Microsoft's Xbox 720 is "aligned" with Sony's Playstation 4

Posted by Trent Nouveau

A prominent French-Canadian video game designer has confirmed that Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 720 (Next) will be "aligned with what Sony announced."

"It's going to be connected. It's going to be social," Jean-Francois Boivin told EuroGamer. "It's going to be immersive. It's going to be interactive."

As MCVUK's Ben Parfitt notes, while the above-mentioned quote isn't much to go on, it does indicate that there will be an element of parity between the two consoles.

This notion makes perfect sense, especially as both the Xbox 720 (Next) and Sony PS4 are powered by AMD hardware. In addition, Sony and Microsoft have been aligned on a user interface (UI) level for some time, with both industry heavyweights pushing connectivity and social features on their respective platforms: Xbox Live and Playstation Network (PSN).

Traditionally, Sony's console may have offered somewhat more in terms of raw horsepower, something which was unfortunately offset by developer difficulty in terms of coding games. However,  Mark Cerny - lead system architect of Sony's Playstation 4 (PS4) - says the Japanese-based corporation adopted a "very developer-centric approach" to the next-gen console this time around.

"The biggest thing was that we didn't want the hardware to be a puzzle that programmers would be needing to solve to make quality titles," Cerny told Gamasutra, referring to the Playstation 3's powerful CELL processor which often stymied and frustrated devs.

As such, Cerny began to poll PlayStation 3 developers as early as 2008, asking them what they would like to see in a theoretical next-generation console.

"It's not like we could come out and say we were developing the next generation of hardware - we certainly couldn't say that in 2008," said Cerny. "My first tour of the developers, I had a questionnaire where I just asked them their thoughts on what the next generation might bring. The largest piece of feedback we got was that they wanted unified memory."

Indeed, the PlayStation 4 is equipped with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and an 8-core CPU, both of which are expected to help facilitate flexibility and performance throughout the upcoming console cycle.

"We quickly could tell that we should put either four or eight cores on the hardware," he explained. "The consensus was that any more than eight, and special techniques would be needed to use them, to get efficiency. It definitely was very helpful to have gone out and have done the outreach before sitting down to design the hardware."

As TG Daily previously reported, the PS4 is powered by an AMD CPU and GPU. According to reports, the console boasts 8 x86-64 CPU cores, while the GPU is based on the next-gen Radeon graphics engine, capable of 1.84 teraflops of performance power. Because it is an APU, both the CPU and GPU reside on the same physical die, sharing 8GB of GDDR5 memory.

The console is also packaged with a redesigned controller that features a touchpad on the front, a share button, a headphone jack, a light bar for player identification and tech to sense a player's depth and 3D position.

Meanwhile, the Xbox 720 (Next) is reportedly powered by an AMD eight-core x64 1.6GHz CPU, a D3D11.x 800MHz GPU and 8GB of DDR3 RAM.