Microsoft product planning manager Albert Penello referred to the relative disparity between Xbox One and PS4 hardware as “meaningless" last week, arguing that consoles live or die on the strength of their exclusive software. After riling up a few fanboys, he's back for another round.
Penello made his original comments to OXM, stating that "Sony decided to go out and publish a bunch of numbers, which are in some ways meaningless." He then assured gamers that the Xbox One's hardware is "tweaked for maximum performance," but that the argument was pointless because the quality of exclusive games are much more important. "Here's what you care about," he said. "You bought a system to play great games and have great experiences. I feel like our games and experiences are going to be every bit as good, if not better, technically - on top of all the magic we're going to add with the instant switching, and the power of the cloud.
"So the whole numbers game - yeah, I've been following it online and it's like, we tried having that argument last time. Do I want to talk about HDMI 1.3 or 1.4, it's like 'argh!' It doesn't matter."
As you'd expect, this was met with some irate comments from all corners of the internet, with some consumers feeling that he was belittling the PS4 hardware. Penello has since commented on NeoGAF to better explain his point of view.
“I appreciate those who understand the point I was trying to get across," he wrote. "It’s always hard, after sitting doing interviews all day, and you’re trying to have an engaging conversation with someone, and words get pulled out our the tone what you’re trying to say didn’t come out how you meant it.
“I’m not diminishing Sony’s performance claims and I wasn’t trying to be arrogant or dismissive. What I was trying to say is – I’m not Sony’s engineering team. So I can’t comment on what they have published as specs. I know what our teams are doing, and I know how they thought about architecting the system. The guys who are building these machines (on both sides) are unbelievably talented and experts in their field. Nobody knows the specifics of how the machines are architected or if there may be bottlenecks in one system or accelerators in another that change the impact of the published specs.”
Penello then reiterated his point about games being more important than specifications. “What I believe is that our games are going to be great and they are going to look next-gen, and I *think* E3 sort of showed that. And great games are what matters. And while you guys joke about the cloud stuff, I think the stuff the Respawn guys have said starts to clear up what we’ve been talking about with cloud performance (cue the “have you seen Titanfall” meme).
“Games on both systems looked awesome. I was there, and while I know RISE took a hit on the gameplay that was shown, I thought it was the most next-gen looking game I saw on either platform. Of course, I get I’m biased and I didn’t have time to see everything.
“As always, I love taking the hits. And I appreciate that while the words I used may were probably worth some scrutiny, I do appreciate that some of you got what I was trying to say.”
We agree with him, to be honest, apart from the fact that RYSE looked freaking terrible. No console generation has ever been won by the most technically accomplished machine (Original Xbox? N64? Ring any bells?), with savvy gamers voting with their wallets on game lineups. We'll naturally be able to get a better picture of what the PS4 and Xbox One plan to bring to the table closer to launch - though Microsoft will need to seriously improve their indie, free to play and self-publishing programmes in the near future.