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Microsoft exec: comparing Xbox One/PS4 specs is “meaningless”

Xbox One

Gamers and tecchies around the world have been pointedly weighing and balancing the pros and cons of the top two next-gen contenders, and each of the system’s technical specifications remain one of the major tipping points for both consoles.

As it stands, Sony’s PlayStation 4 console appears to be the winner when it comes to raw spec data, with superior graphical capabilities. If you’ve yet to hear about the internal components of both consoles, be sure to check out our official Xbox One vs. PS4 spec comparison for more info.

Regardless of the apparent advantages that the data discloses, one Microsoft executive claims that the specs don’t mean much. Xbox’s product planner Albert Penello has recently stated that the data doesn’t define the console’s as a whole and that comparing their values might in fact be meaningless:

“The problem is that Sony decided to go out and publish a bunch of numbers, which are in some ways meaningless,” he told OXM. “Because this isn’t like 1990, when it was 16-bit versus 32-bit.”

E3 2013 143

In his argument, Penello also referenced Sony’s usage of “off-the-shelf” parts for their PS4 console:

“As a matter of fact, they actually go out and they talk about how proud they are about their off-the-shelf parts. Our guys’ll say, we touched every single component in the box and everything there is tweaked for optimum performance,” he boasted.

“For me, I’d rather not even have the conversation, because it’s not going to matter,” Penello continued, reinforcing his initial point that the specifications don’t define all of the console’s limitations.

The box is going to be awesome. The games are going to be awesome. 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?” 

Penello goes on to say that the Xbox One’s cloud will more than make up for the console’s differed specs:

“I feel like our games and experiences are going to be every bit as good, if not better, technically – on top of all the magic we’re going to add with the instant switching, and the power of the cloud.”

Xbox One Controller

While it’s true not everyone knows exactly how to interpret the raw data of both system’s spec sheets, the numbers do speak for themselves, although both consoles will be quite powerful nonetheless.

Despite the Xbox One’s lowered spec values, Microsoft has recently discovered that the console’s embedded memory within the console’s processor is surprisingly more powerful than they recently envisioned. Microsoft has recently announced that the 32 MB of “embedded static RAM” (ESRAM) now has speeds of up to 192 GB/s, a value that’s considerably higher than the original theoretical value of 102 GB/s.

This increase in peak performance memory bandwidth helps the Xbox One’s DDR3 balance out with the PS4’s 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory, and is a nice surprise for the company and fans who are looking forward to the console itself.

Microsoft has scheduled the release of their next-gen Xbox One for November 2013, whereas Sony’s PS4 is still a cloudy “Holiday 2013” window.

Via CVG, Euro Gamer




Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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