is also happening on Xbox. All, in fact, from Xbox One to Xbox Series X. This is MLB The Show 21, the first cross-platform release from PlayStation Studios. I have played the game on three Xbox machines and two PlayStations and the results are fascinating.

We can only speculate on how we achieved this, but it is likely that Major League Baseball itself – the publisher – has chosen to move the franchise into the cross-platform arena. It’s also likely that this was the same company that brokered the deal to bring MLB The Show 21 to Game Pass on Day One, which not only makes this title an unlikely battle of consoles, but also a stark contrast in the Sony and Microsoft business models. opted for. From my perspective, MLB The Show 21 was available for download on any of my Microsoft consoles and it was right there as part of my subscription – a few button presses to download as I was good to go. Meanwhile, on the PlayStation side, I had to pay £ 75 for the cross-gen version of the game. Yes, remarkably, there is a £ 15 bonus for purchasing the SKU that grants access to the PS4 and PS5 of the game. In terms of value, Game Pass clearly comes out on top – especially when it comes to a cross-gen game with only relatively minor upgrades separating PS4 Pro and PlayStation 5.

MLB The Show 21 is a classic and modern sports game in many ways. It doesn’t present the kind of slick filmic appearance of today’s renderers – it aims for a crisp and flawless presentation, with highly detailed character models bathed in efficient and impressive post-processing. It’s in the cutscenes – or “presentations” as the game calls them. The actual gameplay is more spartan, but still quite impressive. PlayStation 5 and Series X render proceedings at a native resolution of 2160p and with the exception of a few very minor differences (a slight difference in the selection filtering? A strange rendering water bug in an X series scene ?), They are basically the same. For the Xbox Series S, the resolution drops to 1080p, and some textures have been shown to resolve at a lower level of detail. But like most modern sports titles, parity is key here in terms of the overall look of the game.

MLB The Show 21 tested on PS5 consoles, Xbox Series and latest generation “ 4K-Enhanced ” offerings – PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.

What’s curious is how the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X renderings stack up. They are very clearly cut from the same fabric as their more modern counterparts. By default, the resolution is lower (1440p out of the box) and some of the post-processing is not as precise. Performance isn’t that good, but it turns out that the improved latest-gen machines have something their next-gen counterparts don’t: selectable in-game resolution. Users can opt for 1080p, 1440p, or even 2160p. This is the kind of option that would have been nice to have on newer machines too, but which is mysteriously missing.

Performance? Well, let’s remember that this is a PlayStation Studios title and what is probably their first kick off at a cross-platform release. All versions operate with unlocked frame rate, capped only by v-sync at 60 fps. The actual in-game action runs almost locked at 60 fps on the PlayStation 5, and it’s pretty much the same on the X-Series – just a little less stable. However, it is in the cinematics of the games (or rather in the “ presentations ”) that San Diego Studio pushes the graphics much more. The frame rate loops on all machines and this is where we see the X series sometimes matches the PS5, but decreases more often – by a factor of around 9-11 fps. The S-series at 1080p works pretty much the same as the X-series, sometimes a bit smoother but more often 2-3 fps slower. So when it comes to new consoles, the overall pecking order is pretty clear and pretty predictable, I would say, when you look at a studio that’s first going from single format development to cross-platform.

It’s when we take a look at the improved last-gen machines that we see the inverted positions, but maybe the Xbox One X advantage you’d expect to see on PlayStation 4 Pro isn’t as pronounced as it looks like. you would expect given the spec differential. The visuals look almost identical and the resolution is 1440p in the balanced “ out of the box ” setting. Again, the differential can change based on content, but in more difficult “ presentations ” the Xbox One X runs around 5-7 fps faster than the PS4 Pro. The difference to newer consoles is that game segments consistently render below 60 fps. The mid-1950s play in the late 1940s with a clear advantage over Xbox One X. There is, however, a leveler available: the options allow you to lower the resolution to 1080p, which results in a very similar result to the Xbox Series S – and maybe even a little more consistent in the pitching and batting scenes. This is the closest you’ll get to a more consistent 60fps on these systems.

I can well believe that conspiracy theorists will be deep into pointing out the performance differences between PS5 and Xbox Series X which are somewhat at odds with the technical specs of the consoles, but the fact that the Xbox One X offers a smoother ride. that the PS4 We hope Pro points out that San Diego Studio has given the Xbox ports a big blow. Remember, its engine was developed on PlayStation hardware and when it comes to Series consoles, we’re still very early in the generation – and the dev tools are immature, especially on the Microsoft side. The PlayStation 5 supports the DualSense controller, which is unmatched on Xbox, while load times are faster: a game loaded in eight seconds on PS5 versus 12 seconds on Series X. Initial boot times are also very fast on PS5 but only incrementally faster on series consoles, when compared to the PS4 Pro. 3D Audio is also offered for PS5, but the game sounds great on all machines.

It’s a fascinating, if not too exciting, showdown when it comes to game code, but the battle for console business models is where the sparks really fly. I’m not a baseball fan, so I can’t really comment on the quality of the simulation, but obviously Game Pass will see the title more widely played – if you’ve got the sub, you don’t have to. to lose. sample it whether you are a die-hard sports fan or not. Microsoft is certainly marketing it heavily, awareness is high, and the novelty of playing a PlayStation game on an Xbox console will be convincing. Meanwhile, on the PlayStation side, it’s a full-priced game with arguably niche appeal – certainly outside of the US – and no real sampling mechanism. Charging £ 60 for the product certainly won’t convince those who aren’t deeply invested in the game to give it a try. Meanwhile, charging a premium for a PS4 / PS5 dual pack bothers me when it comes to the epitome of cross-platform development.

A PlayStation Studios game on a Microsoft console? It’s weird and odd, akin to the kind of logical paradox so beloved of Captain Kirk in his various attempts to stop megalomaniac supercomputers in the ’60s Star Trek. The way we got to this situation is probably due to a series of curious and unique events and maybe MLB will be one of a kind, but what I take away here is that it’s not really the specifications or technology that separate Sony and Microsoft. It’s business models and software and I’ll be fascinated to see how this generation evolves.

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