Xbox’s Phil Harrison and PlayStation’s Fergal Gara on the next gen power struggle

Xbox’s Phil Harrison and PlayStation’s Fergal Gara have responded to developer claims that PS4 is currently the more powerful console.

In a report we published last month, several senior developers working with both consoles told us that PS4 was around 50 per faster than its rival, with the differences between the consoles’ performance “significant” and “obvious”. “Xbox One is weaker and it’s a pain to use its ESRAM,” concluded one developer.

Last week at Eurogamer Expo, we asked Phil Harrison, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment business, if he had received similar feedback from developers working with both consoles.

“Well I think there’s a couple of things I would say, one is that every platform I’ve ever been involved in somebody has said ‘oh, this has got more gigaflops or more teraflops than the other one,’ and at the end of the day it never really matters,” he told us. “It’s all about having the best games and having the most impressive experiences, and clearly Xbox One has the best games. So that would be my first response.”

“The other is that any time that you ask a developer – including, by the way, our own internal studios – in the run up to launch of a console you’re going to get a slightly nuanced answer because the operating system’s not finished, the performance of the machine’s not locked, and as you may be aware we can increase CPU and GPU capability on Xbox One,” continued Harrison. “So I think it’s impossible to draw any conclusions from that based on pre-launch unfinished hardware and unfinished operating systems.

“My main response is going to be always that it’s about having the best game experiences and the widest possible set of content that people want to play.”

Microsoft’s Phil Harrison and Sony’s Fergal Gara.

We also asked the SCE VP and managing director for the UK and Ireland Fergal Gara if developer feedback tallies with our report. “We are getting similar feedback, and the overwhelming thing is that developers are delighted with PlayStation 4,” he told us. “It’s a big step on for us from PlayStation 3 which was less easy and there was a lot of work to be done post day one. This time we’re in very very good shape.”

“[Developers are] such an enormously important community to the success of the device,” he continued. “You heard Mark Cerny say back in February that it was five years of listening and responding – it has got to yield a good result, so having the developer at the core of your thinking right from the start has delivered that spec, and delivered the development tools that they’re all finding so easy.

“So yes, there’s no glass ceiling in terms of what [developers] want to do, and it’s easy to do it. They are two incredibly strong bits of feedback and we’re really proud of it.”

PlayStation 4 launches in the US on November 15, with EU territories to follow on November 29. Xbox One will launch in 13 key countries on November 22. You can read more about how Microsoft’s console went from crisis to contender in our latest issue.

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