PS4 or XBOX ONE ? – An expectant gamer’s view

I have a confession to make – I have never owned a Playstation or Xbox. It was a luxury that my family could not afford. So like a hungry nerd gamer I have only ever watched from the sidelines. My experience on the consoles came from luckier friends. This way I have gotten the chance to play on PS1, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, so I am not exactly complaining. Now at the cusp of a new generation of console wars I intend to finally own a console. But which one? I have always been a PC gamer and a dedicated one at that, happier on Dota 2 than Halo multiplayer I have nevertheless wanting to get in on the party purely since so many of my friends are avid Halo fans or MGS fans.

The console wars have never been so even. All the consoles before now had some unique features. But now that the new consoles have taken to PC hardware there is only a limited number options that are viable with power and heat considerations to make. Many of you will be Xbox or PS fanboys or maybe have already decided to jump ship.  Xbox had made some presumed errors and have now reversed most of their functional decisions. I do not think they were off the money with their original ideas but perhaps Microsoft cannot afford to take risks right now. Sony seems to have gotten everyone quite happy with the only unhappiness coming from the Xbox exclusives of Titanfall or the incoming Halo.

All that is good or bad, depending on which game you want to play but what about the hardware? You can look up the hardware comparisons online, I am only going to point out the differences and what they might mean going forward.

Feature

Playstation 4

Xbox One

Price

$400 (camera not included – $60)

$500 (camera included)

DVR

Yes

Only with Xbox Live Gold

Ram

8GB GDDR5

8GB DDR3

CPU

8 Core AMD

Custom Microsoft CPU

GPU

AMD custom with 1152 shaders

AMD custom with 768 shaders

GPU output

1.84 TeraFLOPS

1.31 TeraFLOPS

HDD

500GB removable

500GB non-removable

There are other features but let’s focus on these for now. The CPU differences are not very important but the GPU differences are critical. It would appear that PS4 has better GPU specs all-around with nearly 400 more shaders and therefore a much higher overall output. For now while that may be good enough for Xbox, in the long run as the textures get bigger and resolutions get higher Xbox One will start to see functional restrictions. However the biggest restriction that may come to be will be the RAM. PS4 uses GDDR5 which is way way faster than the DDR3 used on Xbox. DDR3 is now old and the age is already starting to show, so I was mildly surprised when Microsoft decided to use it in their spanking new console. Given that the consoles will have to work for perhaps 5 years atleast, DDR3 will only get older and seem slower going forward. This is particularly important since small hiccups are already being seen on Xbox. Jagged edges, 720p upscaling to 1080p, hiccups with 60FPS. All these might very well be problems arising out of the technological restrictions of GPU and RAM. However assuming that Xbox One is not already getting restricted, even before the release it might point to something else.

The main advantage of consoles over PC is that you can optimize games to your target hardware since all Xbox’s will have similar hardware and likewise for Playstation. The optimization has to come from the console developer’s Development kit. PS3 reportedly had problems with the developers kit given the complexity of the Cell processor. If Xbox is not already tech limited, then the problems might be limitations faced by game developers in using the development kit to optimize the games. Combination of the two problems I discussed may spell critical danger for Microsoft. Assuming I am correct on both counts (assumption here, maybe horribly misguided) Xbox is not only going to get restricted later on but maybe slightly restricted even now. This is a particular concern since early adopters want the best and only the best. I can’t help but think that as more game reviews come out Xbox will fall even more behind.

As for me, I am going to jump on the PS4 bandwagon and play Titanfall on the PC and when PS4 and most definitely Xbox One starts to get old I will still have a PC that I can update as necessary. The consoles are reaching a limit and since they are using PC hardware, even less and less games will be console exclusives. While I do plan on getting a console and a massive TV to go with it, I am firmly going to remain a PC fanboy. Which console are you going to get or are you going to keep ignoring the consoles? Let me know in the comments or else you may want to tell me to go stuff myself.

Time for more Dota 2. Join me in-game and let’s have fun. Steam name – ‘GOD.O.H’. Send me an invite and forget the console wars for a while.

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