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Epic Games’ impressive Unreal 5 tech demo revealed earlier this week was running on a PS5 development kit. Whether it can also run on Xbox Series X remains a mystery.
“The demo we revealed [on Wednesday] is running on PS5 because that’s been our target platform for this particular experience,” a spokesperson for Epic told Kotaku in an email yesterday. “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 pressed about if the demo was designed specifically for PS5 and couldn’t run on Xbox Series X the spokesperson simply said, “We aren’t running it on XBSX.”
Microsoft has been similarly vague about specifics while clearly wanting people to expect similar performance from their next machine. “The fidelity seen in the Unreal Engine 5 tech demo is something that people can expect for next gen gaming across devices,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told Kotaku in an email. “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.”
Epic’s roughly seven minute tech demo called “Lumen in the Land of Nanite” showed a woman traversing ancient ruins full of detailed textures and complex lighting effects. At the very end she even takes flight, zooming through the air as rocks fall and towers crumble, showing just how quickly the world around her could be rendered. And all of it—which Epic says is playable—was captured from a PS5 development kit.
But at no point during the presentation or afterwards did Epic mention the other next-gen console coming this fall, Xbox Series X. When prompted to compare the PS5’s capabilities to Microsoft’s console during an interview with Geoff Keighly, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney demurred. “We love all our of our babies and we can’t make comparisons or pick favorites,” he said.
Epic is a third-party company that does business with Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and many more game creators, but their presumed platform agnosticism came off more partisan on Wednesday thanks to their decision to tie their new game engine demo with PlayStation. That decision has sparked valid questions about what the two upcoming rival PlayStation and Xbox consoles are capable of and has spurred a new round of ridiculous one-upmanship between fans of the two companies.