Unreal Engine 5Source: Epic Games

What you need to know

  • Epic Games unveiled roughly 10 minutes of Unreal Engine 5 footage running on next-generation hardware.
  • The demo is meant to demonstrate two core features of Unreal Engine 5 called Lumen and Nanite.
  • Unreal Engine 5 supports next-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android.
  • Both Sony and Microsoft's consoles are still expected to hit store shelves this holiday season.

Geoff Keighley teased today's announcement as "one of the more important moments this summer," and he wasn't kidding. Epic Games gave us our first glimpse at Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) working its magic. The following footage showcases some technical demos running in real-time on PlayStation 5 (PS5) Since the Xbox Series X is around 2-3 teraflops more powerful than the PS5, we can probably expect better effects on Microsoft's machine.

The demo is meant to demonstrate two core features of UE5 known as Lumen and Nanite. Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes, according to Epic. Games Nanite is a virtualized micropolygon geometry that allows artists to create incredible geometric detail. Film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine, and it will just work.

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Unreal Engine powers a lot of your favorite games. Its latest iteration, Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), released back in 2014. With a new generation of consoles on the horizon, many were looking towards the inevitable UE5, which has likely been in the works for quite some time now. For reference, work on UE4 began in 2003.

UE5 will be available in preview in early 2021, with a full release slated for late 2021. It'll support next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Unreal Engine 5 is being designed with forward compatibility in mind, so projects created in UE4 can be moved to UE5 when ready.

Both Sony and Microsoft still aim to have their next-gen consoles out this holiday despite the current global pandemic. Price points of the PS5 and Xbox Series X remain unknown, but their specifications certainly don't sound cheap, indicating that we could be looking to spend upwards of $500 or more for each console. The Xbox Series X may cost more than the PS5 since it has a better CPU and GPU.

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