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NDAs mean developers can't compare console strength

2 min read

Ball gag

Ah, resolutiongate. You know, the only reason we add ‘gate’ to the end of something is because of Nixon in the 70s – can’t we find a new, trendy way of saying controversy? Anyway, the brouhaha around Xbox 720 One’s resolution is leading to harder and harder questions about the console’s power. But who is allowed to answer those questions?

Gavin already told you about the interview over at Metro, when Mark Rubin said that John Carmack was wrong about the consoles being the same. However, the result of the grilling is that there are, in fact, some big differences between the consoles, and the Xbox One is the weaker of the two.

While Rubin makes a valiant effort to dodge the question, particularly with his PR rep sitting next to them, Game Central keeps probing if it’s that Rubin can’t answer the questions or is avoiding due to diplomatic reasons:

GC: Are the console manufacturers leaning on you to avoid these sort of questions?

MR: [unsure – speaking to PR guy] I don’t know if that…

MR: [even more embarrassed to us] Yeah, there’s things that we… We sign NDAs with the first parties [i.e. Microsoft and Sony – GC] and there are things that we’re not allowed to talk about.

Rubin went on to say that the focus has been that the game is fun no matter what platform it’s on. Yeah, that may or may not be true, but what about future games? Will we see improvements in Xbox One development, or will there always be a gap between the consoles? Rubin isn’t sure; he points to numerous other games such as Battlefield 4 and Titanfall also being 720, explaining:

Yeah, so you’re reading that correctly in that it’s not specifically us doing something villainous. It’s a thing where all of us have to work at getting better at developing for both consoles. And that’s the fun part. I always use the analogy that the first game on a new console is always like an awkward first date, but once you know a lot more about each other it’s a lot better.

I’m curious to see if the power of the consoles are so different that it leads to diverging qualities of game play. However, as we debated last week, not all gamers can even spot the difference between 720 and 1080 unless they are side by side. That said, things are not looking good for the Xbox One on this front. Is it simply a weaker console? Did Microsoft spend too much time making that sexy controller with vibrating triggers to notice the fact that their performance was going to be sub-par?

Last Updated: November 8, 2013

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