With just two months left for the highly-anticipated release of Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 (PS4), the internet is abuzz with news of potential performance comparison between the two upcoming game consoles.
According to UK magazine Edge, multiple high-level game development sources have said that the PS4 is around 50% faster than the Xbox One. In other words, the memory reads on PS4 are 40 to 50% quicker than Xbox One, while the former's Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) is also reportedly 50% faster than the latter.
For instance, a current multiplatform title can run at 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution at 30fps on PS4, but the Xbox One frame rate will drop to around 20fps even at the lower resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels, according to one developer.
"Xbox One is weaker and it's a pain to use its ESRAM," adds another developer.
Microsoft has reportedly bumped up its Xbox One processor clock speed to 1.75GHz from 1.6 GHz in its bid to close the performance gap with its rival console, the PS4. However, one game developer has downplayed this move saying: "The clock speed update is not significant, it does not change things that much.
"Of course, something is better than nothing."
With PS4 and Xbox One launch dates coming closer, Sony and Microsoft are busy tweaking their graphics drivers for the next-generation consoles.
According to one unidentified developer, Microsoft "has been late on their drivers and that has been hurting them." This could actually become a setback for Xbox One and the PS4 may have a slight edge at the time of its release.
Despite the constraints, Xbox One is said to trump the PS4 in some other ways such as using procedural generation or raytracing via parametric surfaces that uses several memory write operations with less texturing or ALU processing. Consequently, Xbox One will be much faster than its Sony counterpart during memory write operations.
Given the tight deadlines to launch platform-independent game titles in time, developers are likely to release near-identical games for both the consoles, concludes the Edge report. Opposing this claim, another developer says it does not make financial sense to optimise a multiplatform game for one particular platform and leave out the other.
"It would be totally fine for us to make one version prettier without any political difficulties but it usually doesn't make financial sense," the developer said, "unless it's a very simple tweak."
Microsoft's Xbox One will launch on 22 November, while Sony's PS4 is scheduled for release a week earlier (on 15 November) in North America followed by a European release on 29 November.