Xbox One May Be Able to Use Ray-Tracing For Photorealisitc Visuals, Says Microsoft
As the 1080p debate between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 rages on, Microsoft clearly needs to divert attention somehow–and now it has. Microsoft Studios executive Phil Spencer replied to a recent tweet asking about ray-tracing, an advanced rendering technique, by saying that Microsoft has indeed considered the idea.
We've done experiments with Realtime Raytracing. A ton of potential with this tech; amazing visuals.
Now, whether or not "experiments" will ever translate into actual games is not yet known, but there's no doubt that ray-tracing is serious tech. It's a bit complex to try and explain here, so go ahead and watch Nvidea's demo instead.
The point is, ray-tracing allows for incredibly realistic visuals. Though the demo deals mainly in reflections and refractions of water and glass, it's likely the technique can be applied universally in a number of ways. After all, it does have "a ton of potential."
Despite its weaker hardware, the Xbox One may very well harness these techniques first, with Microsoft's cloud-power to back it up. On the other hand, Nvidia's demo is from May 2012–which, to me, suggests that more likely than not, PC games will be ray-tracing well before their console siblings can shake a stick at it.