The real issue with Scorpio vs Ps4 Pro... / by Larry Charles

When it comes to game development there are a lot of people that would argue, "Console specs don't matter". And there's a lot of truth to the statement but not on a surface level. Console specs do indeed matter. The longevity of a console has a lot to do with it's power and performance. But the main thing that DOES help validate the claim of the 'unimportance' of specs is, it's all about the games.

The limiting factor, the lowest common denominator that cant be ignored is it's all about the games. You see developing video games is indeed expensive and the companies that develop software for consoles try their best to mitigate as much risk as possible. No third party developer hoping to make return on their franchise that will exist on both PS4 pro and Scorpio is going to deliver an experience that pushes both platforms to their maximum potential, they're merely going to do as good as they possibly can for the worst performing system, then parity that on the other device. This is easily summed up with a graphic...

Assuming this made up graphic is a representation of a comparison of the PS4 Pro's performance capability to the Project Scorpio Capability, third party developer's ideal target level of performance, or the bar that they'll most likely seek to achieve is represented by the pink line. Doing any more work than required to hit this bar, means you'll be creating a product that is not capable of running optimized on the PS4 Pro, and you will potentially be generating content that a large audience will not be able to see, experience or appreciate properly. So instead of pushing both consoles to their limit, it's a better business move to develop for the highest common denominator. This is the best way I can explain why people say the specs don't matter. It really does come down to the games but there is one important thing about the specs that people cant forget about.

People still buy, (and in large) console exclusives. So if Microsoft really wanted to make sure that the extra performance they're getting out of their boxes adds value to the experience, it would be in their best interest to get their exclusive IP's developed to run as close to the full potential of the box as possible. If Microsoft can publish exclusive content that far outshines their rival's closest similar title, it would definitely help sway opinion in favor of their device. That wont make them a clear winner, or completely close the sales gap between Playstation and Microsoft's consoles, but it's definitely the move that needs to be made. Third party games available on both consoles aren't opinion swaying. No one picks the One vs 4 because that system has the better version of Battlefield 1. It's the community of players, playing games on those consoles that do more to sway votes. So the battle has to be won outside of software. Even if you consider exclusives, I would venture to say that more people buy the consoles without thinking explicitly which exclusives they would have or miss out on, and instead made their purchases thinking which group of friends are available, which device has the better service after purchase. This is where Microsoft is concentrating their efforts now.

On the Playstation side, if I were Sony, the last thing I would do is coast. With Scorpio being the better machine in every way, and even including 4K HD bluray technology that is not found on the Playstation 4 pro, they're going to need to be incredibly creative on the service to help continue to outpace the Microsoft team. They have the biggest community currently, but Microsoft is a bigger and more powerful technology company. Clearly they're aware of this as they've been significantly investing in new services for their customers, offering TV through Playstation Vue, streaming games membership ala Netflix with Playstation Now, and of course continuing to develop their offerings with Playstation Gold, they have a great start. I would say though they're still going to need to add a few more offerings to their lineup that DO NOT cost additional money for their subscribers. Both Vue and Now are additional purchases where as Microsoft has partnered with BEAM for built in streaming technology & broadcast features for no additional cost. Sony is going to need to add some beef, that they give away. Not doing so is going to allow Microsoft to narrow the gap.

As a game developer though I do have to be honest, I will do my best to be able to afford both. I hate missing out on exclusives and I always want to see what every big game is doing to stay ahead of the competition. I am not fortunate enough though to have both this year so I will likely have to commit to one over the other when I transition my house into a 4K dwelling... But I understand this is not everyone's option. I look forward to seeing how well they both do in the near future and am most interested in seeing how consoles with a half life work out as a concept.

Check out these videos for more content on the PS4 Pro and Project Scorpio