The Xbox One and PS4 are nearly upon us. People are excited. Some people are also, as people are prone to be, getting a little weird. "Fans" of both systems are eager to prove that one console is somehow "better" than the other, and will use any piece of information they get their hands on to prove their point.
It's inevitable that, of the two systems, we'll eventually come to a conclusion as to which is more powerful in terms of raw performance. Sure, each console will have their relative strengths and weaknesses, but after a while the world will eventually crown an overall winner in this regard.
But does this matter?
Consider what's going on right now. Across forums and comments sections, people are trying to decide which console is "best" based on performance specs from third-party games. Games developed and designed to also run in some form on current-gen hardware. Games that will run on next-gen retail hardware that none of us has actually played. None of these being the best indicators of a console's ultimate technical potential.
You know what, though, even if they were, now's a good time to remember there's more to a console than specs! Examples:
- I prefer the Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 3. Why? Because I prefer the controller. That's got nothing to do with framerate or resolution.
- Others will prefer the Xbox 360 to the PS3 because Xbox Live suits their habits better.
- Others will prefer the PS3 to the Xbox 360 because of the insane bargains they get with PlayStation Plus.
- Then there are those whose favourite series is Halo, or Uncharted, and if they're going to buy one console (or one initially), will buy the console that gets those games.
- There was a disparity between Call of Duty games on the current generation of hardware, too. The first Modern Warfare ran like poop on the PS3. Which is the same system that ultimately brought us The Last Of Us.
- The key point here? If I'd only ever bought one console in 2006, and never bought the other, I'd have been a very happy gamer with it, regardless of which one it was or how powerful its specs in comparison to the competition.
Look, if raw technical specs are what lights your fire, that's cool. If you play only big multiplatform titles and are concerned that one console will run them better than the other, that's cool. Let that influence your decision!
But if you're dying to get a new console later this month (or year), and like most people will only be getting one at launch, at least try and exercise a little caution. Don't let it be the only thing that's driving you. I know it's tempting to get caught up in "resolutiongate", as it's the only real form of competition between the consoles at this point, but as I've hopefully reminded you above, there's a lot more to your enjoyment with a console than raw specs!