Posted on May 23, 2013, Devin Connors EA CTO: XB1/PS4 ‘Generation Ahead of PC,’ Mark Rein Calls ‘Bullshit’
Earlier today, EA CTO Rajat Taneja took to his LinkedIn page to wax poetic about console hardware (Develop Online reported on the post here). It’s an exciting time for consoles, naturally, as new hardware from Sony and Microsoft is right around the corner.
“Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have adopted electronics and [SoC] architecture that unleashes magnitudes more compute and graphics power than the current generation of consoles,” says Rajat, and he’s right! The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One truly are several orders of magnitude more powerful than the consoles they’ll be replacing…but Rajat took that sentiment a step further.
“These architectures are a generation ahead of the highest end PC on the market and their unique design of the hardware, the underlying operating system and the live service layer create one of the most compelling platforms to reimagine game mechanics.”
Now before everyone goes off all half-cocked, let’s put the word “generation” in the proper context. The PS4 and One are both based on AMD hardware that either just launched, or hasn’t appeared, in the consumer PC space yet. Specifics are hard to come by, but both consoles are using CPUs with Jaguar cores, an architecture that just launched in the PC space this week. And those Jaguar cores are only found in low-power mobile APU chips right now, so we aren’t talking about serious gaming PC hardware just yet.
Shifting to GPUs, the new consoles have to be using hardware based on the upcoming high-end Radeon 8000 series — Sony said as much a few months ago. The 8000 series shares some traits with the high-end 7000 series SKUs, like GCN 2.0, but it’s the next generation of GPU tech from AMD, plain and simple. Are there a few 8000 series mobile GPU parts floating around? Yes, but they’re a far cry from what the presumed desktop 8970 video card will offer performance-wise — laptop components always are when compared to their desktop counterparts.
Saying that these new consoles are ahead of gaming PCs isn’t much of a stretch, although Rajat’s next point definitely is. “Our benchmarks on just the video and audio performance are 8-10 times superior to the current gen.”
I can’t believe that, and I’m definitely not the only one.
“No they’re not. I call bullshit on this one,” said Epic Games VP Mark Rein. And who would know better than one of the people responsible for bringing Unreal Engine 4 to the next wave of gaming platforms? While Rajat’s use of the word “generation” is in murky waters, I’ll give him a pass. But to say that these consoles are eight to ten times more powerful than a high-end gaming PC? That’s a harder pill to swallow.
Let’s look to the Call of Duty: Ghosts presentation during the Xbox One reveal. Some netizen was kind enough to compare the faces in each game/demo — which looks better to you? Does the COD head look like something powered by a console that’s “8-10 times superior” to current PCs?
Now let’s look at some jungle footage, again from some masked hero at Imgur. I think the jungle foliage in Ghosts looks fantastic, but how does it compare to foliage from Crysis 1? Does it look exponentially better?
Honestly, I think this is an executive that’s excited about the future of games. Who isn’t right now? There are two new consoles coming later this year, the GTX 780 just launched, and new hardware from Intel and AMD is right around the corner. When was the last time we saw new hardware on all fronts like this? Regardless of your platform of choice, it’s an exciting time for graphics and performance junkies. Pretty soon, the virtual jungle will look so real, you’ll never be able to find your way out.