Despite the various pandemic-related issues that both companies are facing, Sony and Microsoft seem to be on course for releasing their next-gen consoles. In this day and age, however, it’s interesting to see their differences in messaging. This hasn’t escaped the notice of developers like LionWing, which recently released The Adventures of Ten and Till on PC.
We had a chance to speak to Bradly Halestorm, founder and director of operations, about the difference in clockspeed for the Xbox Series X and PS5. While the former sports an octa-core Zen 2 CPU running at 3.8 GHz, the latter is relying on an octa-core Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.5 GHz (at variable frequency). The most interesting difference, however, is that the PS5 specs feature a variable frequency compared to Xbox Series X’s fixed frequency.
As Halestorm notes, “Variable frequency is an interesting discussion in the console world, primarily because it’s never been a discussion in the console world. Sony’s stated that the PS5 will alter CPU and GPU frequency in way that allows developers not to have to worry about it, which is what you would say if you were trying to court developers and also put them at ease.
“Microsoft is taking the opposite approach; they’re touting the Series X’s fixed frequencies. It’s fascinating to see how the two companies are going about nudging developers into the coming gen.”
The messaging becomes more interesting when you factor Microsoft’s cross-gen policy into the mix. Is a more powerful console really that impactful when supporting previous gen users is the main agenda, at least when the Xbox Series X launches? Halestorm said, “I don’t mean to punt on this answer as well, but I’m not sure. The cross-gen stuff is interesting and is a very consumer-first strategy.
“I do think, however, that the further we get into this next console cycle – and thereby the further we get away from the current one – the more we’ll see if there truly is an advantage in that cross-gen policy.
“Right now, it’s smart to promote cross-gen within your own family of consoles; after all, not everyone will upgrade to a PS5 or XSX this November or even next year. But 4 years down the road, will developers still be as willing to allocate resources to ensuring that their game runs on a console from the previous generation that is, at that point, nearly half a decade old? I’m not so certain.”
For the time being at least, cross-gen titles like Scarlet Nexus, DiRT 5 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will hog the spotlight when the PS5 and Xbox Series X release. How the next-gen roster for both consoles will shape up especially as their market share grows remains to be seen. In the meantime, the PS5 and Xbox Series X are both slated to release in holiday 2020.