The Xbox One is only half as fast as the PS4, several anonymous sources told Edge.
“Our contacts have told us that memory reads on PS4 are 40-50 per cent quicker than Xbox One,” wrote Edge. “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 is apparently aware of this issue and have increased the clock speed of their console to try and close the gap on the PS4. However, one of the developers Edge spoke with said that this move was “not significant.” “[The clock speed] does not change things that much. Of course, something is better than nothing.”
Despite being only months from launch, another source says that “the hardware isn’t locked” and that both Microsoft and Sony are still working on the drivers for the consoles’ GPUs. Microsoft apparently “has been late on their drivers and that has been hurting them.” According to another source, the Xbox One graphics drivers are “horrible.”
However, according to the report, the Xbox One does have its advantages over the PS4. “let’s say you are using procedural generation or raytracing via parametric surfaces – that is, using a lot of memory writes and not much texturing or ALU – Xbox One will likely be faster,” said an anonymouse developer.
Both companies are urging developers to make use of each console’s unique features such as the DualShock 4’s touch pad or the new Kinect in the first wave of games after the consoles’ launch. However, one source said that “unless there’s a good design reason or incentive we rarely do.”
Due to tight deadlines and a unfamiliarity with the new hardware, the developers think it to be more practical to create cross-platform games that are nearly identical to each other. One source went as far as suggesting that doing so would result in a political issue between platform holders, developers and publishers.
“They said that it could damage perceptions of a cross platform title, not to mention Xbox One, if the PS4 version shipped with an obviously superior resolution and framerate; better to “castrate” the PS4 version and release near-identical games to avoid ruffling any feathers,” wrote Edge.
However, this was the opinion of one studio. Another studio felt the complete opposite. “It would be totally fine for us to make one version prettier without any political difficulties but it usually doesn’t make financial sense unless it’s a very simple tweak.”