After its release at E3 the newly unveiled Xbox One picked up a lot of flack regarding its game sharing and online policy restrictions. So much so that people forgot to look at the specs and details of the device and rather focused on the outrageous limitations Microsoft was trying to enforce. When these restrictions were amended and the dust settled, John Carmack of ID software, creators of games like Quake, Doom and Rage came out with an interesting observation. At Quakecon 2013 he stated what was actually quite obvious and many gamers had missed in the furore, the Xbox One and the PS4 essentially have the same hardware.
Console gaming has taken a hard knock recently due to the massive demand for mobile games where everything ranging from android casino entertainment to arcade-style action is on offer. It’s therefore really important that those consoles that hit the market offer something special and offer decent competition to hand held devices. When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One few people noted that the GPU had been boosted by almost 50% in order to keep up with the significantly more powerful option from Sony on the PS4. In addition to the similar GPU, the Xbox One and PS4 share an almost identical AMD CPU and they also have very similar capabilities. Both consoles have access to the same OpenGL 4.2, DirectX 11.1 support and the same shaders. However, although the specs may be very similar and the consoles hardware is bordering on identical the PS4 is almost guaranteed to be faster than the Xbox One, but it’s a toss up whether gamers will actually notice the difference in the play.
It seems like the near identical hardware specs are a pure coincidence, but it’s one that’s going to make developers and gamers very happy. The standardisation of x86 hardware means that it will now be easier to develop both PC and console games that span across multiple platforms, meaning that the quality of games should improve as developers will focus more time on the actual games rather that fiddling around within limited architectural constraints.
Carmack may have created another interesting debate about Xbox One vs. PS4, but it looks like this time it’s a positive one and gamers might have to reconsider which device they purchase to get the best console action.