Using "film quality" assets, the PlayStation 5 is capable of building a world from millions and even billions of polygons.

A common benchmark in gaming history is console releases. What gaming system you remember most fondly says a lot about your age—did you play on an Atari, a Sega Genesis, a Nintendo 64? Did you grow up with a PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, or Nintendo Wii? Console generations define gaming by their features and how powerful their tech is. Though many enthusiasts just play games on powerful personal computers, the $120 billion dollar video game industry puts a lot of its might in selling ever-better gaming consoles.

Even now, the next generation of game systems marches towards release, and Fortnite developer Epic Games has given gamers a glimpse of the future with a tech demo. Behold!

PS5 Unreal Engine 5 Tech Demo courtesy of IGN.

A New Game Engine

In just a day, the above video reeled in over 4 million views. It's not a full game, it's a tech demo called "Lumen in the Land of Nanite" and it's meant to show off Unreal Engine 5. Making a video game takes a ton of work, so game developers build game engines—a framework that devs can build around that can be reused from game to game. Unreal Engine 5, set to release next year, is meant to be a "quantum leap" in game quality and "make developers’ lives easier and more productive", says Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

Unreal Engine 5
Unreal Engine 5 tech demo, courtesy Epic Games.

Unreal Engine 5 is meant to power graphics that are "on-par with movie CG and real life", according to a blog post by Epic Games. Do you think they achieved that in the demo?

An Impressive Test

They've shown off photorealistic caves, dynamic lighting, and incredible levels of detail even in a crumbling city. Their "Nanite" and "Lumens" systems, as they call their rendering and lighting tech, allows for “film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons"—and they ran it all on a PlayStation 5.

Though it's an optimized tech demo, gamers can trust this means forward progress for bigger, better, and more beautiful games.

Were you impressed by the graphics? How important is detail and photorealism in the games you play? Chime in with a comment!