Editor's Note: Crytek's Ali Salehi has reportedly retracted his statements on the PS5 since they first made the rounds online. Twitter user @man4dead, who translated Salehi's interview, wrote today that "Ali Salehi doesn't confirm the content of the interview anymore due to personal reasons."
The user also deleted all of their tweets containing Salehi's quotes. It's unclear whether Salehi was asked to retract this statement by Crytek, or if he broke some sort of non-disclosure agreement. Our original story is below.
In an interview with Persian gaming website Vigiato, Crytek rendering engineer Ali Saleh said that he personally prefers to work with the PS5 over the Xbox Series X, despite the latter’s better on-paper specs.
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"As a programmer I say PS5 is much better and I don't think you can find a programmer that could name one advantage that XSX has over PS5,” Saleh said in the interview, which was translated into English by a Persian Twitter user.
Over the past month or so, both Microsoft and Sony have given a deeper insight into the specs, design, and configuration of their next-generation games consoles. And in terms of raw power, the Xbox Series X comes out on top with 12 teraflops of graphics muscle compared to the PS5’s maximum of 10.28 teraflops.
But on-paper specs and compute power are one thing — getting all that hardware horsepower to play nicely with games is another.
Saleh reckons it’s easier to bring the PS5 teraflops to bear than those of the Xbox Series X, noting that each part of a console’s core hardware must work together in order to get the best possible performance out of them.
“Many factors must work together and each part feeds another and gives the result of one part to the other. If any of these factors [don't] work fast enough then it causes in lower performance in another part,” the Crytek engineer said.
“A good example of this situation has happened before. With PS3. PS3 had much higher flops than 360 because of its SPU. But in practice because of its complications and memory bottleneck and other problems it never reached its peak of performance on paper.”
One of the problems of programming for the Xbox Series X, according to Saleh, is having to use RAM with two different bandwidths, something the PS5 doesn’t do.
“A good example about Xbox Series X hardware is its RAM. Microsoft has made the RAM two parts. The same mistake they made with Xbox One. One part of RAM has high bandwidth and the other is low. And definitely coding for this could be a little challenging,” Saleh explained.
Saleh added that the issue comes down to the amount of “things” — including graphics assets and code — developers will want to put into the highest bandwidth RAM. He also adds that when it comes to supporting 4K resolutions, the problem becomes more noticeable. He suggested that this situation will prevent developers from getting maximum performance out of the GPU.
This is something PS5 lead architect Mark Cerny has also said during Sony's Road to PS5 presentation, with claims that the PS5 will be very easy to develop for.
Saleh isn't alone on heaping praise on the PS5, as id Software’s lead engineer programmer Billy Khan has also claimed that the PS5 is “awesome.”
Return of the console wars
Back in 2013 when the PS4 and Xbox One were announced, both consoles had very similar specs, effectively sharing the same AMD-based underlying architecture. There were a few performance nuances, which, combined with a lower price and more compelling exclusives, initially lead to the PS4 coming out on top.
But as that generation matured, Xbox started to catch up with the PS4, and both Sony and Microsoft released powered-up 4K versions of their consoles in the form of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X; the latter being the most powerful.
With both upcoming consoles being reasonably well-matched, the console wars of yore looked like they’d finally come to an end.
However, while the PS5 and Xbox Series X also use AMD tech at their hearts, they have different approaches to their power output and configuration. The Xbox Series X is more powerful when it comes to raw GPU muscle, but the PS5 appears to have much faster storage, with an SSD that more than doubles the throughput of the Xbox Series X at 5.5GB/s. That could make a big difference when it comes to loading times for games.
And while some developers seem to favor the PS5, Microsoft has a whole swathe of development studios under its banner which are likely to be well-positioned to get the most out of the Xbox Series X. We'll have a much better idea of the kind of power that top developers can get out of the PS5 and Xbox Series X when both consoles arrive this holiday season.