Microsoft and Sony have been firing shots at each other before their new consoles launched, and now that the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are out, the competition has just gotten even hotter. This time, however, it will be gamers and critics who will be the judges and some are already calling Microsoft out for falling very short of its “world’s most powerful console” boast. Naturally, the Xbox maker is saying it didn’t lie, it’s just that developers weren’t completely prepared for the awesomeness of the Xbox Series X’s capabilities, or so it argues.
At least on paper, the Xbox Series X definitely has a lot going for it. Microsoft spares no effort advertising the console’s 12-teraflop GPU performance or its “full AMD RDNA2 support”. The latter is cited as the reason why Microsoft delayed the Xbox Series X’s launch while it waited for AMD to deliver. It may also be the direct or indirect cause of these criticisms about the console’s performance against its rival.
Players and gaming sites have been comparing the few titles that have optimized versions for both consoles, currently the only way to compare two platforms with dissimilar feature sets. Digital Foundry, for example, compared Devil May Cry 5 on the Xbox Series X and PS5, and while the former boasted 4K resolution and ray tracing, the PS5 resulted in higher frame rates. The Xbox’s variable refresh rate support helps mask the frame rate drops but not entirely.
Game developers’ responses to performance complaints shed some light on the cause of the issues, saying they didn’t get access to development tools and kits until late in the production stage, unlike PS5 kits. Microsoft’s statement to The Verge echoes this sentiment, saying that partners and developers are only now discovering what they can do with the more powerful hardware. In other words, expect bug fixes to come soon.
Microsoft, of course, remains confident in its hardware superiority, especially with the full RDNA2 it has boasted of but still hasn’t explained or demonstrated. That’s not to say the PS5 doesn’t have its own launch issues, like lack of support for variable refresh rates out of the box. Those, too, will be coming in a future update as companies and developers continue exploring the new territories created by these next-gen consoles.