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Jason Schreier : What I actually said on Kotaku Splitscreen about the PlayStation 5's specs

it_wasn't_me

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Earlier today, someone made an awful thread based on a lengthy conversation I had on the Kotaku Splitscreen podcast by transcribing a single line from it, and it led to 12 pages of truly embarrassing discourse. Since so many of you commented and reacted without actually listening to the episode, and since the thread's creator did such a piss-poor job of giving context, I took the time to type out an actual transcript. Here you go.

Oh, and, listen to Kotaku Splitscreen to get plenty of proper context, scoops, and most importantly, discussion about the weather.

(Note: the conversation started with me criticizing Sony's marketing plan for making the first-ever PS5 event a dry technical stream that was incomprehensible to most fans, as opposed to holding a fan-focused event followed by a GDC talk.)

JASON: ...The other really interesting thing that happened was, because they released this giant list of tech specs that maybe your average hardcore gamer who reads a lot of forums and Reddit and Twitter and stuff can kind of semi-parse this stuff--

KIRK: They can parse it just enough to have a super strong but not entirely informed opinion on this.

JASON: Yes, exactly. The number everyone's looking at is teraflops, which is essentially the maximum speed that a graphics card can run at. I believe it stands for floating point operations per second. So everybody's now seeing this spec sheet and they see PS5, 10.2 teraflops, and Xbox Series X, 12 teraflops. And it's like, oh my god, the Xbox is more powerful than the PlayStation. But meanwhile, the people I've been talking to over the past few months and the past couple years who are actually working on the PlayStation have pretty much unanimously all said: This thing is a beast. This thing is one of the coolest pieces of hardware that we've ever seen, we've ever used before. There are so many things here that are revolutionary, so many behind-the-scenes tools and features, APIs, and all sorts of other stuff that is way beyond my scope of comprehension. This is why I'm a reporter, and not an engineer.

But the general consensus is that these things are both extremely powerful and both very similar in a lot of ways and both do different things in really cool ways. These are both extremely impressive pieces of technology. But because of the way Sony has actually presented this thing and marketed this thing, now the narrative is 'The Xbox is way more powerful than the PlayStation,' and I think that is such a -- maybe fatal flaw on Sony's part for this console generation. Maybe it'll all be forgotten if the PS5 comes in cheaper, or it has a killer launch lineup, and maybe none of this will matter in November. Or maybe these consoles won't even be able to come out in November. But right now, it's such a dropping the ball after so many years of smart decisions on Sony's part.

KIRK: Yeah, I wonder about that, only because yes this is a messaging thing right now. The real question for me will be when the consoles are out, and there are multi-platform games on them. Because as much as I generally do feel that the number of teraflops isn't a huge deal, 12 versus 10, if you have great games on it, it's fine. It does, and I wrote about this at Kotaku back when the last consoles launched, I remember trying to articulate this as a very difficult needle to thread, by saying that basically yes, graphics aren't everything, but at the time the PS4 had this clear graphical advantage over the Xbox One. I remember Battlefield 4 was out on both systems and it was running at 1080p on one and 900p on the other. There were just these numerical ways you could say well here's the same game running on both, and they could only get it running this well and not the other.

JASON: So let me be clear. So what I'm hearing from people actually working on these things is that the Xbox is not significantly more powerful than the PlayStation, despite this teraflops number, and that the teraflops -- it might be a useful measure of comparison in some ways, but ultimately it's a theoretical max speed, and there are so many things that could come between where you are trying to get and what you are actually able to do, to the point where the GPU could have X number of flops that it can actually perform, but if the developer isn't able to actually access all of it for whatever reason, then it doesn't even matter, and there are so many other variables here that go into it.

At the end of the day, that is fundamentally the big question -- when Assassin's Creed Kingdom, or whatever it's called, Assassin's Creed Vikings comes out this fall, presumably, corona aside. Presumably it comes out this fall on both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 -- which one will it look better on, which one will have a better resolution and better framerate on? I don't think we can know the answer to that question just from the spec sheet, and that's the point I'm making.

Right now, Sony is dropping the ball so hard in that they haven't talked about what games can actually do with this stuff, because their SSD advantages -- the stuff I'm hearing from developers is very different from what I'm seeing in Sony's marketing strategy, and that is mind-boggling to me. Because I don't want to be like, carrying Sony's water and be like "no, look at what this thing can actually do" but they're just failing so hard to convey that. It's frustrating to watch.

MADDY: Do the developers think the SSD does pose a lot of advantages? Because that's the bulk of what Mark Cerny talked about. He did talk about taking photos of people's ears and that's very funny to me, but he also spent time talking about the SSD and how it works, and I barely understand it, but the various ways that the PS5 is set up -- it makes it so games load faster is the shorthand version of all the things he was saying, so you don't have to have a long elevator level or a super-windy path that makes it so two different areas can load.

KIRK: RIP elevator levels.

JASON: One important piece of context here is that both machines have a solid state drive as opposed to the traditional hard drive they've had in the past. So this is going to -- the whole super-short loading times thing is going to affect all next-gen games. I think that in itself is just going to make a huge difference. It's important to be clear -- the Xbox is a beast of a machine and that is going to do some incredible things. Both of these machines, I think, are going to do some incredible things.

I'm looking at the notes I took when I was talking to one person who's technically minded and works on this stuff, and this person was telling me that A) it's going to be hard to market this stuff because it's very hard to convey what makes a difference, as we're now seeing with Mark Cerny talking about it...

The speed of the PS5's SSD is significantly higher than the speed of the Xbox's SSD, and I don't think that's only going to affect loading times. The way this person was conveying this to me was that it can also affect the way games are designed, because if you're designing an open world, you no longer have to think about certain constraints you had to think about in the past... The obvious example is like in Jedi Fallen Order crawling between spaces, but I think it goes beyond that, I think it's the type of thing where developers have to get in front of this and start talking about like, here's what we can actually do with this open-world triple-A massive game now that we're no longer constrained by the CPU and hard drive of the past. I think ultimately the fact that people are fixated on these teraflops is doing us all an injustice because there's so much more.

KIRK: Hang on, let me just jump in here for a second. Don't you think this is the type of thing people are going to talk about for a month and then they're going to show more stuff and then talk about the console, etc etc?

JASON: Sure. I'm talking about what's happening right now. Yes, 100%. But to go back to what we were talking about earlier, what we saw with the Xbox One was that the narrative you start with can make a huge difference.

...

[lots of talk about the messaging]

...

This is going to lead to weeks and weeks of talk about how Xbox is the most powerful console, and so on. Meanwhile I'm getting texts even today from developers being like this is such a shame -- the PS5 is superior in all these other ways that they're not able to message right now or can't talk about right now. I heard from at least three different people in the past couple of hours since the Cerny thing being like, wow, the PS5 is actually the more superior piece of hardware in a lot of different ways, despite what we were seeing in these spec sheets. So, again, yes, plenty of room to talk about this, for all these companies to keep messaging and showing games, but I do think Sony has really dropped the ball from what we've seen so far.

Bring the goods....
 
Nov 5, 2016
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And it's like, oh my god, the Xbox is more powerful than the PlayStation. But meanwhile, the people I've been talking to over the past few months and the past couple years who are actually working on the PlayStation have pretty much unanimously all said: This thing is a beast. This thing is one of the coolest pieces of hardware that we've ever seen, we've ever used before. There are so many things here that are revolutionary, so many behind-the-scenes tools and features, APIs, and all sorts of other stuff that is way beyond my scope of comprehension. This is why I'm a reporter, and not an engineer.

I hope this is true, I guess we will see
 
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Romulus

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I think the xbox fans wont be happy when DF comparisons come out. I'm expecting a 1800p vs 4k 60fps at best in xbox's favor. Thats pretty insignificant. And often times I see them running identically.

Very interesting:

So everybody's now seeing this spec sheet and they see PS5, 10.2 teraflops, and Xbox Series X, 12 teraflops. And it's like, oh my god, the Xbox is more powerful than the PlayStation. But meanwhile, the people I've been talking to over the past few months and the past couple years who are actually working on the PlayStation have pretty much unanimously all said: This thing is a beast. This thing is one of the coolest pieces of hardware that we've ever seen, we've ever used before. There are so many things here that are revolutionary, so many behind-the-scenes tools and features, APIs, and all sorts of other stuff that is way beyond my scope of comprehension. This is why I'm a reporter, and not an engineer.

Seems like ps5 could punch above that 10tf number
 
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Nov 5, 2016
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I mean of course he could be lying I guess, but when someone says several different developers are saying the same types of things I listen more attentively. We'll see.

for sure

I won’t even say I think he’s lying, more so I’m just being skeptical that we will see unforeseen boosts, primarily in order to avoid future disappointment

If the devs show us this magic they speak of, I’ll buy into it 100 percent
 
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-Arcadia-

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Imagine having a board where Jason Schreier talks down to you. Lol.

That said, he’s making a lot of good points. I was laughing as hard as anyone at the people who got ridiculous about PS5 Teraflops getting completely destroyed, but actually looking at this thing... I wouldn’t be so sure about what it’s capable of.

TFs have, for quite some time now, been overstated in importance. DF relayed that adequately with their experiments, and it even more seems to be the case here, with Sony making some very untraditional moves.

I still expect Series X to take the lead, but I wouldn’t count chickens before they hatch, in regards to the PS5.
 

Burkatron81

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NX Gamers latest vid has some really interesting points around the RAM allocation and OS requirements. Basically the PS5 won't need to hold the OS in RAM constantly, it just caches it back and forth from the SSD due to its speed, therefore giving devs the full 16gig to use as they please. It seems more is going on under the hood than people realise, surprising stuff.
PS5 Full Spec Analysis | A new generation is Born
 

sneas78

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In no world or universe does an SSD (that the other guys also have) make up for a more powerful GPU and CPU.

There is no “we’ll see when the games come out”. One is more powerful than the other. End of story. This is getting beyond embarrassing.
I’m sorry Xbox just has TF for developers to talk about.

“Faster SSD can mean better graphics.
Since you can use higher quality textures, assured by the fact that you can swap it out of ram exactly when you need to.“
 
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Shin

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Serious question, if it's so great how come practically everyone is talking about it but not the other?
We had BluePoint stating they'll watch the stream, they did work for Xbox and PS, but not a word about the green team.
Ready at Dawn also praising PS5 in numerous Tweet of how great and revolutionary it is, once again nothing about Series X.

Then Jason is trying to spin it of how great it is (it might or might not be), but if that's the case then aren't the lot of them biased because it's one-sided.
If they are biased who is going to take them seriously or should for that matter, the same can be said of GAF, see how many PS5 threads we have.
Practically almost all of them are defensive, so once again I'll ask because I damn well watched the stream and even Cerny avoided topics he didn't want to talk about (RT) or downplayed them (raw power).

it_wasn't_me it_wasn't_me how many threads about PS5 haven't you already created and doing practically what I've described above?
 
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Rightisright

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Wow. Is.he going out of his way to spin for Sony or what?
Why has he taken it upon himself to defend the PS5? Its like he is invested in it or something? I hope the people he was getting this pro PS5 speel from arnt the same ones telling him that PS5 was more powerful than the XSX, cos that didnt go well for him.
Sometimes shills expose themselves.
 

oldergamer

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You guys are falling for a false narritive. You have two gpus built from the same architecture and you are convinced that the gpu with more CUs doesnt have an advantage and that storage an i/o are more important?

Punching above its weight is nonsense. The CUs in both systems are likely identical.
 
Nov 5, 2016
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I cant wait to sony boost so much that houses catch fire. Headlines will be sony ruin christmas by boosting my house down.

I hope they up the GPU clock to 4ghz so I don’t have to run my heater in the winter. Can double as my fireplace when I switch that beast on. As long as I’m not sitting too close to the console I should remain relatively unharmed
 

tflopsmatter

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Wow. Is.he going out of his way to spin for Sony or what?
Why has he taken it upon himself to defend the PS5? Its like he is invested in it or something? I hope the people he was getting this pro PS5 speel from arnt the same ones telling him that PS5 was more powerful than the XSX, cos that didnt go well for him.
Sometimes shills expose themselves.

This is insane crazy spin for Sony. What's sad is there is no way to spin this in a favorable manner.
 

TheStruggler

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My problem with it yes the presentation was boring and dry but again it wasnt for me a gamer, it was their GDC event for developers so they could get a peak what they are working with. When they officially unveil the console then you will see the games and what goes along with having a fast SSD etc.
 
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it_wasn't_me

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NX Gamers latest vid has some really interesting points around the RAM allocation and OS requirements. Basically the PS5 won't need to hold the OS in RAM constantly, it just caches it back and forth from the SSD due to its speed, therefore giving devs the full 16gig to use as they please. It seems more is going on under the hood than people realise, surprising stuff.
PS5 Full Spec Analysis | A new generation is Born

Yep! Make a thread. I've made them enough. But intro is an absolute blast. LOL
 
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Kacho

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Wow. Is.he going out of his way to spin for Sony or what?
Why has he taken it upon himself to defend the PS5? Its like he is invested in it or something? I hope the people he was getting this pro PS5 speel from arnt the same ones telling him that PS5 was more powerful than the XSX, cos that didnt go well for him.
Sometimes shills expose themselves.
I think he’s trying to save face because he was saying PS5 was more powerful. Heck, a few months ago he was tweeting that Xbox was behind schedule and PS5 was ahead of schedule. Then the VGAs happened, series X got announced and Sony was silent for months after that. Shit is hilarious to watch unfold.
 

-Arcadia-

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You guys are falling for a false narritive. You have two gpus built from the same architecture and you are convinced that the gpu with more CUs doesnt have an advantage and that storage an i/o are more important?

Punching above its weight is nonsense. The CUs in both systems are likely identical.

I’m Team Series X on power, but it’s worth noting the CUs in PS5 are clocked dramatically higher.

I’m aware that some of the more ridiculous posters are going to fall back on the ancient narrative of ‘Secret Sauce’, and that’s obnoxious, but there is some merit to it this time.
 
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TFs have, for quite some time now, been overstated in importance. DF relayed that adequately with their experiments, and it even more seems to be the case here, with Sony making some very untraditional moves.
GAF will take quite some time before realizing this.

The Teraflops marketing strategy from Xbox is masterful. Even I fell for it until yesterday morning when I saw Mark Cerny in the front row explaining to me about the tech behind the PS5.

Xbox fans on GAF are going to have a rude awakening come this holiday season when Digital Foundry really compares both systems neutrally and not some hack on GAF thinking that they know console architecture better than Cerny.
 
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Sota4077

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I’ve never seen so many people jump to the defence of one company.

No shit. Like its crazy that since yesterday there are all these unnamed developers coming out and insisting that what we saw is not what we saw. That someone this 9.2 vs 12.2 TF difference is not going to be noticeable. Hell every single person who has quoted TF number even goes out of their way to quote 10.2 for Sony which is peak with comes crazy fucking overclock that you wouldn't want to run the console at full time. There is so much bullshit being shoveled since yesterday and Schreier is one of the people on the front lines of it. When Microsoft had their shitty reveal of their console it got eviscerated online for it and rightfully so. People saw what they saw and called a duck a duck. The console sucked. Now I am not going to say the PS5 sucks cause it doesn't, but the inability to even point to a 25% gap in power and all the other specs that exist in Microsoft favor is insane to me. I fully understand console warrior bullshit and all that, but we've straight up seen gaming "journalism" going out of their way to do some serious defending of Sony simply because the console is less powerful. They're not even admitting that most of the time. They've flat out spreading the message that the PS5 will defy computer logic and somehow be more powerful than the Xbox Series X and it insanity.

For them it cannot be that the console is weaker and has a kick ass SSD in it. Thats not good enough. They have to go to the ends of the earth and say that this speed of the SSD miraculously offsets all the shortcomings. It makes no damned sense.
 

it_wasn't_me

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No shit. Like its crazy that since yesterday there are all these unnamed developers coming out and insisting that what we saw is not what we saw. That someone this 9.2 vs 12.2 TF difference is not going to be noticeable. Hell every single person who has quoted TF number even goes out of their way to quote 10.2 for Sony which is peak with comes crazy fucking overclock that you wouldn't want to run the console at full time. There is so much bullshit being shoveled since yesterday and Schreier is one of the people on the front lines of it. When Microsoft had their shitty reveal of their console it got eviscerated online for it and rightfully so. People saw what they saw and called a duck a duck. The console sucked. Now I am not going to say the PS5 sucks cause it doesn't, but the inability to even point to a 25% gap in power and all the other specs that exist in Microsoft favor is insane to me. I fully understand console warrior bullshit and all that, but we've straight up seen gaming "journalism" going out of their way to do some serious defending of Sony simply because the console is less powerful. They're not even admitting that most of the time. They've flat out spreading the message that the PS5 will defy computer logic and somehow be more powerful than the Xbox Series X and it insanity.

For them it cannot be that the console is weaker and has a kick ass SSD in it. Thats not good enough. They have to go to the ends of the earth and say that this speed of the SSD miraculously offsets all the shortcomings. It makes no damned sense.

In sheer power, XSX has an advantage. Nobody is denying that. LOL But........

Maybe you should listen this man. Pretty sure you remember NXG?

 

Burkatron81

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Yep! Make a thread. I've made them enough. But intro is an absolute blast. LOL

I'd love to but I'd get too much heat for not being a dev, just a lowly enthusiast with a fanboy bias. I just think people are jumping the gun with direct comparisons and cannot see the pros and cons of each machine. I loved the Cerny vid, the talk of hardware obstacles and how they overcome them just interests me but that goes for any tech talk. Mostly its the uniqueness of the PS5 is what excites me, like others, really looking forward to seeing what it can achieve.

Also, I need to sleep and don't want to start a thread to just abandon it until I get home from work tomorrow.
 
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