In a podcast with Microsoft's Major Nelson, chief product officer for Xbox Marc Whitten said that the Xbox One's GPU has been officially bumped up from 800 MHz to 853 MHz. He said that beta testing has helped determine that the console could handle the higher GPU frequency. There's speculation that the company merely loosened the governor to allow the extra dose of speed.
Previously the Xbox One was believed to be in the same league as the PlayStation 4 thanks to their theoretical GPU max frequencies. But Whitten said that once you get out of theoretical territory and actually begin to use the machine, tweaks can be made to get the console to where Microsoft wants it at launch. These tweaks also include improving the optimized graphics driver.
"You start with the base DX driver and you take out all parts that don’t look like Xbox One and you add in everything that really, really optimizes that experience," he said. "Almost all of our content partners have picked it up now."
Will the increased GPU core clock be enough to help differentiate the Xbox One from the PlayStation 4's specs? What it may come down to is an exclusives war. The type of first-party content may ultimately be the deciding factor over whether the customer purchases one product over another similar product, not the hardware -- even more so than the current-generation crop.
id Software technical director John Carmack said during his QuakeCon 2013 keynote that both console solutions are essentially the same. "It's almost amazing how close they are in capabilities, how common they are," Carmack said. "The capabilities they give are essentially the same."
He also said that the new generation will be "a good thing for gamers, developers, and an excellent thing for AMD." However later on he compared Kinect with Apple's old one-button mouse because the former motion-sensing gadget still has some fundamental limitations with latency and frame rate.
"I used to give Apple a lot of grief about the one button mouse," Carmack said. "Anybody working with a mouse really wants more buttons — [they're] helpful there. Kinect is sort of like a zero button mouse with a lot of latency on it."