"raw horsepower", and the next step is refining the process for efficiency.
According to studio co-founder Michael Condrey in an interview, "We are definitely in the later phases of the development cycle now. Teams have had a lot of time on this generation to capitalise on the hardware strengths. For good teams, the raw horsepower has been pushed towards its peak performance, and great teams are looking for hundredths, and more often thousandths of a second of CPU and GPU optimisations to push the consoles harder."
From here on in, states Condrey, games will look better due to refinement and more clever programming. "Graphic improvements continue to push the visuals to new bars every year and next year should be no different. I don't expect the leap forward to be as large as the early console years, but the cycle isn't over yet either," Condrey explained.
"New innovative approaches will move the best in class titles forward again next year. By how much, will depend on how well the developers respond to tackling the most challenging optimisations."
Condrey isn't alone in his belief. According to Team Ninja's Yosuke Hayashi, "any further dramatic evolution in current consoles that could be plainly understood by the general gamer would be fairly difficult to achieve".
Reaching the limit of the "raw horsepower" of the current gen consoles isn't a bad thing, Condrey adds, "I really enjoy this late cycle period of development on the current generation. Developers spend less time having to figure out the 'how', giving more time to iterate on the 'what'."
Sledgehammer Games is one of the co-developers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which will be released on multiple platforms on the 8th November.