The argument about the ability of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to render games at 60fps and 1080p has been one of the most heated subjects in the games industry over the past few months.
While few doubt the visual power of first-party titles such as Ryse and Killzone: Shadow Fall, more attention has been spent analyzing the performance of key third-party titles--Assassin's Creed IV, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and more recently Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition--on both machines, with analysts pointing to Sony's machine as more capable when it comes to both resolution and framerate.
In the past, Microsoft has come out and said that "these little things get way overblown" and that the quality of the machine's library is what's most important.
Xbox director of product planning Albert Penello was recently asked about the performance of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on the Gamertagradio podcast. "There's a frame rate thing going on with Tomb Raider, there is a resolution thing going on, and there's a lot of reasons why that could be true but we are weeks in, we just shipped, it's a long generation," he said.
"[PlayStation 4] is much easier to develop for, and it is performing and packing the punch that developers want."
"I think people who bought an Xbox One are going to be in for an awesome generation of games that are only going to get better," added Penello. "And an awesome generation of experiences. I think these little things get way overblown versus the quality of the games and the real differences in the two experiences, which are pretty minor."
But for Fergal Gara, Sony's UK marketing director, seeing this performance lead out of the gate is a realization of Sony's developer-friendly focus behind the PlayStation 4. The exec recounted the PS4's first public showing from February last year "when [lead system architect] Mark Cerny stood up and said 'I've spent five years listening to game developers, listening to what they want from the next-generation device, and I've done my damnedest to build that.'"
"A strong start is invaluable, but it definitely isn't the whole job."
Gara, thinks Cerny's "listening to game developers" message is key. "Never was a truer word spoken," he said. "It is as simple as that. [PlayStation 4] is much easier to develop for, and it is performing and packing the punch that developers want."
Sony's confident approach comes after it announced last week that it has currently sold 1.5 PlayStation 4's in the UK for every Xbox One, with Gara saying that Sony needed to "rediscover some grit" when it came to this generation of consoles.
When asked how Sony intends to keep the hardware ratio tipped in its favor, Gara said, "We came up with the right product at the right price, for the right core audience to get us off to a strong start. We think we've done that very, very well. But that's not the whole job. A strong start is invaluable, but it definitely isn't the whole job. At this stage in the PlayStation 3 life cycle versus Xbox 360, we hadn't even launched. We were 16 months behind."
"A lot can be achieved--million of consoles can be achieved--despite a poor start, and we certainly had that the last time around."