Developer Comments Timeline

Developers weigh in on the PS4 vs Xbone power debate. Let me know if any have been missed and I will update the list.

“It’s difficult to say, as it’s still early days when it comes to drivers,” Blomberg said. “With each new driver release, performance increases dramatically in some areas. The PlayStation 4 environment is definitely more mature currently, so Microsoft has some catching up to do. But I’m not too concerned about that as they traditionally have been very good in that area.

“The specs on paper would favor the PS4 over the Xbox One in terms of raw power, but there are many other factors involved so we’ll just have to wait and see a bit longer before making that judgment,” he added.

In talking to a developer who wished to remain anonymous, gamers will see a difference on Day One when they compare third party PS4 games to Xbox One head-to-head.

The developer told me the PS4 is 40 percent more powerful than Xbox One and games like Call of Duty Ghosts will be noticeably different out of the gate.

The facts are on paper, the PS4 has better specs and the most you can debate is by how much. What I can tell you is I have played Forza, Killer instinct, and Ryse on the Xbox One. They look as good as the games I play on a high end PC. Ryse reminded me of darksiders II.

“… it’s almost amazing how close they are in capabilities, how common they are and uh that the capabilities they give are essentially the same. We can talk about differences in memory architectures, but, the bottom line being that they’re a multicore AMD processor with AMD graphics, is, it’s almost weird how close they are.”

“Now everyone would like me to come out with some, some A over B comparison about the 2 platforms, and to be completely honest, I haven’t done really rigorous benchmarking on them, so even if I didn’t have NDA protection I couldn’t give you a really completely honest answer. But, they’re very close. They’re both very good.”

“What we’re seeing with the consoles are actually that they are a little bit more powerful than we thought for a really long time – especially one of them, but I’m not going to tell you which one,” Nilsson told VideoGamer.com at Gamescom earlier today.

“And that makes me really happy. But in reality, I think we’re going to have both those consoles pretty much on parity – maybe one sticking up a little bit. And I think that one will look as good as the PC.”

Nilsson chose not to answer when asked whether he was referring to the PS4 version.

Pushing him on the subject further, I asked: “Does that mean that the PS4 version of Rivals will look better than the Xbox One version?”

“I think that both consoles will look pretty much on parity,” he replied, “but one of them might stick up a little bit.”

Behind the scenes, c’t could hear from developers that the 3D-performance of PlayStation 4 is very far ahead of Xbox One.

AY: Well, obviously PlayStation 4 is more powerful than Xbox One.

How much more powerful?

AY: It depends what you’re doing. GPU, like 40 per cent more powerful. DDR5 is basically 50 per cent more powerful than DDR3, but the memory write is bigger on Xbox One so it depends on what you’re doing.

How is that going to translate to on-screen results for the kinds of games you want to make? So to optimise War Thunder on both consoles you could hypothetically make a better, prettier version on PS4?

AY: Yep.

Here I am. So…

1. I am not doing a damage control, but I do want to clarify one thing. But first, yes, devs I know — and as someone has shown it before in this thread, some other devs already talked about it too — claim that there’s 50% speed difference WHEN DEVELOPING in cross-gen/next-gen PS4/XO games. So there we are, I said it and I stand by it. Notice: WHEN DEVELOPING. It’ll become clear in a second.

2. Will this change in the future? WIll devs discover some tricks to narrow the gap? Will stuff like XO cloud computing help? Hell if I know. Uhm, maybe? I know that devs — well, most of them — will do whatever they can do get you the best games possible. You’re going to see a lot of multiplatform games this next gen, just as you’ve seen them in this gen, so it’s in studios’ best interest that there’s no clear advantage in one version over the other.

3. Does it mean studios will cripple PS4 versions to match XO ones? Not really, do not underestimate the devs. Even if this happens, you will not know that and that’s okay. You’ve never seen most games in their most powerful form anyway (when we work on them on our ninja dev PCs in 1080p 120fps with all the antialiasings and stuff turned on for shits and giggles). But most of the time devs have a target and they meet this target. If it’s a multiplatform game, it’s designed with this in mind from the start. So maybe it’s not maxing out one console while going 100% on the other. Maybe it’s 100% on both, but they take extra time for super-extra optimizations on the weaker hardware to make sure things look the same as on the more powerful platform. Etc. etc.

4. So what is that “one thing” I want to clarify, that some people may consider “damage control”, but really is just an explanation. Someone mentioned Titanfall, which looks money and enjoys a great hype. Exactly. A great dev will make a great game no matter what’s the hardware. Current gen CoDs looks great and it’s 60 fps, on both platforms (well, and PC :). To most devs that is just impossible to achieve. And yet…

Think about it this way. X360 is faster than PS3. Not just easier to program on, it’s faster overall (although PS is faster/better in SOME areas). And yet no exclusive on X360 looks like The Last of Us. Halo 4 looks great. Gears blew my mind in 2006. And still, the best looking AAA game of this generation belongs to the supposedly weaker platform.

So if you think that the war is over because PS4 is 50% faster TODAY, then you’re delusional. This is far from over, and will probably never be over, at least not this upcoming gen.

We asked him whether other developers will be using the extra GDDR5 RAM  and more GPU compute to churn better exclusive and multiplatform games on the  PS4, to which he replied:

“Definitely. In this generation PS4 seems to be the console with fewest  quirks – no embedded DRAM. Just raw power. Sony’s signature low-level graphics  API may leave some developers with bloodied knuckles but also gives access to a  lot more of its potential. This time PCs and consoles have more in common than  ever before, making multiplatform easier, but this time people will ramp up  effects for PS4.”

PlayStation 4 is currently around 50 per cent faster than its rival Xbox One. Multiple high-level game development sources have described the difference in performance between the consoles as “significant” and “obvious.”

Our contacts have told us that memory reads on PS4 are 40-50 per cent quicker than Xbox One, and its ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) is around 50 per cent faster. One basic example we were given suggested that without optimisation for either console, a platform-agnostic development build can run at around 30FPS in 1920×1080 on PS4, but it’ll run at “20-something” FPS in 1600×900 on Xbox One. “Xbox One is weaker and it’s a pain to use its ESRAM,” concluded one developer.

Microsoft … recently upped the clock speed of Xbox One, … though one developer we spoke to downplayed the move. “The clock speed update is not significant, it does not change things that much,” he said. “Of course, something is better than nothing.”

When asked what the final resolutions of these titles were shooting for, the answer’s was almost as indecisive as Morin’s, indicating that the team may still be working on optimization:

“720p on PS360, 1080 on PS4, TBD on Xbox One”

When asked if the difference was noticeable, the answer was clear:

“Big difference between last generation and next gen. You can see it. PC can hit up to 60fps 1080, but I think they are aiming for parity with PS4”

From there, the question of frame rate was put in the air, as the Xbox versions of multi-platform games have always seemed to be in question as of late:

“Both hit 30fps easy. I think Xbox One suffers a few dips from 60fps (hence the 30fps lock for console platforms). PS4 is pretty smooth. Definitive version”

From a pure tech perspective it’s undeniable that the PS4 GPU will make it the most powerful console in the world and for us that means we can turn on every visual flourish we want while keeping a smooth & responsive 60fps.

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