Anonymous developer sources have indicated that the PlayStation 4 is "noticeably faster" than the Xbox One in key performance areas, according to UK magazine Edge.
Memory reads on PlayStation 4 are 40-50 percent faster than Xbox One, says the report, and the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) on Sony's graphic card is also said to be twice as fast than its next-gen competition.
A basic example given by one developer is that a current multiplatform title can run at a resolution of 1920x1080 at 30fps on PlayStation 4, but that on Xbox One the framerate will drop to 20-something at the lower resolution of 1600x900.
“Xbox One is weaker and it's a pain to use its ESRAM,” added another developer.
Microsoft's efforts to bump up the specifications of the Xbox One--such as beefing up the processor to 1.75GHz from 1.6GHz--are said to have been done in an effort to close the gap between the two next-gen consoles. Both Microsoft and Sony are said to be working on improving their graphics drivers, too, and will continue doing so right up until launch and beyond.
Xbox One is said to be faster in other areas, however. “Let’s say you are using procedural generation or raytracing via parametric surfaces--that is, using a lot of memory writes and not much texturing or ALU--Xbox One will be likely be faster,” concluded one developer.
The Edge report concludes that there will be little performance difference between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch titles, as developers struggle to hit tight deadlines, and adds that ensuring parity between console version could become a political matter, with publishers not wanting to upset either platform holder by releasing inferior versions.
One developer added that it rarely makes financial sense to optimise a multiplatform game for one particular platform. “It would be totally fine for us to make one version prettier without any political difficulties but it usually doesn't make financial sense,” said the developer, “unless it’s a very simple tweak.”