Xbone Multiplatform Titles Underwhelm
Microsoft’s recent mantra for their Xbone console has been that Sony’s superior hardware specs do not mean anything, and that people need to wait for games to release before judging the Xbone’s efficacy in matching the PS4. Microsoft’s Albert Penello went so far as to say:
“People DO understand that Microsoft has some of the smartest graphics programmers IN THE WORLD. We CREATED DirectX, the standard API’s that everyone programs against. So while people laude Sony for their HW skills, do you really think we don’t know how to build a system optimized for maximizing graphics for programmers? Seriously?
There is no way we’re giving up a 30%+ advantage to Sony. And ANYONE who has seen both systems running could say there are great looking games on both systems. If there was really huge performance difference – it would be obvious.”
If the Xbone’s initial third party releases are anything to go by then Penello is correct in stating that there is no way that Microsoft are giving up a thirty percent advantage to Sony, because Sony’s advantage looks to vary between fifty and one hundred percent! The technical make-up of what are sure to be the two biggest third party titles at the launch of both next-gen consoles are now a known quantity, and the situation is not looking good for Microsoft. Both Call of Duty:Ghosts and Battlefield 4 will display at 720P on Xbone, while respectively displaying at 1080P and 900P on the PS4, making for an increase in display pixels of roughly one hundred percent and fifty percent in each case. To add insult to injury, the PS4 version of Battlefield 4 actually maintains a more stable framerate while it is pumping out fifty percent more pixels than the Xbone. No doubt this is why EA have made the unprecedented move of lifting the review embargo on the PC and PS4 versions of the game, while keeping it in place for the inferior Xbone port, as though it were a red-headed step-child.
In all fairness, the Xbone will not be stuck at 720P for all games, as the games that have been confirmed at 720P have thus far only included titles that target 60fps gameplay. Moreover, this disparity may shrink in time as developers learn how to better use the Xbone’s 32MB of eSRAM that is embedded in the GPU. That said, for the PS4 to be showing such domination right out of the gates, while the Xbone struggles with two cross-generational titles designed to run on last generation’s consoles, really serves to give lie to all of Microsoft’s bluster about the PS4’s larger GPU being subject to diminishing returns.
Sony Strips More Functionality from the PS4
On last week’s podcast the Caspius.com team briefly discussed Sony’s tendency to deliberately hobble the functionality of their consoles so that they can sell their customers content that they already own. In that case we were discussing the lack of PS1 gamedisc support on offer to owners of Sony’s PS4, but at least this oversight could conceivably [with a little mental gymnastry, and liberal amounts of gormless optimism] as being attributable to laziness rather than extreme avarice. This is not so the case with Sony’s most recent omission.
Every Sony home console ever created has supported the playback of music CDs. Every Sony console since the PSP has supported the playback of mp3 files. With the PS3 one was even able to stream media content from a local PC network. All of this functionality is set to receive the chop with the PS4, as the only way for one to now enjoy a bit of music while gaming is to purchase a subscription to Sony’s Music Unlimited program – the astounding greed of which is sufficient to make one feel physically sickened. At least the Xbone is set to support the playback of basic music formats!
“The music destination on PlayStation 4. Music Unlimited is a cloud-based, ad-free music subscription service that enhances and simplifies music discovery from an extensive catalog of millions of songs. On PS4, users can create the soundtrack of their choice, to listen to while playing their favorite games. On the go, the service can be enjoyed on a variety of portable devices such as PS Vita, Android phones and tablets, and iOS devices such as iPhone.”
On a lighter note, the extensive Q&A that Sony published this week has confirmed that they have once again been able to build their new console’s power supply into the console itself, so no ugly Microsoft power bricks will be necessary. The console is set to be significantly quieter than the PS3, and will no longer support the use of external hard drives, which is no major loss since the PS4’s internal hard drive will be easily replaceable, as with the PS3. There has been much talk of the difficulties inherent in obtaining one of Sony’s vaunted PS4s at launch, yet one look at the launch line-up gives one the impression that very little stands to be lost if one has to wait until the New Year to pick one up. Killzone: Shadow Fall, Contrast, and Knack all look like things that one would be interested in playing, but at the same time they do not seem as compelling as all that.
Nintendo is ridiculous. Everyone knows this, and yet in spite of this they are, on occasion, still capable of doing something so gibberingly retarded that it still manages to be hilarious. Nintendo has this week suspended the 3DS’ Swapnote feature on account of the fact that people have been friending one another and using the program to send each other offensive material [cocks] – what did Nintendo think would happen when they allowed users to send one another private picture messages?
Nintendo, self-appointed moral custodian of all Nintendo users, has decided in their infinite wisdom that people should not be permitted to send naughty private massages because ‘think of the children’! Naughty messages are not suitable for young children, and so the entire service requires shutting down because all Nintendo users are idiots and babies, and must be protected at all times! It would be one thing if Nintendo just decided to pull the plug on the service, but one half suspects that Nintendo will work hard to restore it with the small addition of Miiverse style moderator oversight – because Nintendo!
In other Nintendo news, EA has this week revealed that only 1.3 percent of the 695 million dollars they made during the last financial year came from Wii U sales, vindicating their decision to move away from Wii U development. It is all very fine for Nintendo fanboys to label the four games that EA have released for the system as bad ports, and as not the sort of thing that would sell on a Nintendo platform, and they would be right up to a point, yet it is passing difficult for one to even conceive of an EA project which would perform well on the Wii U. Nintendo consoles have always had a very specific audience, an audience which tends to respond well to colourful mascot games like Rayman Legends, and which is apt to respond with indifference to mature multi-platform titles. If EA cannot port the types of games they make to the Wii U and still make money, then there is very little point in their continued support of the system.