That’s according to Chris Grannell, an industry veteran who spent almost 14 years at the now-defunct Studio Liverpool, which was responsible for the blisteringly-fast WipEout games. Grannell also spent time at Guerrilla Games, the developer behind the PS4 smash-hit Horizon: Zero Dawn.
Speaking on the RDX podcast, Grannell said: “PS5 is not a bad console, it’s an absolute beast of a piece of hardware. But it’s just a piece of hardware which is slower on numerous kinds of paths than what Microsoft has put together.”
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We already know that Microsoft has Sony beat when it comes to direct, technical comparisons between the Xbox Series X and PS5 specs, and it seems that Grannell shares that opinion. “The machine that Microsoft has put together is an absolute beast compared to what Sony has put together,” said Grannell. This opinion is also shared among other developers that Grannell has spoken to, apparently.
Perhaps somewhat controversially, Grannell also believes that Sony has “rested on their laurels” after the success of PS4. “They’ve got this massive market share and lead, and they’ve done a kind of PS3 is what I’ve been hearing. It’s not that bad in terms of hardware and complications, and things like that, but just a little bit of they didn’t really kind of appreciate what Xbox were going to try and do in terms of this power narrative.”
Microsoft is clearly feeling bullish about the Xbox Series X specs, and has been positioning its next-gen console as the “most powerful” console ever made. Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently revealed that the company felt “even better” about Xbox Series X after Sony’s PS5 hardware reveal.
Of course, having the most powerful console on the market doesn’t guarantee success by any means. It’s ultimately the games and services that define a console generation and Sony has a history of creating compelling exclusives that Microsoft hasn’t been able to match in recent years.
Grannell appears to agree, and is confident that the PS5 will benefit from a strong first-party lineup. “It’s going to be the first-party studios that shine until the third-parties start to really get their head around things,” Grannell went on to add: “You’re going to see absolutely incredible work from Guerrilla Games, you’re going to see incredible work from Insomniac - the usual suspects.”
Grannell believes the most noticeable discrepancy between the Xbox Series X and PS5 when it comes to performance is how each console handles real-time ray-tracing.
“If you look at the throughput and ray-tracing capability [of Xbox Series X] then you start to… understand why developers would be saying it’s kind of staggering,” Grannell explained. “So you’ve got the maths, then you start looking at the real-time ray-tracing capability… that’s where Sony has been caught off guard.”
One PS5 feature that is receiving praise, however, is the PS5’s incredibly fast SSD, which has double the raw throughput of the Xbox Series X drive. This will allow developers to load assets much quicker, and potentially avoid load times entirely
One controller to rule them all
Sony is also banking on its innovative DualSense controller, which supports haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to make games feel more ‘immersive’ (though we're skeptical about how many devs will use it). Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X controller is a far more conservative refinement of the current Xbox One controller, which is admittedly a fan-favorite with many gamers.
Both consoles will support backwards compatibility, although Microsoft’s Xbox Series X is likely to support thousands of titles from the entire Xbox back catalog (and will do some cool things with HDR, too), while Sony seems to be focusing strictly on PS4 games.
While we still don’t have a release date for either the Xbox Series X or PS5 (and still don’t know what the PS5 even looks like – though we have speculated), the console wars are already beginning to hot up as we get closer to the next console generation.
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