Some developers are having problems with new Xbox GDK - Digital Foundry

In their latest video discussing the series S digital foundry’s Richard Leadbetter claims some developers are reporting issues with the Xbox GDK that incorporates PC, Xbox Series and Xbox One. At 39 mins in the video. (He also claims every dev he’s spoken to loves the PS5 and it’s dev tools and environment). Is this why we’ve seen very little Series X gameplay? I did speculate back in July that this might be a reason for basically seeing nothing and everything being shown on PC?


I haven’t seen any specific complaints. Without specificity we can’t know if they’re just going through growing pains learning a new dev environment or if there are real problems. Also, the reason we haven’t seen Series X gameplay is because the devs are still working on the games, and MS can’t exactly force them to show it to them. Seems like more FUD to me.


From what he is saying, these comments are fairly normal. PS5 carries over PS4 SDK (dev environment), whereas xbox series x|s has changed their SDK. This means more work for devs on series x|s while they adapt their current systems (and processes) and, obviously, you can encounter some issues (but this is… normal).


Didn’t Jez say on the latest Xbox Two podcast that we will see more XSX gameplay from press very soon?

Sounds like this is the case. The PS5 SDK is simply an extension of the PS4’s, which was easy to develop with, so it is perfectly understandable why developers love the PS5 SDK. Microsoft on the other hand is introducing a new development environment, which is obviously going to have growing pains and something developers have to get used to. However, in the long run developers should come to appreciate it if it truly allows them to deploy their code across 3 SKUs.


It’s only been rumors without confirmation up to this point however the statement from DF seems to back previous rumors up. The tools from the Xbox side are behind the tools on the Playstation side. This should sort itself out given time. There are bigger changes in the Xbox development environment. DX12U has received recent updates. Some of the long term efficiencies should come from Game Core which most devs aren’t using yet. Using Velocity takes more work to maximize than PS5s brute force I/O speeds.

The flip side of that is the Xbox’s new development environment shows a lot of potential on paper long term. Their goals are to make developing for Xbox and PC at the same time much easier therefore resulting in a lot more situations where games can come to both day and date. That will be a big deal amongst Indie devs (who I keep saying their importance can’t be slept on next gen).

They’re also running hot because they attempted to pack all the RDNA2 features they could into their hardware. Covid had a lot more impact on Xbox tools because there was more changes and new features on that side. Time will tell how it pays off long term.


Hasn’t Jez been saying all along we should see gameplay soon?

Beautifully put.

As others have mentioned already, the GDK is obviously more cumbersome for the moment as it’s essentially adding an extra layer of support for PC, which is a big part of Xbox and Velocity Architecture and DX12U and all that moving forward.

But man, the more and more I read and hear about Series S, I feel it should have had at least 2 gb more RAM. Literally everything else is fine, the cpu, gpu, ssd. I am aware about SFS and all that jazz but will third parties even bother utilizing those to the full degree compared to first parties? And I think we won’t see ray tracing running on it for most big AAA games. Jason Ronald did come out and confirm it shall be an option for developers to turn it off if they needed to. Crossgen stuff like Watch Dogs and Cyberpunk 2077, sure, but not on something like Fable or Forza Horizon 5 and such.

1 Like

Richard is also mentioning that not all developers are having problems with it. Just a part of them, with another part being pretty happy about it.


I think as the generation goes on more and more games will forgo ray tracing on Series S in order to free up more RAM and memory bandwidth. I agree the Series S is literally missing 2 extra GBs and probably a bit more memory bandwidth, but memory is incredibly expensive atm so it looks like it wasn’t feasible.

Third parties should use XVA though since Microsoft is bringing it to PC and Nvidia is already supporting it on their latest cards.

1 Like

Xbox could have some problems at the start (not big deal) but in the end will payoff big in the long term with easier development in xbox-pc

I would say this is all pretty normal. DirectX 12 Ultimate is new, Game Core is new, the whole philosophy to develop between several plateforms in an almost seamless way is new, so of course the software is not fully optimized for some.

At the same time, he didn’t talk to all developers out there, and said just some were having that problem, with others being happy about it. It is just a matter of getting used to it, but I have the feeling the nwe grafics cards will help with that too.

Also, PS5 doesn’t seem absolutely perfect either if we are going by what Dusk Golem is saying about Resident Evil 8 ( and he was not wrong lately ).


So for PS5 it’s just a easy transition, but not so much just yet for Xbox. What is the reason MS opted for a new one?

And what are the chances that some games might actually fall behind PS5 at the start? I remember with Xbox One in the beginning most games were 720p and then later more games started releasing in 900p. What are the chances of lower resolutions, worse framerates or is this no real concern?

1 Like

The new one is meant to make development across both console and PC. Remember, Xbox is using its console technology to make pc gaming better as well through DX12U. So it’ll take some time and effort yeah

Ah yes, makes sense. Eventually it should be nothing but smooth sailing for developers then.

Let’s hope games like ACV, WDL, Cyberpunk, CoD don’t “suffer” from it. It would be a real bummer if these launch a little problematic compared to PS5. But this does make you think it could be the reason we didn’t see gameplay footage in the May and July show.

I recall also a dev saying it was hard to capture from XSX? Whatever what was meant by that.

And some developers are really happy with it…

So lame you have to cherrypick some trolling clickbait title.

Also its been confirmed a more “to the metal” APi is coming to series S|X. I dont where it was confirmed I think it was Jason Ronald (beard guy) in some interview or video.

I don’t think we have to worry too much.

I mean Ubisoft has confirmed ACV is native 4K/60fps on XSX, raytracing in WDL. So we haven’t seen it yet, but it should be fine. I have faith in that.

And CDPR said we should get gameplay closer to release of Cyberpunk when someone asked when we would see XSX gameplay of it.

1 Like

Watched the entire interview which was good. The GDK seems to be causing issues for some developers as they have to learn it and get used to it but long term, once they do, there shouldn’t be any issues whatsoever.

The “power” debate was funny because even Rich says that he doesn’t understand or know why so many people out there believe that the PS5 SSD can make up for the lack of GPU power. He says that on paper, the Series X is superior but that it will come down to the software and developers utilizing all of that power in the software.

I agree with that aspect in regards to developers having to fully utilize the hardware for their software but the better hardware you have, the better your software should be.

I can’t wait for November and to see head to head comparisons. We know WD Legion has Ray Tracing on Xbox Series X but hasn’t been confirmed for PlayStation 5 yet as far as I know. AC Valhalla will be native 4K at 60FPS with HDR. Really looking forward to see how much of a difference in resolution and frame rate there will be with Valhalla on Series X and PS5.


Explains Halo and not seeing any Series X games.