Leading up to the November release of two new juggernaut consoles, Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One, it has been unclear as to which console was the technically superior specimen. Developers are now saying that the PS4 is as much as 50 percent more efficient than Xbox One.
Gaming news site Edge spoke with several anonymous developers who confirmed that the Xbox One reads memory around 50 percent slower, and its Arithmetic Logic Unit is similarly around 50 percent slower in comparison to that of Sony's machine.
The tangible impact this will have remains unknown, but one source claimed that a first-person shooter would run in 1080p at 30 frames per second on the PS4, but only at "20-something" frames per second even at a lower resolution on Xbox One.
Even after Microsoft recently insisted that the difference between the consoles was overstated, they increased the clock speed of the Xbox One, seemingly in an attempt to bridge the gap between its own console and Sony's. One source downplayed the significance of the increase, claiming "it does not change things that much," but conceded “something is better than nothing.”
Despite launching in just over two months, the Xbox One could still be tightened up. One of the developers called the system's graphics drivers "horrible," though drivers will likely continue to be updated right up until launch and throughout the console's life cycle.
Gamers who plan to pick up a PS4 after it launches should not get too excited about the alleged gap in power, however. Given the strict deadline of meeting a console's launch, most of the games are not optimized to take full advantage of the new console's power. In fact, many multi-platform developers will only have time to make one version of their game and then port it over to the other console as is.
One source claimed that politics play a part in keeping the different versions identical, saying that they would want to "avoid ruffling any feathers" by favoring one console over another. Another source disagreed that the politics had an influence, but that optimizing for either console wouldn't make financial sense "unless it's a very simple tweak."
It appears that the PS4 will have quite a bit more raw processing power under the hood, although that may not mean much. It's easy to forget that the PS3 was technically far superior to the Xbox 360, but other than a handful of exclusive PS3 games, there was almost no evidence of a gulf in power.
The PS4 will launch for $399 on Nov 15 in the U.S., while the Xbox One will hit store shelves a week later on Nov 22 for $499.