Perhaps there is more than meets the eye with Microsoft’s next-gen system.
Jason the Sony Fanboy here with another report on how Microsoft sucks and Sony rules all! Oh wait, the title of this article would suggest otherwise wouldn’t it? That’s because the Xbox One may very well turn out to be a better console overall! Yeah, you heard me (and no I’ve not switched my tasty Sony Kool-Aid for the Microsoft brand). We’ve seen many in the industry tout the advantages of developing on the PS4 over its counterpart, as well as gamers complain that more titles run in full 1080p on the PlayStation than on the Xbox. However, that gap is slowly but surely starting to close.
Does this mean the Xbox One has finally started to hit on all eight cylinders?
According to those in the industry whom worked with both systems, yes it does. Lorne Lanning (creator of Oddworld) recently called the PS4 an “amazing” machine, but also gives props to the horse power of the Xbox One. Although it would appear that the learning curve for developers is a bit steeper on the Xbox, Lanning reveals that things are now starting to fall into a groove. “…I would say, months ago, there was a wider gap. Part of it was the development systems…We're hearing and seeing that that curve is getting closer…I think they've been improving the toolset really fast…” he states. As a result, Lanning feels the differences in the two are starting to become negligible.
A debate like this isn’t exactly new; as many can still remember when the dominance of a game company was measured in 8, 16 and 64-bits. Now, it would seem that many in the industry are starting to seemingly unlock the tricks to optimize development, as Lanning asserts the consoles are now “… getting comparable.” While the PS4 has no doubt been the fortunate son as of late, he reveals that “…the PlayStation 4 has been pretty amazing…but I don't see a huge gap like there used to be. There used to be a significant gap.”
So does this new revelation signify that the Xbox One is finally ready to pull itself out of the next-gen hole?
I’d like to think so. I’ve talked at length regarding another prominent gap when it comes to the current standings in the console war. This gap has nothing to do with graphics or resolution, but sales. While Microsoft has yet to release any updated sales figures for the New Year, current estimates have the PS4 outselling theirs 2:1 around the world. Now THAT is a gap to be concerned about. However, we’ve been hearing more and more regarding the little movements from Microsoft as of late that could put them directly in the fast track to catch rival Sony. A recent press release by the company touts their refocus on branding their console as THE online marketplace for gaming (both digital and DLC content for physical media). Now, we’re learning that developers have finally cracked the nut that has hindered some Xbox One games from hitting their real strides for so long (which will render the HD comparison between the two systems a moot point moving forward). Getting back to a point I touched on earlier in the week, the next step is to somehow lock down several huge exclusives (keeping them out of Sony's hands) that would showcase their product as an absolute necessity when it comes to the latest and greatest content. This would complete the trifecta Microsoft needs to propel themselves back into the winner’s circle.
I know that sports analogies are thrown around quite a bit, but if this were a boxing match, rounds one and two have gone to Sony by decision. However, unlocking the true potential of the Xbox One hardware is what could help Microsoft land a few key blows and put their competitor on the ropes for the first time this generation.
Is it possible that this is just a growing pains period for Xbox One? After all, it’s not beyond reason to believe that a company who’s had 30+ years experience combining software (Windows OS) with the latest PC hardware could parley that into ultimately having the best option on the market for gaming. History may see us looking back on these early days and remembering them as when Sony’s PS4 peaked too quickly (just as Microsoft’s console became the breakout star).
Then again, maybe not…but it’s fun to dream.