Backing the wrong horse?

After making my post “Cancelling my PS4 pre-order” I started thinking about a few other aspects that made wonder if I’m backing the wrong horse in the console hardware race.  Recently, rumors were flying around that Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Xbox One would only run at 720p because the Xbox One can’t handle it. However the PS4 version runs at a full 1080p.  The developers of the game have made several statements saying that the game is going to look great on the Xbox One but they are refusing to deny the rumor that it doesn’t run at 1080p.  Meanwhile Sony has come out and made several statements saying that it does run at 1080p on the PS4, and hinted that the Xbox One version will not.   Microsoft has only made statements literally saying “You don’t need to know.”  Forbes is also reporting a similar rumored difference with Battlefield 4.

*UPDATE*

The exceuctive producer of the Call of Duty franchise Mark Rubin has come out and confirmed that the Xbox One version is only running at 720p via twitter.

Hey, been on the road last couple weeks so haven’t had a chance to update, but wanted to confirm that for Xbox One we’re 1080p upscaled from 720p. And, we’re native 1080p on PS4.  We optimized each console to hit 60 FPS and the game looks great on both. Still on the road, but glad to see the great reception to Extinction.  Can’t wait for next week’s launch.

I’m glad he’s come out and confirmed this information, but I really wish he didn’t include the initial excuse.  Where exactly were you on the road that you didn’t hear about your company getting asked this same question hundreds of times a day by everyone, that you couldn’t respond until now?  If you are going to deliver bad news, don’t include a half truth bad excuse when you’re doing it.

Not long after the announcement of E3, once the final specs were announced people were pointing out the difference in power between the raw power of the PS4 and the Xbone.   In the case of memory speed, it’s as much as a 40% difference.  Currently the drivers for both systems have been noted as being poor and are still being worked on.  Over time we’ll see better games when they do improve. Regardless, that power gap is going to still remain.

Microsoft’s position on the matter is that specs are irrelevant, as long as the game experiences are the same across both platforms.  They have historical evidence to back them up on this claim. For the most part the PS3 was a more powerful system then the Xbox 360 but many games looked better on the Xbox.

However this time around things are very different. In the past PS3 and the Xbox 360 had very different architecture on the inside. My Samsung Galaxy Note 3 cell phone might be more powerful than my laptop in terms of pure power, but getting them to perform the same functions would be hard because they weren’t designed to. That’s where Sony fell flat last time.  They took a really powerful piece of technology, and then tried to make it play video games.  They were mostly successful, but it was very expensive and a giant learning process.  They didn’t make the same mistake this time.

Xbox-One-Versus-Playstation-4-600x431

The PS4 and XBox One are basically running the same architecture as a pc but in comparison the XBox One is a really good pc while the PS4 would be top of the line. Here’s the odd thing. The PS4 is cheaper. Here’s a mock conversation between a potential PC customer, and a sales clerk to illustrate the difference.

Customer: Hey I see you have 2 PC’s here. What’s the difference between them?

Sales clerk: This Microsoft PC here is pretty good and runs at 3 GHz and costs $500. The Sony pc runs at 4 GHz and costs $400.

Customer: Wait, did you get that backwards?  Why is the better Sony PC cheaper than the other Microsoft one if it’s more powerful?

Sales Clerk:  The Microsoft PC comes with this thing that allows you to hook it up to your TV with voice commands and other nifty little features.

Customer: I don’t really watch much TV.  Do they sell a Microsoft model without that thing to make it cheaper?

Sales Clerk: No you’re kind of stuck with it if you don’t want to use it.  If you ever did want to use it, it’s pretty cool.

Customer:   So the cheaper one can’t do those things?

Sales Clerk:  . . . Well, if you buy this $100 add on, it can sort of do some of those things . . . but not really.  Basically if you don’t care about the TV feature, and just want to use the PC for what it’s meant for, then the Sony PC is the best PC to get.

That’s kind of how I feel about this situation.  The PS4 is the superior gaming machine without a doubt.  Any game that is going to be multi-platform will either play just as good if not better on the PS4 then it will on the Xbox One, and that’s a bit of a hard pill to swallow.  It’s basically walking into the store and telling the store clerk that you want to buy the crappier PC just to get the extra features.

For me those extra features are what makes the Xbox One a more compelling purchase.   The latest video (below) showcases some really powerful features.  If it works even half as fast as the commercials claim it will, I’ll be happy.  It will be worth it to have the less powerful machine, but I’ll always know in the back of my head that Microsoft could have done better.

*UPDATE*

Sony has released an official FAQ for the PS4 which I will write up a deep dive on, in the future.

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One comment on “Backing the wrong horse?

  1. I have a ps4 reservation which I chose by the following: 60% price point, 30% games (I know platform exclusivity is all but completely gone these days but I mostly play RPG’s so PS4 just made morse sense to me) and 10% hardware. I actually think I’m even over-stating the hardware portion with 10%.

    I realize the PS4’s RAM is a little beefier (and seemingly a little more focused on gaming) but in the end I really doubt that anyone will be complaining about either console’s performance. You may not even see developers tap in to the full potential of the hardware until they are nearing the end of the life cycle.

    With that being said I feel like the whole “Call of Duty in 1080 vs 720” between consoles is another fabricated fight between the two much like the DRM stuff (won’t get in to that now, though). I will say that I highly doubt any average gamer would ever be able to tell a difference between 1080p and 720p, especially on smaller televisions.

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