The PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X are conceptually very similar systems- functionally, too, they are equal, because even though the Xbox One X hardware is far more powerful than the PS4 Pro’s hardware is, the simple fact of the matter is that both, Microsoft and Sony have mandated that these new consoles need to be tethered to their base SKUs (the PS4 and Xbox One respectively)- in other words, developers can’t make Pro or One X exclusive games. At best they can embellish existing games on the new platforms.
What this means, then, is that even while the Xbox One X’s hard specs and performance are far better than the PS4 Pro’s, I don’t think there is that much of a difference to the end consumer. However, it seems like Lewis Ward, IDC’s Research Director, Gaming and VR/AR, does not. In an exclusive interview with GamingBolt, Ward drew a difference between the Pro and the One X, noting that while Sony will implement and introduce a proper PS5 in a few years, Microsoft will want to ride out the One X for a while.
“Pro is mostly a marketing gimmick,” he said, when asked about the question of a PS5 rather than further iterative upgrades from Sony. “It’s nothing like Xbox One X in terms of the performance lift. It’s basically a standard console refresh, but Sony tweaked a few internals and got a 10% performance boost for the Pro. Big whoop. Xbox One X is a much more fundamental redesign and it’s at least 40% more potent than the PS4 or the initial Xbox One SKUs. Xbox One X will be able to do VR and AR, although Microsoft will wait to turn that feature on until there’s some great software for it – and that will largely be about Win10 PC app development. Xbox One X will eventually run content preexisting Xbox One’s don’t, and I kind of don’t blame Microsoft for holding onto that shoe for a while (at least late 2018 and perhaps 2019). Xbox One X is a 8.5 gen console. PS4 Pro isn’t.”
Inasmuch as Ward is saying that Sony will have a proper PS5 sooner than Microsoft has a proper Xbox One successor, I agree- but I can’t say I agree with his takeaway regarding the two machines at all. Not only do I feel that he is underselling the Pro a fair bit here, the functional lack of a difference between the two machines as a result of both of them being unable to get exclusives is also something that cannot be undermined.
It’s also unclear for now how successful the Xbox One X will be for Microsoft in the long run- if it isn’t, I can very well see Microsoft simply choosing to push out a new next generation Xbox rather than riding it out.