Arguing over which console is better has been a habit of gamers since the start of console gaming itself. There are plenty of elements at play, from a machine’s power to its exclusive games. This generation was no exception, with the PS3, XBOX360, and PC fanbase arguing about which is better even now, as we move into the next generation. Each machine has its own niche, so of course there is no clear winner in the ‘war’—but that doesn’t make those arguments futile. Since competition is the main driving factor of the games economy, systems which have clear differences and unique advantages mean a generation is likely to be successful overall. With the leak of rumored specs for Microsoft’s codenamed ‘Durango’ and Sony’s codenamed ‘Orbis,’ we can see this trend continuing in the next generation.
The supposed leak has the PS4/Orbis at a run-capability of 1.84 teraflops, while the XBOX720/Durango will have a run-capability of 1.23 TF. Durango is supposedly based on a Radeon HD 8770 GPU (not much better than a typical PC), while the PS4 has been previously rumored to run on AMD’s A10 APU. While the Orbis would have more base power than the Durango, the Durango has much more RAM—8GB, compared to the Orbis’s 4GB. With 3GB reserved for background operations on the Durango and 1GB on the Orbis, this means the Durango would far outclass the Orbis when it comes to game memory (5GB vs 3GB). Both have huge improvements compared to current gen consoles, but their distinct differences means that the consoles will have their own specialties—and therefore, a fanbase that won’t let up about which one is better. It also means that developers will adopt one that matches the game they are making—a simple game that requires a lot of RAM would go for the Durango, while a complex game that needs raw power to generate graphics would go for the Orbis.
In the end, these are all just rumors and speculation. I can only hope Microsoft won’t actually name their next console Durango, and I can only hope that the software improvements will be just as impressive as their hardware improvements. As Nintendo has shown with their Wii, Wii U, DS, and 3DS, power isn’t everything—it’s about affordability and accessibility. However, Microsoft and Sony have forged their own niches, so it may not apply next generation. One caters towards social gaming, with improved multiplayer features and easy PC connections, while the other caters towards high-end performance and raw power.
With the rumored specs, it looks like the console wars won’t be letting up for at least another five years—however long it takes for the next generation to cycle out. With major competitors from the phone and tablet market, it looks like the next generation of gaming will have the most competition out of all generations beforehand. Game companies will be forced to innovate and improve at a high speed to keep up with tablets, which are both convenient and quickly becoming as powerful as consoles. This competition is ultimately a good thing for gaming—we’ll continue to see these large companies forging loyalties with developers and innovating the ways we can interact with games.