PlayStation 4 is currently around 50 per cent faster than its rival Xbox One. Multiple high-level game development sources have described the difference in performance between the consoles as “significant” and “obvious.”
Our contacts have told us that memory reads on PS4 are 40-50 per cent quicker than Xbox One, and its ALU (Arithmetic Logic Unit) is around 50 per cent faster. One basic example we were given suggested that without optimisation for either console, a platform-agnostic development build can run at around 30FPS in 1920×1080 on PS4, but it’ll run at “20-something” FPS in 1600×900 on Xbox One. “Xbox One is weaker and it’s a pain to use its ESRAM,” concluded one developer.
Microsoft is aware of the problem and, having recently upped the clock speed of Xbox One, is working hard to close the gap on PS4, though one developer we spoke to downplayed the move. “The clock speed update is not significant, it does not change things that much,” he said. “Of course, something is better than nothing.”
Even this close to launch, “the hardware isn’t locked,” said another source. Sony and Microsoft are each still working on the graphics drivers for each console, and Xbox One is lagging behind in this regard – Microsoft “has been late on their drivers and that has been hurting them,” said one source. Another described Xbox One’s graphics drivers less charitably as “horrible”. Both consoles’ graphics drivers will continue to improve right up to – and beyond – launch, which will even up the difference in performance a little.