A recently-published patent by PlayStation architect Mark Cerny suggests that Sony Interactive Entertainment is looking to “accelerate” ray tracing performance in video games. The patent, which was originally filed in August 2021 and published last week, was found by a Twitter user and reported by Video Games Chronicle as a PlayStation 5 patent. However, Digital Foundry disputes this, and believes that the filing describes hardware that isn’t currently in the PS5. Nevertheless, Sony’s looking to improve how ray tracing works on PlayStation platforms in the future.
What the patent says about PlayStation ray tracing
The patent is for a method for graphics processing that “includes executing, on a graphics processing unit (GPU), a shader program that performs ray tracing of a 3D environment represented by an acceleration structure.” It involves “using a hardware-implemented ray tracing unit (RTU) within the GPU that traverses the acceleration structure at the request of the shader program, and using at the shader program, results of the acceleration structure traversal.”
There’s understandably a lot of technical jargon in the filing, but the gist of it is that Sony believes its new method will “significantly” improve ray tracing speed as “the shader program is only performing hit testing.” “It is not performing acceleration structure traversal or managing the corresponding stack,” the filing concludes.
Opinion: PS5 Pro or no?
Zarmena writes… Since a Digital Foundry member mentioned on ResetEra that this patent discusses hardware that isn’t used in PS5 consoles at presents, a number of users have speculated that Sony could be toying with a PS5 Pro of some sort. Numerous PS4 Pro related patents were discovered by internet sleuths shortly after the PS4 launched, so this isn’t outside the realm of possibility. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if we see an updated PS5 a year or so from now. What do our readers think?
In other news, The Last of Us II multiplayer info has been datamined, and Horizon Forbidden West’s PS5 version proved to be more popular in the UK despite a higher price tag and free next-gen upgrade.