Playstation just announced its new, upgraded, version of the PS4, called “PS4 Pro,” and of course, all anyone can talk about are its specs, and that’s fine, I mean, that’s the whole deal, right? A PS4 with better specs, more teraflops and the like. 4K resolution and all that good stuff.
But what people are also doing with this information is comparing it to Microsoft’s new version of the XBox One, Project Scorpio, and this happens every time a new console is released. And that…is a waste of time. Why? Because in the long run, none of it matters. Here’s why:
1.People Don’t Buy Consoles Because of the Specs
Ask any of your friends who have a PS4 or an XBox One why they bought that console instead of the other one, and I can almost guarantee they’ll say something along the lines of “I’ve always had the Playstation Consoles” or “I like the games better” or “I just needed a BluRay player and wanted to play games ocassionally.” Unless the consoles were just released in the past month, no one’s even thinking about the specs, save for hard disk space. Because, the specs simply don’t matter.
People only buy consoles because of specs when they first come out, and 9 times out of 10, people just buy the new version of the console they had before, regardless of the specs.
2.It’s An Excuse to Argue a Stupid Point
Fanboys love to use specs as an argument for why their console is better than your console. Because my console has more processing power, it’s better than your console. But hold on a minute, I bought my console because I like the exclusive games, I’m having fun with it, it’s good for me.
And that’s the point, no one console is better than the other. A Super Nintendo is better than XBox One if the person has more fun with the Super Nintendo, if they get more value and use out of it. It’s completely dependent on the person using the console. So if one console is better for you, a different console might be better for me, and specs have nothing to do with it.
3.It Encourages Fanboy Culture
Feeding off of my last point, this idea of having the “better console” encourages fanboys to argue and fight with other fanboys, and it creates this toxic environment where instead of just letting people enjoy what they enjoy, we’re now shunning and name-calling them, and telling them they’re wrong, because they have something that makes them happy, and you have something that makes you happy, but you’re happy for different reasons, and that’s unacceptable.
But back in reality, they do have the better console, and so do you, and so does that other guy playing Super Nintendo. They have the best console for them.
4.No One Knows (or Cares) What a “Teraflop” Is
Okay, some people do, but the vast majority of people buying a console don’t, and most don’t care. Knowing which console has the most teraflops is about as useful as knowing what type of plastic the controller is made out of. “But more teraflops means more power!”
Does it, though? Most games released are not console exclusives and they run on both PS4 and XBox One perfectly fine, and in most cases, you can’t even tell which one is technically running better. “But, but, but…the shadows are blacker on XBox One!”
The only reason anyone cares what a teraflop is is because someone told them it makes a console better, but it doesn’t. And for most people, it doesn’t matter. People are more than likely to just buy the console from the company they’re already loyal to, regardless of this that or the other number.
5.It’s A Terrible Selling Point
If you’re not a fanboy or you’re not loyal to any company, then console specs are a terrible way to make a decision.
If you’re a mom buying a console for your kid for Christmas, or you just haven’t been playing video games for a while, and you want to get back into it, looking for the specs to tell you what console to get is about the worst idea you could have. And having a GameStop employee tell you, “well [insert console here] has the best specs, so that’s the best choice,” isn’t much help either. Not only will this tell you nothing about how much you (or your kid) will enjoy the console, you’ll likely buy something that doesn’t make you/them happy and spend more money than you were planning on spending.
Instead, you should be looking at what games are available, or if you want to use your console for watching movies and TV shows, look into which console offers the best options for those things. Do you want your console to be a community hub? Do you want to play games offline? Then find out which console does these things best, not which console has the fastest processor or the most RAM.
6.No One Cares About Better Graphics Until They Know the Graphics Are Better
That’s a doozy of a header, but it’s true. Nobody cared that you could see your reflection in the raindrops until the company told you you could see your reflection in the raindrops. No one cared about a realistic snowstorm or a tree where all the individual leaves are rendered separately, not until someone told you they were.
You might be thinking, “No, that’s not true, the graphics make the world more immersive, more engaging!” And yeah, I’m not arguing that, they do do those things, and that’s great. But when graphics sucked, nobody complained about it, because those were the best graphics at the time, these are the best graphics now, and tomorrow, something will have better graphics than these, but you’re not gonna stop playing, because the graphics you currently have are still awesome.
All that being said, the most important point I want to make is that good graphics don’t make a game good. They just don’t. If you ask anyone why they loved GTA III or Super Smash Bros. Melee, or The Elder Scrolls IV, or Earthbound, or…take your pick (Just not Forza, anything but Forza), or almost any game, they’re not gonna tell you that game was great because the graphics were good (unless it’s Forza), they might support their answer with that, but games are good because the controls are good, because the gameplay is fun and engaging, because the story hits hard and the characters are important to us. Graphics enhance the experience, but they don’t make a bad experience good.
I guarantee if when the PS5 comes out, they said “It has the same graphics as the PS4” people would respond by asking “But are the games good?” Because in reality, that’s all that matters.