Gamescom 2019: Ray Tracing Gets More Industry Support

By Patrick Moorhead - September 10, 2019
Minecraft with RTX ON

When NVIDIA first introduced ray tracing for its RTX-branded GeForce consumer graphics cards, I will admit I was a bit skeptical on the timing and performance needed for the hyper-realistic lighting effects. However, as I wrote about here, you really have to experience ray tracing to “get it,” and after I used it on five different games, I became a believer. I now think ray tracing will be mainstream before most think.

As more evidence of my stance, yesterday at the Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, more game titles were announced supporting ray tracing. One game, in particular, is Minecraft, which, while it has third party ray-tracing plug-ins and texture packs, will now have native support from Microsoft and NVIDIA.

I wrote about Minecraft and its 3rd party ray tracing plug-in support here and, it, in part, got my son and his 16-17-year-old friends playing it again. When my son was twelve, he was addicted to Minecraft. We even attended two Minecons together, which I wrote about here. At 17, Pico (as we call him), thought he was too “old” to play Minecraft and opted for games like Overwatch and Fortnite. Third-party ray tracing and texture packs, in part, resulted in the increased re-vitalization of Minecraft with players who abandoned it, and I’m interested to see what native support does. Pico and I experienced around a 10X performance hit to a very playable 100fps, with an NVIDIA RTX GeForce 2080Ti, using one of these 3rd party packs and I am hoping with native support brings lower overhead to get the significant effects.

Newly supported ray-traced games announced at Gamescom

The ray tracing announcements didn’t end at Minecraft and included more big franchise including AAA games. New games and packs supporting ray tracing and RTX cards included:

This adds to titles I covered here like:

  • Battlefield V- support ray-traced reflections
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider- - support ray-traced shadows
  • Metro Exodus- support ray-traced lighting
  • Quake II RTX- - support ray-traced lighting, shadows, reflections

The new titles announced at Gamescom support my thesis that ray tracing is here for higher-end PCs. I still believe the best ray-traced game implementations like Metro Exodus will be a net adder to the gaming experience and that don’t take too many resources. Moreover, with less expensive RTX GPUs and several RTX games that run ray-tracing smoothly at 1080P (and sometimes higher), the momentum should only increase.

NOTE: This blog contains contributions from Pico Moorhead

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.