Factor 5 Shuns Xbox 360 For Game Development

    May 23, 2005

IGNIQ.com reports that Factor 5, developer of games including the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series…

… has announced it will not be developing for the Xbox 360, due to what it believes are far more powerful hardware on the Playstation 3.

Factor 5 was previously commited to the 360, but switched after seeing the specs for the new Playstation, with their president saying he was “shocked by how powerful” it will be.

Of course, is the PS3 more powerful? Microsoft claims that its console is in fact faster, with its triple core processor far more flexible than Sony’s single core Cell. Microsoft also notes that the 360 has five times the memore bandwidth of the PS3. While Sony is rightly claiming an advantage on streaming floating point performance, accomplished using seven DSP processors, the 360 claims faster overall graphics processing power. For example, the 360 is capable of 80 shader operations per second, compared to the PS3’s 74.8. The 360 has 278.4 gigabytes per second of memory system bandwidth, dwarfing the PS3’s 48 GB/s. In additon, Microsoft claims the DSPs are crippled by having no cache and no direct access to memory.

In all honesty, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. The PS3 is probably more capable of higher quality rendering, while the Xbox 360 is capable of faster rendering. Games with similar graphics requirements will run smoother on the 360, and games with higher graphics requirements should run just fine on the 360, sarificing some of that speed for quality, but ultimately not looking as good. Games with larger worlds and complex AI and physics, however, will benefit from the fact that 360 is not devoting the majority of its power to graphics. Don’t be surprised if the same games on both systems show atrocious load times on the PS3.

Still, I think its safe to predict that while games will look slightly better on the PS3 and run slightly better on the Xbox 360, it is silly at this time to claim either company has a hardware edge. The answer to that question will come when Sony actually releases the final specs for Playstation 3, which could very well be lower than what we’ve seen so far.

Link: Xbox 360 shun by games developer

UPDATE: Jeremy Wright has some interesting things to say, and Major Nelson’s blog has some great discussion with reaction to Microsoft’s strike back at the PS3 hype. The best point? With the PS3 a year away, the demos shown at E3 must have been preposturously fake, since no development at that level could be done so far in advance. Sony is truly more interested in hype than product.

Reader Comments

Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.