How Microsoft is Losing the Hardware Debate to Sony
PlayStation 4

Damn it Microsoft! You had one job!

With this current-generation of consoles hitting the market last November (and after a considerable build up leading into the New Year), I have to admit I expected the inevitable pissing contest we currently find ourselves in. However, if there was one arena that I expected Microsoft to completely dominate in, it would be the hardware department. I mean, after all how could a company founded and built upon computer technology itself not shine in this regard?

Somehow, Microsoft seems to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory none the less.

The debate has raged on for many months, hyping which console is actually the more powerful of the two: the Xbox One or the PS4. Mind you, this isn’t just a flame war that broke out among angry bloggers and fanboys. Sony themselves have stoked those fires in the past (coming right out and unabashedly proclaiming that it has the more powerful system on more than one occasion). A recent interview by Microsoft’s Alan Bowman didn’t do them any favors in trying to push back on Sony’s claims either. In-fact it may have reinforced it. The best defense he can muster regarding Microsoft’s console not matching up is to call the differences “marginal.”  Now, this is quite the stark contrast in statements if you ask me. One company is brazenly screaming “WE’RE THE SHIZNIT” at the top of their lungs, while the other is passively hoping people will just consider them “as good” as their competitor. From a PR standpoint, I’m wondering if Mr. Bowman is firing on all eight cylinders.

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While the PS4 and Xbox One may seem comparable under the hood, are they really?

The only way you'll get to the bottom of such a debate is to lay out the facts and let them speak for themselves. So let’s do just that, shall we? The Xbox One has a slightly faster processor than the PlayStation 4, clocking in at 1.75 GHZ (vs. 1.6 GHZ). The RAM is a bit faster on the PS4, yet less is reserved for the OS on the Xbox One (leaving more open for developers in those tight instances). However, the PS4 takes a small edge when it comes to pipeline and the GPU of its video card. Also note: not all hardware advantages come inside the machine, as the Xbox One console features more in the “ports” department on the back of the system (while Sony went for a minimalist approach here).

PlayStation 4

So what did we learn? Frankly, the consoles aren’t all that different when it comes to specs. Maybe the differences are marginal, so to his original point, Alan Bowman could be right. The problem is that perception is reality. Much of what the consoles have to offer will not come down to particular game choices among players.  Exclusives are not as influential as they once were (as many developers have moved away from this practice to widen their consumer base). What WILL make or break a console in this day and age is what you can do with it when you’re NOT gaming. Xbox One has lots of cool integration with things like the Microsoft Surface tablet, while Sony is innovating the industry with its new streaming service PlayStation Now.

One thing is for certain: I don’t care which console is better. I just know it’s a hell of a good time to be a gamer.

Jason Messer
Jason Messer
@J8sonMesser

Contributing Writer
Date: 01/16/2014

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