Former Sony developer says Xbox Series X advantage over PS5 'quite staggering'

Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Recently, Microsoft and Sony revealed the specifications for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
  • Sony's machine has a faster solid-state drive while Microsoft's machine is more powerful when it comes to performance.
  • According to former Killzone 2 developer Chris Grannell, the advantage the Xbox Series X has is "quite staggering."
  • Both machines are still scheduled to launch in Holiday 2020.

Ever since the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 (PS5) specifications were revealed, we've seen a lot of stories — even from influential personalities — about how the PS5 is allegedly more powerful than the Xbox Series X even though Microsoft's machine boasts a roughly 2 teraflops (TFLOPS) advantage and features a better CPU and GPU.

Well, it looks like at least one developer has said, on the record, that the Xbox Series X is more powerful based on the conversations he's had with people in the industry. Chris Grannell is a veteran game designer who's helped develop numerous Formula 1 games and PlayStation's Killzone 2. In a reply on Twitter, he said the following. GameRant was the first to notice this.

2020 03

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Grannell essentially says that the power advantage the Xbox Series X has over the PS5 is "quite staggering." It's unclear how many are saying the PS5 is more powerful since all the data points to that not being the case. The PS5 uses "boost" technology so the base TFLOPS measurement is only around 9 to begin with.

Hopefully, more developers will publically speak out so we gain a clear understanding of both machines. Grannell also said that Sony was caught off guard by the Xbox Series X's specifications.

Related: 5 ways the Xbox Series X beats the Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

  • "But the SSD!!!"
  • One of the Digital Foundry people said that it wouldn't make a difference for open-world games, only linear titles, which are few and far between now. We'll have to wait until Holiday 2020 or beyond to know for sure.
  • Could you post a link to that comment? Because that makes zero sense. The SSD will help with larger environments and NPC data. It allows the developer to draw assets from the SSD. 4K textures mostly. Which means the world's can be larger in front of the player.
  • Open-world games are generated using procedural information now which is more efficient. I mentioned all of his comments here.
  • But Digital Foundry say Hellblade 2s large sprawling environments in the trailer are possible with the SSD. They explain to great detail how environments will be larger, filled with more objects and NPCs thanks to the SSD.
  • Yes, because you can load faster. It's not because of the SSD. The issue will still be SSD storage space and file size. Open-world games nowdays use procedural generation, so you don't have to worry about loading tons of assets from the hard drive. Either ways, even 5-8 GB/s is slower than memory by orders of magnitude. No one will make their games have pre-baked assets on a SSD when they can use ultra-fast memory and procedural generation.
  • This guy explained how both console will work...
  • Your ssd doesnt just give you free textures to draw on screen. Textures have to go thru the texture map units. The series x has more texture map units than the ps5 because they are attached to every compute unit. You also have to shade those textures and in this case as well the series x wins out because it has more compute units. The ssd is going to feed your main ram all the time even when used as virtual ram. When it comes to the ps5 its at a serious bandwidth deficit compared to the series x by 100gbs a second. So even if you can load the textures into your memory faster it doesnt ammount to much more than faster load times. Once again you dont just send 4k textures straight to the screen and because its never worked that way the series x will have the better performing gpu. Faster ssd does not equal better graphic performance.
  • It's going to be funny when the PS5 ends up performing just as well, if not better, than the Series X in games. "But the TFLOPS!!!"
  • "But the fanboys who will ignore facts."
  • I personally think we're going to see higher resolutions and better effects on Xbox Series X, just like we do on the Xbox One X.
  • Possibly, but not by much. Can't see that being enough to pull Sony fans to the Xbox. Exclusive games are all that will do it, and even then, MS will need a lot. I'm assuming the 15 studios will be expected to churn out a game every 3 to 4 months (between them). If they manage that, then there is a chance.
  • The chip the PS5 is based off is only great for 1440p gaming. Third-party games will be 4K on Xbox Series X and possibly lower on PS5, just like they are on Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro.
  • 3rd party games will likely be main developed on the Series X and PC cause of DX12 Ultimate. Something the PS5 is lacking. Small chance that the PS5 will out perform the Series X or even come close.. Weak hardware is weak hardware and the SSD Won't help in closing that gap with the Series X.
  • "B-but my down-graded walking simulator eggzloozives!"
  • Just like the Pro? 🤔 It won't bro, relax
  • That really isn't going to happen. Here's why. Neither the PS5 or Series X SSD is anywhere near fast enough to be used as full and proper virtual Ram. Ram bandwidth on Series X is 560 Gb/s and 360Gb/s. PS5 is 460Gb/s. Series X SSD is 4.8Gb/s and PS5 is 8-9Gb/s. These is there max ceiling compressed throughput. Even though bith consoles decompression block have overhead these are the maximum throughputs. It still is going to be great for changing how ganes are designed. As you will see on both PS5 and Series X will utilize their SSD streaming tech for drawing assets and NPC data on the fly. Or in other words mainly 4K textures. These textures average 8mb in size across the board. And Series X is more than capable at doing this. If anything PS5 SSD transfer speeds will see a 2-4 second boost over Series X in initial load times. But that extra transfer speed isn't going to do anything in assets fetching. As 4.8Gb/s is more than enough for asset streaming. They bith have 16 GB ram. Sony can fill theirs in 2-3 seconds. And Series X can fill theirs in 4 seconds. That's initial loading the game. Then there is a section of memory on each console that is dedicated to streaming these assets on the fly. MS has allocated 6Gb of its ram for the SSD to do this on the fly. But not all 6gb will change every second of the cycle. Same as PS5. 4.8Gb/s means MS can swap out and change upto 80% of that 6gb every second. Which is more than enough. The SSD will house those textures it doesn't need instead of on the ram. And only draw to ram when needed. It's not some magic sauce. It's quite simple to understand. However Series X can process that Rams data much faster than PS5 as the ram has a higher bandwidth than PS5 and the CPU and GPU can also process that information at a higher rate also. Therefore fetch more data more frequently than PS5 will as it's slower at processing the data waiting on the ram. 2ndly Series X has a huge 40% advantage as Ray Tracing photorealistic lighting, shadows and reflections. AMD RDNA 2 ray tracing works like this. Each CU on the GPUs have 4 TMUs. The CUs or normal shaders handle all the usual graphics as we have come to expect. The TMUs handle the Ray tracing and have 0 impact on the normal shaders on the CUs. Quick maths. Series X 52 CUs X 4 = 208 TMUs. PS5 has 36 CUs X 4 = 144 TMUs. This is why having less CUs is a poor decision regarding next Gen features like Ray Tracing. The Minecraft demo for Ray Tracing is full path Tracing. The TMUs handle that solely on their own. That's why MS stated if the CUs were to handle the Ray tracing is would require another RDNA 2 GPU that had 13 tflops of Shader performance just to handle the ray tracing. Don't expect any PS5 game to ever utilize full Path Ray Tracing. Expect say reflection Ray Tracing only or shadows. But never full path Ray Tracing. The main and only advantage PS5 will have is 2-3 seconds loading faster initially. Both consoles will load games in under 10 seconds. Compared to the average of 1-2 mins this Gen. There is a big reason as to why Sony haven't bothered to show Ray Tracing like MS have or even discuss things like Mesh shading, VRS etc. The Series X will do alot of things the PS5 just isn't able to do.
  • Almost never happened until now... I don't see how it will in the future... Almost every games to date look better on Xbox one x than they do on PS4 pro... Power does matter... But they need the games never the less... Hopefully the new acquisition will provide good things in the future... I'don't want to have to go back to PC gaming... It's not as family friendly
  • Why is it going to be funny? Tell me the last time that a console that was obviously weaker on paper consistently out performed a more powerful console? The ps5 is gonna be great! But if you have to turn this into a penis waving contest there is no evidence to prove your hypothesis right now. Both systems are gonna be amazing but you cant just sit there and pretend that the series x having more compute units, ray tracing cores, texture map units and memory bandwidth will amount to nothing. Every gen one console is more powerful than Then other. It doesnt mean the more powerful system ends up winning in sales. I know there is the ssd but its not a miracle device. It only allows you to fill your ram faster because textures have to go thru your gpu. The ps5 almost 100% will always have faster load times but saying it will improve your gpu performance over another gpu thats more powerful with wider ram bandwidth is a lost cause. Cerny never said that anyway. He only ever compared the ps5 to the ps4 in his presentation.
  • "Tell me the last time that a console that was obviously weaker on paper consistently out performed a more powerful console?" Games on the 360 consistently performed and looked better than on the PS3 even though the PS3 was far better on paper. That was due to dumb architectural choices and poor software though. The XSX and PS5 are essentially gaming computers now. Besides software, where Xbox normally wins, it's all about the numbers.
  • With the Xbox 360 as ID Software said during development of Rage, that Sonys RSX GPU was slower. Carmack confirmed that as well. Digital Foundry also made their claim that Halo 4 was the best looking game of that generation. Which was an exclusive obviously to 360. MS also had an advantage with Unified Ram. The developer could allocate and use as much ram as it wanted for GPU or CPU. Sony couldn't. It was fixed at 256mb for GPU.
  • We've said it millions of times.. we care about the games. If xbox can give gran turismo,last of us,god of war we'll buy it. If not, we won't. They talk about how xbox one x was more successful than ps4 pro. And yes it was, and yes completely because of its power.But it was a mid gen console, aim of release was solely to improve its power. Now it's the new generation and we expect new games, good games. When the third party titles will play 2160p on x vs 2040p on ps5, that will not be a game changer for us. We buy the console to play games. Huge part of the potential success of series x is the games that the new studios will create. We'll wait and see. I hope they manage to use this extra power effectively in the new titles.
  • Gran Turismo? Seriously? There hasn't been a release in that series since 2017 and Forza is widely regarded to be superior, and actually puts out games on a regular basis. Racing fans have a home on Xbox, they do not have a home on Playstation. MS doesn't have big single player narrative heavy action adventure games atm. That's going to change some with Hellblade 2 and maybe whatever the Initiative is working on. We may see a Fable reboot that can fill some of that gap too. But Sony lacks competent first party multiplayer titles too; Sea of Thieves may have had a weak launch, but it's got a pretty big following now. Gears and Halo support coop. There's plenty of high quality Xbox exclusives, and will be even more now that they've got 15 internal studios churning out a far more diverse set of content than what Sony's doing. They won't all be God of Wars, but that's not a bad thing. But game exclusives are not what's been driving the sales gap anyway; the initial weakness of the Xbox One launch and networking effects resulting from the larger PS4 install base, combined with Xbox brand weakness in places where the native language isn't english is the bulk of the story there. None of these great Sony exclusives that supposedly sell the console came out until *after* PS was dominating in sales, and the vast majority of game sales are third party. Those forces aren't going to be different this time around, so I have no expectations that the Series X is going to outsell the PS5 even with a power advantage, though I would expect the gap to be a bit smaller unless it's significantly more expensive.
  • Not all of us care exclusively about games. I prefer Xbox because I own a gaming PC, several Xboxs, and I'm constantly traveling. Xbox is definitively better at cross-platform play, cross-platform purchases, better graphics, better cloud saves, and being able to play games from anywhere (xCloud). Exclusive games make me want to go in the opposite direction because I despise companies dictating how or where I can play my games.
  • This is exactly the case for me. I will own both but main the xbox. Performance has always mattered for me. Least since 2013 when the xbox one sucked and frustrated me. Game exclusives have always been an after thought. I think they play a much smaller role then people think. I believe they like to say it because they hope sony and microsoft listen so they get better games. That's fine. There are way more factors then ever for changing or staying. Many people have invested heavily into digital games like I have. We have grown our friends list and gotten use to the ecosystem that each provides. It isn't only games that interest people. Last gen would have been more likely to see huge shifts. Each system abandon their old online services. Meaning you were disconnected from games and friends when you switched to ps4 from ps3. Ps3 owners didn't have a huge library of digital games. This isn't true today for going ps4 to ps5 and xbox one to xbox series x. People are way more invested.
  • Xbox owners are more invested library wise. I have a very sizable 360 library which is almost entirely playable on the XB1 and in the future the XSX. I still have my 360 which is still fully supported by Microsoft. My XB1 library will carry over to the XSX as well. Microsoft has been nailing it with backwards compatibility and legacy support.
  • I stopped reading at Gran turismo 😂😂 Forza and even project cars are way superior to that mediocre game.
  • You still don't understand and I guess won't. Anyone says forza is better than GT sport is not a gamer.
  • GT is a much more realistic sim racer than Forza, but I prefer Forza (probably because I like the fact that it's not as realistic).
  • As it is the Forza Horizon series the more arcade version has become the best selling racer this Gen outside of Mario Kart. It's wiped the floor with Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport this Gen by some way. And is the highest rated racer out of all of them as well. 2,3 and 4.
  • Bags of this stuff on YouTube, each side offering Dev responses. Each side saying the Devs say their system is better. I take them all with a barrow full of salt. I think PS5 will still win, even if theirs is less "powerful", they have the millions that are locked in already. Last gen (360/PS3) physical copies were the standard, and so MS wasn't able to lock anyone in. The Xbox One/PS4 gen was the critical gen, as so many went digital. You move, you lose. Personally, I'm Xbox Series X, all day long., But MS need more than just a perceived spec advantage, if it does not translate into better looking cross platform games, then they won't have won much. That, and the lack of exclusive titles will ensure that they remain 2nd.
  • Not really, given the fact that most of PS4 owners were 360. Not only that but the megaton of incentives, game pass etc. Plus, most play multiplat and Xbox has true backwards compatibility
  • Microsoft went in big with downloads on the 360 and there are many sizable libraries out there. Sony didn't push it much until the end of the PS3 gen.
  • I don't think it matters about winning because cloud gaming is the future, but I do think that I want the best experience, that the Xbox Series X can offer. I believe that we're going to still see 1800p games on PS5 vs. 4K games on Xbox Series X.
  • Let's see Sony ponies in the comments spin this one.
    *Grabs popcorn*
  • There you have it. Even the former Sony guys admit it. Xbox Series X is the superior console. Rip PS5.
  • I am glad this is on windowscentral otherwise it would be removed off the internet. As you notice if an Article doesn't agree with Sony its removed !
  • Really? See ones like this all over. Nice to be on the winning side, so far, lol.
  • I've seen many that say the Xbox Series X is more powerful, which is true.
  • Though that should probably be taken into consideration, possible axe to grind?
  • Technically he said that other developers said the difference is staggering.
  • I'm guessing he keeps in touch with his former Dev friends at SCEE. He worked for Gurella Games and then SCEE for over 15 years. Then left to create a tech company nothing to do with gaming as I understand it in 2018.
  • Why are the Sony supporters going hyperbolic to defend the PS5? Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends upon him not understanding it."