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Developer says PS5 is ‘a better console’ than Xbox Series X

Published Apr 6th, 2020 4:37PM EDT
PS5 vs. Xbox Series X
Image: LetsGoDigital

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  • Sony has yet to reveal the design or feature set of the PlayStation 5.
  • In an interview, a Crytek rendering engineer says that the PS5 is “a better console” than the Xbox Series X, and is much easier to code for as well.
  • The interview has since been deleted, leaving us with more questions than answers.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Save for a single video late last month, PlayStation 5 news has been exceedingly hard to come by. Sony is dragging out the reveal of its next console much longer than it did with the PlayStation 4 in 2013, and thus we’ve been scouring the internet for anything of substance over the past few months. Some of what we’ve turned up has been surprisingly insightful and believable, while some of it has left us scratching our heads. But the interview we’re about to discuss led me down a path riddled with nearly as many twists and turns as Tiger King on Netflix.

Over the weekend, Persian gaming website Vigiato published an interview with Crytek rendering engineer Ali Salehi. The discussion focused on the technical specifications of the PS5 and the Xbox Series X, and Salehi was shockingly candid with his take on what Sony and Microsoft have announced up to this point. Members of the NeoGAF gaming forum collaborated to translate the interview, and while it might not be flawless, you’ll get the gist.

Following Mark Cerny’s deep dive into the PS5 system architecture, many people were quick to jump to conclusions. The numbers we saw were unquestionably lower than the numbers from the Xbox Series X, and without any context whatsoever, countless fanboys declared that the generation was over before it started. Microsoft had won this round. But as Salehi explains, the PS3 had far more power on paper than the Xbox 360, but its complex architecture and bottlenecked memory meant that the PS3 could rarely, if ever, actually achieve its peak efficiency.

“That is why it is not a good idea to base our opinions only on numbers,” Salehi says. “But if all the parts in the Xbox Series X can work optimally and the GPU works in its own peak, which is not possible in practice, we can achieve 12 [teraflops].” In other words, he’s not putting much stock in the numbers alone.

Vigiato then asked Salehi if he had worked with both consoles. His response has made headlines:

I can’t say anything right now about my own work, but I’m quoting others who have made a public statement. Developers say that the PlayStation 5 is the easiest console they’ve ever coded for. […] they can reach the console’s peak performance. In terms of software, coding on the PlayStation 5 is extremely simple and has many features which leave a lot of options for developers. All in all, the PlayStation 5 is a better console.

Salehi then goes into exhaustive detail about the differences between the two consoles, discussing everything from the teraflops to the compute units to the solid-state drives. Finally, when asked which console he considers to be the best to work and code on, he once again made his opinion crystal clear:

Definitely PlayStation 5.

As a programmer, I would say that the PlayStation 5 is much better, and I don’t think you can find a programmer who chooses [Xbox Series X] over PS5. For the Xbox, they have to put DirectX and Windows on the console, which is many years old, but for each new console that Sony builds, it also rebuilds the software and APIs in any way it wants. It is in their interest and in our interest. Because there is only one way to do everything, and theirs is the best way possible.

Hours after the interview was published and began to make the rounds, Vigiato took it down. Ali Salehi, meanwhile, made his Twitter profile private. Twitter user @man4dead, who also translated pieces of the interview, claimed that “Ali Salehi doesn’t confirm the content of the interview anymore due to personal reasons.”

There’s obviously a lot to unpack here. The most likely scenario is that Salehi said something (or a lot of things) that he shouldn’t have. If the PS5 and Xbox Series X are coming out this year, developers have obviously already gotten their hands on the hardware, and undoubtedly have opinions about that hardware. They have also likely signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) barring them from saying much. Putting two and two together here, Salehi may have realized he overstepped a few boundaries and asked for the interview to be taken down.

Whatever the case, it’s as thorough a discussion of the new consoles as we’ve seen since the specifications for each were unveiled. And until Sony fully reveals the PS5, sketchy interviews like this are all we’ve got.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.