Here's a first look at the dazzling visuals coming to next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox

Ray Tracing demo (Luminous Productions, Square Enix)

Luminous Productions / Square Enix

The "Back Stage" demo from Luminous Productions offers a first look at next-generation graphics.

  • Next year, in 2020, new PlayStation and Xbox consoles are scheduled to launch: the PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's "Project Scarlett."
  • New console generations have lots of new bells and whistles, but one constant has always been major graphics improvements.
  • We've yet to see what the next PlayStation and Xbox are capable of, visually, but we just got a good look at next-gen visuals care of the Japanese game company that makes "Final Fantasy," Square Enix.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After nearly six years, both Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One are on the verge of being replaced. In 2020, the PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett are expected to launch.

We already know a little bit about both, but there's one huge detail we've yet to see: What will games look like on next-gen gaming platforms?Advertisement

Thanks to a new demo video from "Final Fantasy" publisher Square Enix, we just our first taste of what to expect in 2020 - take a look:

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The demo, named "Back Stage," comes from Square Enix's Luminous Productions — a subsidiary of Square Enix focused on creating a new, untitled project.

The demo, named "Back Stage," comes from Square Enix's Luminous Productions — a subsidiary of Square Enix focused on creating a new, untitled project.

The demo intends specifically to show off a new visual technique known as "Ray Tracing," which aims to re-create natural lighting more accurately.

The demo intends specifically to show off a new visual technique known as "Ray Tracing," which aims to re-create natural lighting more accurately.

The phrase "Ray Tracing" doesn't exactly spark joy. It sounds like jargon, and that's because it's totally jargon.

Here's a simple, logical explanation of the concept from my colleague Antonio Villas-Boas:

"It essentially simulates the path of light travelling from a light source in a game, like a light bulb, fire, or the sun, more accurately than conventional video game lighting. The result is more realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows in a video game."

Aha!

So, simply speaking, ray tracing makes representations of light in games — whether we're talking about shadows, reflections, light sourcing, or whatever else — look more accurate.

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Notably, the demo also highlights the overall horsepower increase with next-gen consoles that will enable high-fidelity visuals like those seen below:

Notably, the demo also highlights the overall horsepower increase with next-gen consoles that will enable high-fidelity visuals like those seen below:

Between the reflection from the mirror and the variance in lighting of the objects on the counter, it's clear that ray tracing has a massive impact on visuals. It remains to be seen how much of this technique can be applied across entire games, but we'll find out soon enough!

Between the reflection from the mirror and the variance in lighting of the objects on the counter, it's clear that ray tracing has a massive impact on visuals. It remains to be seen how much of this technique can be applied across entire games, but we'll find out soon enough!
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Check out the full demo video, named "Back Stage," right here: