Rajat Taneja, EA's chief technology (?) officer recently made the somewhat bizarre claim that the next generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft are "a generation ahead" of the highest-end PC. Seems we weren't the only ones to pick on this episode of foot-in-mouth, with Epic CEO Mark Rein emphatically pulling Taneja up on Twitter.
Here's the original statement from Taneja, published in an interview on Develop:
"These architectures are a generation ahead of the highest end PC on the market and their unique design of the hardware, the underlying operating system and the live service layer create one of the most compelling platforms to reimagine game mechanics. Our benchmarks on just the video and audio performance are 8-10 times superior to the current gen."
And here is Rein's response:
— Mark Rein (@MarkRein) May 23, 2013
Yep, I'd call bullshit too. While the Xbox One and the PS4 might have something on the average gamer's machine, with a decent budget you could put together a PC that would put these consoles and their specifications to shame. Heck, right now I'm sure there are some out there with healthy disposable incomes running 16GB or more and GPUs in SLI / CrossFire.
While I'm completely disinterested in consoles, I can see the appeal if all you want to do is game and after seeing prominent figures of the gaming media struggle to install video card drivers, the point becomes even clearer: PCs require work, consoles don't.
But the lines between PC and console hardware a more blurred than ever, with greater emphasis on media centre functionality and the homogenisation of hardware. At one point you could say consoles were innovating with proprietary hardware — we all remember the likes of the Emotion Engine, or the obsession with ever-increasing bits.
That doesn't seem to be the case now, with both vendors going with off-the-shelf parts. Sony probably got burnt on the expensive cul-de-sac that was Cell and it's in Microsoft's best interests to align with Wintel, so there's certainly strong business cases to be made by both parties.
Still, I remember the excitement I felt seeing the PS2 tech demo... that seems a long, long time ago.