The Cornerplay: Xbox One's struggles are traceable to one bad decision

By Jeffrey Yuwono · 80 replies
Oct 30, 2014
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  1. Microsoft made two important announcements recently. The first was about Office 365 becoming a game changer. Today, I'll touch on the $50 price drop for the Xbox One. From November 2nd to January 2nd, you can get any Xbox One SKU for...

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  2. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    I agree with this analysis of the hardware though to point out as well there is a difference in shaders on the PS4 and Xbox ONE (Albeit the core clocks close the gap a bit). Microsoft should have opted for DDR5 on their console and that would have made things a lot easier for programmers and lessened the impact.

    I honestly do think given a bit of time, things will even back out because the eSRAM is nothing that new in the end to those already familiar with the Xbox 360 programming style (Though it used eDRAM which is different) but I can see it making more of an impact as time moves forward and lessening the gap (Especially with exclusives). Right now many companies are in a "Rush" so to speak to get next generation games out as fast as possible to fill up on the new console hype on top of the companies (Sony and Microsoft) wanting more and more games out as fast as can be made. This causes time constraints and sometimes you cannot expect programmers to have enough time to get acquainted with new things and even with these consoles being very close to PC's its still going to take time to get used to programming on these devices especially with curve balls like eSRAM.

    Great article, I enjoyed the different viewpoint.
  3. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    I agree except for this, Even if they did change the Memory System to use DDR5, the GPU itself is considerably weaker:

    "Microsoft elected to implement 12 compute units, two geometry engines and 16 ROPs, while Sony went for 18 CUs, two geometry engines and 32 ROPs"

    If you look at the PS3 and Xbox360, Developers use every inch of power near the end of their life cycle (GTA5 for example) and that considerable boost for the PS4 would still play to Sony's advantage.

    Microsoft also made the mistake of putting in a weak GPU and a "needs considerable optimization" memory system then forced the Kinect in that ate an extra 10% of the GPU!

    That right there, has spelt trouble for Microsoft.

    Also I'd like to add, "Xbox fans will argue the visual differences are imperceptible" not true, screenshot differences you can only see slight differences, when you see them running side by side when one is running at 792p (Xbox) and the other at 900p (PS4) it's actually very noticeable.
    gingerbill likes this.
  4. money

    money TS Enthusiast Posts: 45   +9

    Apparently the author of this article doesn't know the difference between console and PC gamers. 99.99% of people who buy consoles don't know and don't care what DDR3/5 is and at how MHz they run, all they care about is games.
  5. Pinkie Pie

    Pinkie Pie TS Booster Posts: 70   +30

    I don't think this is the only reason. The forced bundling of Kinect, the always on scheme and all the other bad decisions they made gave the console a very bad name right from the start. A bad first impression can ruin your product.
    gingerbill likes this.
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Excellent article. As I suspected from the Xbox One's Year 1 struggles thus far, they have boxed themselves into a corner. The difference in hardware capabilities is trivial right now. It will also be trivial for the next two years. Once the PS4 and XBO move into their prime years, however, the gap will be fairly noticeable (provided everything hasn't gone multi-platform by then).

    99.99% of people who buy consoles not knowing the difference between DDR3 and GDDR5 will nonetheless opt for the latter because it sounds more powerful. When people find themselves ignorant, they often fill in the blanks with what they feel is correct. "GDDR5" feels better.
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,301   +428

    I would own neither
  8. JohnCB

    JohnCB TS Booster Posts: 118   +63

    I don't think the RAM is the single point of failure for the console's success.

    Quite frankly, both the X1 and the PS4 are significantly underpowered for a 2014 release. Hype can only push your product so far and it seems like a common sentiment that these "next gen" consoles are underwhelming at best.

    The fact that nearly all developers are unable to hit the most basic 1080p @ 60fps is a pretty good indicator.
    cliffordcooley, 9Nails and davislane1 like this.
  9. MrBonkers

    MrBonkers TS Rookie

    You'd think so, but my friend (who is an avid pc gamer and a firm believer in the PC Master Race), strategized his purchase of a PS4 for 6 weeks after launch just so he could make doubly sure that he was purchasing the next best thing after his PC.
  10. resolutiongate sigh
    S_Brideau likes this.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,691

    Your friend is nutz! lol
  12. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    Well me and my friends are all avid PC gamers, custom builds and what not and we usually get at least one console each, we liked playing Halo and Gears of War together. This time round we've all gone for the PS4 for Destiny, Last of Us and whatever else comes out.

    As much as we enjoy having our games on PC (most of our games are on PC) some games are exclusive and some just are more enjoyable on console (for some reason we all enjoy playing GTA on console more than PC and none of us can figure out why?!).

    Edit: When I say me and my friends that's about 9 of us that custom build our PC's but overall 12 of us.
  13. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    While the author makes a convincing argument, most gamers don't care about the power of the machine. What killed Microsoft is easily traceable to the boneheaded decision to pack a useless peripheral with the system, lie about it being necessary to operate the system, and charge a $100 premium right when Sony decided otherwise and charged $100 less for the system. The PS4 having slightly more power than Xbone is just gravy.

    MS has to lower the price because it is not moving as many systems as it thought it could. If it dropped the price any lower it would sign the death warrant for Xbox One. And I don't want it to because I still need to get to Generation 10 in Titanfall.
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,691

    I get that, but to study the console as if you are part of the engineering department is crazy. Might be different if you could change the specs after the console came out. But that's not the case, so why bother checking the specs? Sure take a look at the surface specs and the performance comparison. But overall I'd bet anyone would have just as much fun regardless of which console was actually chosen, aside from exclusives that is.
  15. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,651   +1,092

    For all of you who keep arguing about why the article states that the memory is the key difference, here's a short summary:
    1. using ESRAM means they had significantly less space on the die for the GPU thus resulting in a 50% smaller GPU on the xbox one. it also makes makes PS4's die less complicated to produce and will be easier to make a die shrink for it in the future.
    "Microsoft elected to implement 12 compute units, two geometry engines and 16 ROPs, while Sony went for 18 CUs, two geometry engines and 32 ROPs"
    -on PCs 32 ROPs are considered standard for HD gaming
    2. The amount of ESRAM they managed to put in too small to make a significant difference between the memory speeds/bandwidth. Very few will be able to optimize the games so that it use the 32MB of ESRAM efficiently.
    3. The lower memory timings of DDR3 are negated by the higher speeds of the GDDR5 resulting in similar latency, but the lower bandwidth of DDR3 will result in a performance loss in memory intensive applications/games.
    4. PS3 vs Xbox360 showed that having a less complicated platform is a big plus for developers
    5. Having a smaller die should, in theory, mean that the PS4 can put a smaller heatsink on it and still have really good heat dissipation. This might be why the PS4 is smaller (besides the obvious fear that ms has of creating another ring of death).
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
    SuperVeloce likes this.
  16. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    Meh, we all changed the hard drives to something a bit more potent, But it's more, going from PC gaming where we all game at 1080p-2k G-Sync then go to a console that outputs at 792p is quite an eye sore, most PS4 games run considerably higher than that. We also don't like investing much in the console, we all wanted to choose the most powerful one knowing it would be less of a step down from the PC and would always have the better experience when it's a multi-platform game that excludes the PC. Plus we find it quite fascinating how much developers can pull out of these machines, the GPU in the PS4 is the most powerful a console has ever had. If you compare the Desktop equivalents of the two GPU's, the one in the PS4 is considerably better.
  17. You're wrong, but I appreciate your candor. The perception of GDDR5 RAM is unwaining. Most don't understand that its glorified DDR3 RAM making it equivalent to the DDR3 RAM in the XBox One. Most don't understand that the G stands for Graphics, but it is used for all CPU processes as well. Most do not understand that THERE IS NO dedicated graphics RAM in the PS4 and that is why it is not capable of 4K gaming while the XBox One is. If I had to say anything, I would say that Microsoft is taking it easy on Sony because Sony is going belly up. Like they did with Apple when it went belly up. Microsoft enjoys competition. It makes it a better company. But as for thier choices, it was to create a new XBox 360 at the same time they released the XBox One. Thats the only reason XBox One sales are not at pace with PS4. The bottom line is that the division for XBox profit is $475 million, and Sony's profit for the Playstation Division is $47 million. Microsoft has reigned supreme once again. And Sony is barely staying in business because Microsoft isn't exposing the weak hardware that Sony is portraying as superior.
  18. Some interesting stuff, but I feel that many people are missing the point that the X1 is successful in it's own right. Of course in comparison to PS4 it's not as successful, but around 6 million people have one and quite a few will be added this holiday season with some key games launches + the price drop in US. This is a respectable user base and if you ask people if they are happy with their X1, the response is usually positive.

    As for the point about people buying the PS4 version of the game when they have both consoles, I think this is a tiny demographic and not material to the success of either franchise.
  19. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,651   +1,092

    We barely have 4K gaming on PCs that cost thousands, GDDR5 has nothing to do with 4k gaming besides the quantity(which should be enough for 4k ~ 4-6GBs). It's about the extremely high amount of pixels the GPU has to push. you need 3-4 times TFlops than what these consoles have.
    And both consoles have the memory "dedicated" to the GPU. You need to research how they work before you make such statements. We aren't talking about laptops here.
    SuperVeloce and gingerbill like this.
  20. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,144   +911

    I was going to reply to "guest" but such a comment was too ridiculous I assumed he was just trolling xD
    yukka, gingerbill and Puiu like this.
  21. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    At least give the Guest props for waiting 15 comments before posting a fanboyism. That took willpower.
    Burty117, Puiu and cmbjive like this.
  22. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,691

    Props for willpower!
    gingerbill and Puiu like this.
  23. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    I think Ghost Ryder signed out and posted as Guest. I kid, I kid.
    Puiu and davislane1 like this.
  24. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 953   +515

    It sounds like the author is saying that because the xb1 is and sounds less powerful, it has already failed.......
    Did he pay attention to last gen with the 360 and ps3?
  25. I am really amused at all the people saying "Console gamers don't care about graphics." Based on what? All data suggests that console gamers (Like all other hardware buyers) do care about graphics.

    P.S. The PS4 has the rough equivalent of a 7870, so unless you people think that or similar cards like a 580/660 Ti are weak; then you need to admit the PS4 is perfectly capable for $400. Hell most gaming PC's are little weaker than the Xbox One (7770), so get over yourselves.

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