Unreal Engine 5 footage ran at 1440p 30 FPS on PS5, featured no ray tracing

Unreal Engine 5
Unreal Engine 5 (Image credit: Epic Games )

What you need to know

  • Today, Epic Games revealed Unreal Engine 5 for next-generation consoles and other devices.
  • The demo showcased stunning gameplay.
  • The resolution was "1440p most of the time."
  • The PlayStation 5 may be able to output at a higher resolution consistently even with advanced effects.

Today, we got our first look at Unreal Engine 5 running on PlayStation 5 (PS5). The demo looks like it only supported 30 frames per second (FPS), featured no ray-tracing support, and rendered at "1440p most of the time."

Eurogamer did an in-depth analysis of the footage and even interviewed Epic Games developers. Vice President of Engineering, Nick Penwarden, said the following.

Interestingly, it does work very well with our dynamic resolution technique as well. So, when GPU load gets high we can lower the screen resolution a bit, and then we can adapt to that. In the demo, we actually did use dynamic resolution, although it ends up rendering at about 1440p most of the time.

The outlet confirmed that ray tracing wasn't part of the PS5 demo. You can read the quote from the end of the piece below.

Hardware accelerated ray tracing will be supported in Unreal Engine 5, for example, but it's not a part of the PS5 tech demo revealed today.

It'll be interesting to see how the Xbox Series X handles Unreal Engine 5, but we're expecting better results than 1440p since Microsoft's console has a 2-3 teraflops advantage over the PS5. However, it's unclear if there's going to be an advantage. While the visuals are spectacular, it would've been nice to see 4K resolution and 60 FPS.

What did you think of the demo? Do you want 60 FPS to be standard? Let us know.

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

33 Comments
  • I have been saying all along to people the PS5 will seriously struggle in Ray Tracing specifically. Especially with that low CU count. Ray tracing is tied to CU count. Via AMDs TMU ray tracing solution. 4x TMUs to every CU. Could WC confirm something. I seem to remember reading confirmation that The Initiative, Playground Games, Ninja Theory are all making their next Gen games on Unreal Engine. Can you check that Windows Central. Can't wait to see Series X use this. With full Ray Tracing etc. 1440p for PS5 is really poor. Why is it so low, this early on without Ray Tracing?
  • You're fooling yourself if you think this won't run at a similar performance on the Series X. We haven't seen any next gen games with ray tracing yet, there won't be a big difference between the two consoles.
  • That's what they said about the PS4 Pro vs. the Xbox OneX too. Look what happened there. This is seems like more Sony FUD to cover up the fact that they made some hardware mistakes (again) and will struggle to run at 60 fps w/Ray-Tracing due to it. Unreal needs PS5 developers to use the new version, so they dumbed-down the demo to look as good as it could on the hardware (admittedly, pre-production PS5 hardware, so it may end up better when it ships, but who knows.)
  • If I'm not mistaken, a devkit would be more powerful than the production hardware, wouldn't it? It's barely relevant, as this was a vertical slice tech demo designed to present the absolute best case level of detail, and almost certainly wouldn't be viable for a full game any time soon.
  • Devkits are by default more powerful for development sake. That tech demo wasn't running on a devkit but on a spec'd PS5 (as per Twitter) that will likely end up being the console. And not to forget that the PS5 is a variable console, so it never runs at full 10TF boost mode constantly. The tech demo showed what the PS5 can do at peak but is likely not something we will see in alot of UE5 PS5 games.
  • You realize Hellblade 2 is using Unreal Engine right? And that the reveal of Hellblade was all realtime rendered as confirmed by MS and Ninja Theory. I'd say Senua character model, water, environments all look vastly superior than the PS5 demo. https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/senua-s-saga-hellblade-ii-highli...
  • This is a pretty bad article about what was shown. The resolution is not 4K due to them using 8K assets meant for movies as well as the scope of everything else.
  • Wrong. The whole point of their tech is that it automatically scales 8K assets to whatever resolution the HARDWARE can handle and keep a decent frame rate. In this case 1440p@30 FPS. Either their auto-scaling has a HUGE overhead (likely since it's new) or the PS5 hardware has real issues (also a possibility.)
  • Film doesn't use "4K" or "8K" assets. That's game marketing jargon.
  • It doesn't have Ray Tracing because this is specifically a tech demo for a technology that can be used in place of Ray Tracing, or to complement it for scalability. Regardless of what system they had run this demo on, it wouldn't have included RT becuase it would entirely defeat the purpose of the presentation. Technically the res and frame rate are irrelevant also (so long as it's smooth), but it would have been nice to have it running in 4K.
  • My main concern is I don't want 30 FPS games anymore running at 1440p. This is what we got with PlayStation 4 Pro. I want 60 FPS to be the standard. It seems like we won't be rid of 30 FPS games ever at this rate given how prominently Epic Games features 1440p 30 FPS gameplay and discussed it on Eurogamer.
  • AC: Valhalla has confirmed we won't be rid of 30 fps. Obviously I'd rather have a higher framerate, but I trust developers to utilize the power of these console how they see fit.
  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla uses the last-generation engine that's been optimized for 30 FPS. It's even 30 FPS on Google Stadia. I don't think that's an indicator, but more of an exception.
  • When you have a mass-market product like a video game on multiple platforms, you optimize for the biggest market share, not the most powerful hardware.
    In this case, that means optimize for PS4 at 30 FPS.
    Since its difficult to allow higher frame rates and maintain stability, you lock the FPS at the rate you KNOW you can hit on the biggest sales target so you don't disappoint them.
  • Wrong.. AC games on high end PC's even run like hot garbage.. Ubisoft lacks optimizing skills, reason enough for them to claim that the worlds of AC games can only be handled at 30. Has zero to do with Market share. Valhalla still running an old engine is EXACTLY showing why ubi fails at optimizing for the new consoles with nearly double the power and PCs like they never did.
  • Wrong
    running odyssey 4k/60+ on my high end pc
  • 30 fps is fine by me.. but wouldn't get a Playstation regardless.
  • I want the standard to be what the developer feels is best for their game with the features they need to implement to make the game great. Some arbitrary framerate does nothing but guarantees a tradeoff somewhere that may or may not make sense.
  • But wait...the SSD and 3D audio in the PS5 is supposed to make up for the lack of power difference between the Xbox and PS5! Isn't it???
  • I think we always knew that was nonsense. Even a Digital Foundry staffer debunked that on ResetEra.
  • Of course it is. We all know this here...but little Jimmy's Grandma or little Susie's Mom won't know the difference. They will be sold on it by the goons at GameStop...that is if GameStop is still around then...
  • I'd agree, but I also reckon that both will be close enough that 80% of gamers won't mind.
  • Epic have literally said that they can do this BECAUSE of the SSD in the next gen consoles.
  • I guess PS5 will be lucky to stay at 1080p at 30 FPS with ray tracing for Unreal Engine . . . I mean ray tracing takes a lot of processing power and can only cause a reduction to the resolution and/or FPS.
  • Let face it, they have to get better than 1440p 30 FPS with almost all new games or they give no one reason to buy the next generation of consoles. So far, Xbox Series X shows it can and PS5 didn't with that demo. That will have to change for PS5 or they will be destroyed by Xbox Series X!
  • Both levels of tech shown in the demo are incredible and basically make the job if developers much easier as it takes away some of the extra work they have to do to get games looking good. I'm digging it.
  • I must be the only one that didn't like the way the shadows moved... Awesome lighting, but I found that the way the major shadows left in high light scenes to look wrong.
  • Where are you guys getting 30FPS? You cited a Eurogamer article, but that article doesn't mention framerate. I'm just curious where that number is coming from.
  • According to Epic high speed SSD actually has a lot to do with achieving that. "I couldn't get any exact specifications from Epic, but on a conference call earlier this week I asked how an RTX 2070 Super would handle the demo, and Epic Games chief technical officer Kim Libreri said that it should be able to get "pretty good" performance. But aside from a fancy GPU, you'll need some fast storage if you want to see the level of detail shown in the demo video. Sony was heckled a bit for its focus on the PlayStation 5's storage speed, and if all you're imagining is loading screens disappearing more quickly, it does seem like an odd focus. But it's about moving beyond loading screens entirely, to the point where "you can bring in [the demo's] geometry and display it despite it not all fitting in memory," says Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. In other words, the storage needs to be fast enough to keep up with the player, allowing the game to seamlessly increase the complexity of distant objects as they get closer without 'popping in' more detailed models—something we've gotten used to seeing."
  • As I and many others have stated over and over again. Assest streaming. He's referring to Assest steaming. Epic have said any current PC SSD can do the demo. An HDD won't. But any SSD currently on PC will achieve the LOD. The GPU still renders the scene. Which is why it's topping out in the demo at 1440p. And as PS5 uses a form of AMD smarts gift via thermal balancing, the CPU is likely throttled back, while the GPU is maxxed at 10.2tflops. Which is why your seeing 30fps. People did try and explain these issues, but some people honestly thought the SSD would magically not make this happen. I feel after witnessing this demo and hearing from Epic that Sony went to far with the SSD. They could have had Series X speeds on the SSD and put more money and R&D into its CPU, GPU and Memory bandwidth. The Ray Tracing has taken a hit to on PS5 as its tied to CU count. Around 40% less Ray Tracing power. So what we actually have ended up with is a demo showing dynamic lighting. Why did both Epic and Sony choose to show a mildly new form of dynamic lighting? When say MS showed full path Ray Tracing ( which looked so much better and more natural, including Colour bleed). MS have confirmed today, that the majority of Xbox game studios ganes are being made with Unreal Engine. Hellblade 2 being 1 of them. Now Epic have said that was actually rendered in realtime on its reveal. Now that looked vastly superior to that PS5 demo. Yes, sure it wasn't physically a character being controlled. But really look what the PS5 demo showed. A character moving through the environment. No particle effects. No enemies whatsoever. In fact not a. Single moving object in the whol world. Apart frol the occasional bats. They also showed some procedural destruction. Which we have already seen before. It looked awesome. But it was hardly gameplay. And had next to nothing really going on. Even the statues were 100% still the entire demo. What would happen to the GPU, resolution, Framerate if you added into the demo 20 enemeie all attacking you with 20 other animations to calculate, particle effects spewing out everywhere. Or add in volumetric fog to the seen. That hits GPU particularly hard. It was a very clever demo with fixed geometry. Notice there wasn't any Foliage in the whole demo?? Foliage is also much more costly to your GPU than rock or buildings. People actually need to keep in check exactly what was seen. I fully expect PS5 to struggle based on all the features missing from the demo I listed above, and only hitting 1440p and 30fps without any of those things in it. As I said, I think this is a direct result of Sony concentrating way to money in the SSD. And you will find the CPU/GPU set up will bottleneck the system greatly. As will thr memory bandwidth. It doesn't matter how fast the SSD is. It still has to load all assets through the Memory, and CPU/GPU. There is 0 reason why the first look at PS5 is 1440p at 30fps. Without a ton of visual features known to be taxing to GPU even in the demo. It's a very very cleverly designed demo.
  • Yeah, I will admit, I was wrong about the benefits of an SSD. Regarding everything you mentioned that is missing, this was not a game demonstration, it was a demonstration of two specific graphical effects. That's it. They showed off exactly what they intended to show off. As an aside, it's blatantly obvious why Epic showed off a new form of dynamic lighting that doesn't require ray tracing to achieve, so Switch developers will use their new engine instead of just sticking with the old one. The other feature was something that significantly reduces the work of programmers working with geometry and level of detail. It's almost as if this demo was aimed at selling an engine rather than selling a console or a game.
  • Yeah I totally agree. I think it's still a huge step up from this Gen. Like huge. I just think it's worth noting that even in this demonstration environment they didn't make sure it was at least 4K native at 30fps. My worry is if it's like this in the demo showing off 2 particular things. Without all the other stuff added. How much will they have to dial what we see in this demo back for an actual PS5 game using Unreal Engine 5? Say something like a forest. Which is much harder to render than rocks and buildings. How low will the Res go in a scenario say Elder Scrolls 6 with sweeping forests and mountains etc. With weather effects on, low lying fog etc. I actually think this demo to people in the know about what taxes GPU the most, is quite telling. That's not to say you don't know. It's just the absolute easiest geometry to render is used in the video. I honestly believe Sony should have used an SSD at half the speed they are. And save the cost and cooling on that for use elsewhere in the system.
  • I went to the site and signed in just to add my appreciation of your comments. They are unbelievably valuable to someone like me, who did not take it into account - until now :)