Xbox One vs PS4 – Do Specs Really Matter?
Microsoft’s product planning manager Albert Penello riled up the gaming community when he said that the Xbox One vs PS4 Specs comparison was “meaningless”. Speaking to OXM, Albert said
“I heard this exact same argument last generation and it’s a pointless argument, because people are debating things which they don’t know about. They’re not [head silicon engineer] Nick Baker or [corporate vice president of IEB hardware Todd Holmdahl], and I’m not [lead PS4 architect] Mark Cerny, so why are we having this discussion?”
He later clarified his statement by explaining that both Microsoft and Sony engineer teams are talented and are still tweaking the insides to get the best optimal output.
“The guys who are building these machines on both sides are unbelievably talented and experts in their field. Nobody knows the specifics of how the machines are architected or if there may be bottlenecks in one system or accelerators in another that change the impact of the published specs.
“What I believe is that our games are going to be great and they are going to look next-gen, and I think E3 sort of showed that. And great games are what matters”.
I don’t believe many people believe that engineers can tweak enough on the Xbox One to match the PS4, but it does appear that they are indeed working on it. Earlier this week, Digital Foundry published an article stating that Microsoft Engineers drastically underestimated their ESRAM.
Xbox One processor is considerably more capable than Microsoft envisaged during pre-production of the console, with data throughput levels up to 88 per cent higher in the final hardware.
Xbox One was previously thought to sustain a peak theoretical throughput of 102GB/s – useful, but still some way behind the 176GB/s found in PlayStation 4’s RAM set-up. Now that close-to-final silicon is available, Microsoft has revised its own figures upwards significantly, telling developers that 192GB/s is now theoretically possible.
Do the Playstation 4 and Xbox One specs really matter? To some, the answer will be a resounding yes. And some developers will no doubt push these consoles to their limits. But more than likely, it will be a very long time before that happens. If this generation is any indication, developers are still figuring out ways to maximize the dated hardware to this day.
It doesn’t appear at least with Ubisoft’s Watchdogs that there will be a graphical difference. When asked about differences between PS4 and Xbox One, a developer replied,
“The Xbox One is a powerful platform, as of now we do not foresee a major difference in on screen result between the PS4 and the Xbox One.”
I think specs matter to some hardcore gamer’s. But when Black Friday rolls around in November, and people are standing in lines that stretch outside the stores – how many of those people if they were polled do you believe would have a clue what the specs were for either console? I can’t imagine that it would be very many. Maybe in the end, Albert is right. Specs won’t matter to the average consumer. It will be about the games and features that the casual gamer cares about. What do you think? How much do specs matter to you? And are the differences so far enough in the specs to make a real impact?