Microsoft has shown that it is willing to react quickly to the feedback received about the Xbox One. When gamers started getting angry about the mandatory Internet connection and used games restrictions, Microsoft dumped them and promised a more open system. But there’s been another area where the Xbox Onehas lagged behind the PS4 on paper: hardware specs.
While the AMD processor inside both machines is thought to be pretty evenly matched, the PS4 pulls ahead in terms of the performance of the GPU and use of GDDR5 RAM, Apparently, Microsoft has also decided to react to that and is improving the hardware inside the Xbox One in time for the launch.
The rumors point to two possible changes to the hardware. The first is an increase in the clock speed of the GPU, the second is a shift to include 12GB of RAM instead of the currently advertised 8GB.
The increase in GPU clock speed seems the more plausible and widely believed rumor of the two. And by doing that the overall performance of the Xbox One should get a nice bump. The increase in RAM seems more far fetched, though, and might be a mistake related to the dev kits.
Xbox One dev kits ship with 12GB RAM on board, but games are being developed using 8GB as an upper limit and 5GB of that dedicated to games. Feedback from developers is that they would like more RAM to play with, but adding an extra 4GB to the system this close to launch would up costs and potentially slow down manufacturing. However, moving to 12GB would certainly help long term for games developed a few years from now, although launch games would likely use no more than 8GB because that’s the limit developers have been working to.
There’s also every chance that if the 12GB rumor turns out to be true, Sony could upgrade the PS4, who’s to say they haven’t already? If the advertised PS4 will ship with a profit built into the $399 price point, taking a small hit for 4GB of extra RAM wouldn’t be a difficult decision if it meant matching its main competitor.