Microsoft exec clarifies quote on “meaningless” PS4 & Xbox One specs

Monday, 1st July 2013 11:15 GMT By Dave Cook

Last week, Microsoft’s product planning manager Albert Penello called Xbox One and PS4 specs “meaningless” because people only care about a format’s games, much the annoyance of some gamers who like to know what each unit is capable of. He has now shed some light on what he meant.

First, you can check up on Penello’s original statement here.

Posting on this NeoGAF thread, Penello said, “I appreciate those who understand the point I was trying to get across. It’s always hard, after sitting doing interviews all day, and you’re trying to have an engaging conversation with someone, and words get pulled out our the tone what you’re trying to say didn’t come out how you meant it.

“You should also understand this interview was done after our launch event, and prior to E3. So please take that into consideration.

“I’m not diminishing Sony’s performance claims and I wasn’t trying to be arrogant or dismissive. What I was trying to say is – I’m not Sony’s engineering team. So I can’t comment on what they have published as specs. I know what our teams are doing, and I know how they thought about architecting the system.

“The guys who are building these machines (on both sides) are unbelievably talented and experts in their field. Nobody knows the specifics of how the machines are architected or if there may be bottlenecks in one system or accelerators in another that change the impact of the published specs.”

Penello then reiterated his stance that the quality of a format’s games should come before a system’s raw technical specs, “What I believe is that our games are going to be great and they are going to look next-gen, and I *think* E3 sort of showed that. And great games are what matters. And while you guys joke about the cloud stuff, I think the stuff the Respawn guys have said starts to clear up what we’ve been talking about with cloud performance (cue the “have you seen Titanfall” meme)

“Games on both systems looked awesome. I was there, and while I know RISE took a hit on the gameplay that was shown, I thought it was the most next-gen looking game I saw on either platform. Of course, I get I’m biased and I didn’t have time to see everything.

“As always, I love taking the hits. And I appreciate that while the words I used may were probably worth some scrutiny, I do appreciate that some of you got what I was trying to say.”

What do you think of Penello’s openness to his critics? Are tech specs meaningless in the long-term, or do you disagree?

Let us know below.

Thanks OXM.



  1. Belazur


    Protip for MS: Please, just STFU for a few months.
    Would be good for you!

    #1 1 year ago
  2. LordDjinn

    *Sigh* Microsoft really needs to shut up.. The butt hurt xbox guys have already forgiven you and are ready to jump in bed with you again, so please, please shut up now..

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Ekona

    So a guy comes out with what was a fair comment, he’s jumped upon by some trolls looking for a fight, he then clarifies those comments to make even more sense and he’s still wrong?

    Sometimes I despair, I really do.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. mreko3230

    I really don’t see how people took this as an attack on Sony especially in the light of the fact that he had no idea what Sony’s specs were going to be when he made the statement. Gamers are CONSTANTLY saying graphics don’t matter, its all about the gameplay. He basically said the same thing, the only difference is is that he works for MS which automatically sends the fire arrows raining down.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. LordDjinn

    The specs matter, look at the wii u, its first party games are nothing to laugh at yet its not selling because of its specs.. your trolling the comment section..

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Francis O

    @LordDjinn – The Wii U is not selling because of a lack of games, not specs. It’s going to sell a lot better when Nintendo releases it’s first party content. If specs were so much more important, then the PS Vita would be selling more than the 3DS right?

    Specs are cool, but it’s all about the games. Personally, I think Fire Emblem Awakening smokes 99% of PS3,360, and Wii U games out there. And the graphics are not good at all.

    Pokemon is really fun, but the graphics suck. Minecraft as well. In the end, it’s all about the gameplay and games. Graphics can only do so much anymore.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Eregol

    Ryse was the most next Gen looking game there?
    What planet is this guy on?

    #7 1 year ago
  8. LordDjinn

    I stated the specs matter, and the games are nothing to laugh at. But i do see what your talking about.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Clupula

    @7 – Yeah, I’m flabbergasted by the Ryse comment, myself.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. deraj

    @3 – The thing is, his original statement was pure hypocrisy. “The problem is that Sony decided to go out and publish a bunch of numbers, which are in some ways meaningless,” What? As opposed to the numbers MS reps came out with? 5 Billion Transistors? 300,000 Servers? Infinite Cloud Power? 10x, 40 x, 3x Xbox 360 power? They couldn’t seem to agree on which number applied when comparing with their previous console.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Mike W

    Yeah MS just needs to shut up to the media until the release of the Xbox one. It’s a lose-lose situation when one of their execs open their mouths.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. LordDjinn

    @10 finally someone who gets it, Microsoft really needs to just shut up, and let their horrible controversial console release..

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Joe Musashi

    Seems like a good follow-up comment and useful clarification (especially on the timing of the original statement). Comes across as more personal than corporate sentiment too.

    Still not the smartest of comments to have made in the first place though.


    #13 1 year ago
  14. wishdokta

    Going to be a looong road till their releases.


    #14 1 year ago
  15. bradk825

    What matters most to me is how well the developers are using the hardware. There are other experts writing articles out there saying the numbers on the hardware is meaningless too, and they don’t work for microsoft.

    What matters is those titles not going on both generations get full next-gen treatment. Don’t make a 360 game and launch it on Xbox One instead in other words. They appear to be doing that. Forza 5, Dead Rising 3, Titanfall, they all look fantastic.

    I am also thinking developers are going to be more willing to go all-the-way on Xbox One because the Kinect is in every box. If they want to add motion and voice to their controller based games, they can do so without fear that half the people who would normally be interested in the game don’t have the peripheral required, severely limiting their sales. So that motorcycle racer could add a feature that you have to lean into the turn by physically leaning in your chair, but why build that feature if only 50% can use it?

    Basically what I see when I look at the two of them, I see MS attempting new things and taking risks, and going fully next-gen, and I see a PS3 with some added horsepower and better graphics, then a 4 stamped over the 3. You can tell they are doing nothing new or interesting when their marketing strategy is almost 90% talking about their competitor instead of their own product, even going on TV and telling flat out lies (“This is the only console you can still play used games on”).

    #15 1 year ago
  16. The_Red

    That was rather nice reply. Didn’t attack Sony and was mostly honest. Really hope MS has learned from their earlier arrogance and this, along with their other moves is a sign of change (Now remove that stupid mandatory Kinect).

    #16 1 year ago
  17. DrDamn

    MS have really messed up their message, that’s not Sony’s fault, and it’s not Sony’s fault they have been able to capitalise on it. Regarding the “flat out lie” – that was Jimmy Fallon, not Sony.

    Agree with The_Red and JM here, this is a decent and well made response.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Lengendaryboss

    A lot of back-treading and damage control by MS.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. bradk825

    There’s capitalizing and then there’s resorting to the same tactics as a sleazy politician where all the campaigning is about the other guy.

    Sony is using the poor message from MS because they don’t really have their own. They aren’t doing anything new, just adding horse power.

    #19 1 year ago
  20. DrDamn

    Sony’s message has been about games. Right from the start. As MS have messed up the message and implementation they’ve poked a little fun, but the main attacks have come from gamers and websites not Sony. Sony have actually kept their focus pretty well and been realistic about promises. They have learned a lot from the PS3 launch.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. Eregol

    Microsoft’s message has been confused and haphazard from the start. There’s been nothing consistent. Every time they’ve spoken about something, the message has changed. The suits have fluffed every line.

    It could be that people are looking for these chinks in the armour, but MS keep supplying the ammunition then standing in the way of the shot.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. DAVID812

    This is just my opinion. The X1 is geared for the future. If it did not have a disk drive. Gamers probley would of thought before complaining. You could of let 10 players use all of your library, including dlc. Once again just my opinion,but Sony is giving the same ps3 just jacked up on steroids.
    I keep hearing that clouds a joke and X1 will not have good games. DR3 Titanfall, and getting dlc first from E.A.,and c.o.d. That’s not even mentioning HALO. Which is planning to revolutionize mp. Look how different
    forza, and titanfall are using the cloud.
    . The Kinect included cost $500 The Ps4 has the eye that you buy separate, and the move which is sold separately. That total comes out to oner $500.
    . The Kinect is not a gimmick In the long run. Looking back, and forth between your tv and controller is a gimmick. To each their own , but quit trying to make it seem that X1 buyers are wasting our money. Maybe we can just see long term.

    #22 1 year ago
  23. CyberMarco


    “The Kinect is not a gimmick In the long run. Looking back, and forth between your tv and controller is a gimmick.”


    In other news, we wont have to reach for our keys to open the door of our homes, just a glimpse at the handle and the job is done. – teh futare -

    P.S. Am I doing it right? :P

    #23 1 year ago
  24. Eregol

    @22 I wouldn’t say it’s geared for the future:
    A locked 500GB hard drive. Only possible to make it larger through an external HDD. Hardly the stuff the digital revolution is going to be made of with the hyper detailed games we got coming in the next gen.
    DDR3 RAM, not exactly future proofed seeing as the new wave of PC cards are running on GDDR5.

    There’s nothing on the XB1 that couldn’t theoretically be done on PS4 at all. Sony future proofed their hardware. MS gimped theirs.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. DrDamn

    I think the most forward looking part of the X1 has been lost unfortunately. They miscommunicated and in some ways poorly designed the digital/disc situation. Instead of fixing it and doing better they’ve defaulted to the norm. They should have looked for better ways, or encouraged the digital format more by keeping the game sharing with those purchases. It was a good idea poorly thought through.

    Cloud stuff is nice, but I don’t want to hear about number of servers, X the power etc. I want to see what it does to games. Otherwise just say you’ve got lots of cheap local dedicated servers on tap. That’s good, that’s demonstrable now, that’s something which justifies part of the XB Live cost. When you have something demonstrable which is made possible by this then show that.

    After the MS Press Conference I said I thought it was a strong showing. Did exactly what was needed after the initial launch. Showed lots of games. I can see why people would want to go X1 because of the games. That’s all the reasoning you need. You don’t need to try and trash other systems or talk about what you think are “gimmicks”.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. DAVID812

    In terms of gaming yes the Kinect is the beginning of the future of gaming. Have you seen the patents they have to improve it. By the end of the console. Scanning your room, and making it part of the game. Look it up on the 15 year plan that was leaked on the net. A 56 page document, and it has all come true do far.
    . As far a memory. Unless you are never on the web. You can always delete stuff you don’t use, and if you get an itch to play it later you can always just re download it. That was going to be one of the many benefits of drm. A person would not of had to go through the trouble of doing all that. It would always be there. There was no need for anything more.
    . Yes in my opinion the X1 is more geared toward the future. Having images put in my room. Letting 10 people to trade all content. Not just handing over the game. Never worrying about an update. REALLY does anyone here let more than 10 people borrow games?

    BTW Sony had these policy on used games. 1st party games could be sold. Third party games would be left up to the studio I.e. Activision.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. DAVID812

    I was trying to explain that the Kinect was not a gimmick. It was the future. I was not trashing the ps4. i read so much how the Kinect is pointless. It has value, we just might not see it for a couple a years.
    I used a bad analogy. The screen in the controller was the first thing that came to mind. Let me very clear. If PS4 uses it correctly,and catches the eyes of developers it could have some use. I don’t see it having more use than the Kinect 2 though. That is why I wrote that.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. fearmonkey

    @26 – “In terms of gaming yes the Kinect is the beginning of the future of gaming.” Really? I think Kinect has its features that could be useful, but honestly I dont want it. Its more a gimmick to me.

    Also if you think the trading games digitally on that 10 person plan was going to be great, you dont really know MS. They would not have allowed us to be so free, and according to the leaked information that came after, it appears I was right.

    All most people want is the most powerful box, a controller, and great games. Watching TV on your Xbone, sports stuff, voice control tv , etc is nice, but most people arent just dying for those features. I think Sony has the more future proof box, not MS.

    Also, the PS4′s touchpad is more impressive to me than the Kinect for average gam euse. I would rather use that than raise my hands and arms during gameplay.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. fearmonkey

    I didnt read though all the comments, but did anyone notice that the MS exec misspelled their own game, its Ryse not RISE.

    #29 1 year ago
  30. DrDamn

    The screen in the controller is on the WiiU, not the PS4. PS4 has a touch pad, which may have some interesting uses.

    I’m interested to see what the advances in Kinect make possible. They put a lot of support behind Kinect 1 but I can only name a couple of good uses. Kinect Sports was alright but limited by the gesture nature of it – always felt like it did too much for you – fun for accessible party play though. Wreckateer I think is hugely under-rated. Best example and implementation of Kinect on the 360. Again I want to see examples of what the advances bring in gameplay not slides. I think it’s a pity the reaction from the initial press reveal probably made them remove Kinect as a game device almost completely from the main E3 press conference. It’s a major part of the price difference so I want to see reasons for it demonstrated.

    #30 1 year ago
  31. DAVID812

    Yeah I did.

    #31 1 year ago
  32. DAVID812

    In dead rising 3 the zombies will respond to what they hear,coming thru the mike. On your second point you must of got some bad info. ms has stated all of your library was going to be available to 10″family members” The only restriction was not more than one could play the item at a time.
    To use your arms you would have to spend money on a game that uses that feature. I don’t blame you either. If its not fun for you, then don’t waste your money on it. BUT ny the time this console is at the end of its cycle. We will see the very beginning of the way games make your place part of the game.
    Plain and simple the X1 should of kept drm, and not even bothered putting a disk drive in the console. It could of saved the consumers some money.

    #32 1 year ago
  33. DrDamn

    “Plain and simple the X1 should of kept drm, and not even bothered putting a disk drive in the console.”

    I actually agree with that (with some caveating around pricing etc). Would have been bold and a lot clearer message wise.

    The thing I don’t understand about the game sharing – why not keep it for digital purchases? They have the infrastructure and the OS support – drop it for disc games but keep it for digital. That’s the sort of carrot that could help more people switch to the model, feel they are getting good value, and feel like it’s a choice they are making.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. salarta

    @32: “In dead rising 3 the zombies will respond to what they hear,coming thru the mike.”

    … So if you say a specific phrase, they’ll react differently?

    I haven’t bothered keeping up with DR3 since it’s both XBox One exclusive and has nothing to do with the way DR2 was, but zombies reacting to specific phrases is the only way I can imagine that mechanic being meaningful. If it’s just “you make a sound and they hear you,” it’s no different from a normal game’s forms of enemies detecting the player. And if they DO respond to specific phrases, that starts to lead into a question of if they count as zombies, though it would make the mechanic make more sense.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. DrDamn


    Attract them with noise for strategic purposes or accidentally when shouting for a cup of tea :). Sounds quite funny – and a good way to mess with someone else playing too.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. Eregol

    @32 On your second point you must of got some bad info. ms has stated all of your library was going to be available to 10″family members” The only restriction was not more than one could play the item at a time.

    Sure. Where was this 100% confirmed? Cast in stone? Not subject to change. Nowhere.
    It was a rumour that hits stein that MS seemingly added as an olive branch over the DRM issue. Then another supposed MS engineer Pastebin comes up saying that your library would be available to 10 friends, but only as times trials where you would be direct to a buy link to purchase the full game.
    Why is one considered more fact than the other considering the ‘source’?

    MS would never allow 10 people to play one copy of a game. The devs wouldn’t allow it, in some instances they’d lose more money than they would n the pre-owned market.

    You are aware that Sony have allowed Gamesharing on the PS3 for years right?

    #36 1 year ago

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