When looking at the makeup of Sony's
upcoming PlayStation 4
(PS4) console, it's essentially a PC platform in console skins
. Sony's quite proud of the hardware underneath the PS4's hood, which includes a custom AMD Jaguar 8-core x86 processor, 8GB of unified GDDR5 memory, 500GB hard disk drive (HDD), and a GPU that's roughly equivalent to an AMD Radeon 7870 GHz Edition graphics card. Now that's all well and dandy, but as far as Microsoft's Albert Penello is concerned, it amounts to a bunch of chest thumping over nothing meaningful.
Penello is Microsoft's Senior Director of Product Management and Planning, so it goes without saying that he has a vested interest in the Xbox One being successful. In an interview with The Official Xbox Magazine
, Penello had some interesting things to say about Sony's strategy of putting so much focus on the hardware.
"The problem is that Sony decided to go out and publish a bunch of numbers, which are in some way meaningless," Penello said. "Because this isn't like 1990, when ti was 16-bit versus 32-bit. As a matter of fact, they actually go out and they talk about how proud they are about their off-the-shelf parts. our guys will say, 'We touched every single component in the box and everything there is tweaked for optimum performance.'"
Penello says he'd be content to not even discuss hardware, because in the end, it's a "pointless argument" since the average Joe doesn't truly grasp the underlying architecture anyway. Instead, it's all about the games.
"Do I want to talk about HDMI 1.3 or 1.4, it's like 'argh!' It doesn't matter," Penello says. "Did you see Call of Duty, it looks f**king awesome! It's going to be great, you know. So we're just saying, it's not worth the debate."
Penello brings up a fair point, and indeed, it's mostly about the games. However, there's two things he's overlooking. First, Microsoft and Sony are working hard to promote these consoles as more than just gaming machines, so in that respect, the specs certainly matter. And secondly, just because the average person might not understand the technical details of either console, there are plenty of gamers who do.