You're the one who felt the need to attach an arbitrary benchmark score equivalent for the PS3 client with nothing to go on but wishful thinking and fanboyism. The PS3 is aging hardware, and SE is not some god of programming.
I'm going to assume you didn't play the PS2 version of FFXI or there recent DS titles either. S-E is a programming God on the consoles, but they ***** up the PC games for some reason. If anything, there's a better chance S-E is lazier on the FFXIV PC version simply because they can just force people to upgrade. Look at how badly FFXI was ported. I'm not implying FFXIV will be THAT bad, but you have to admit it was lazy of them. No other word besides lazy fits. The PS3 is locked in their base settings so S-E can't really cut any corners.
Never assume without reason. I actually played FFXI for two years on PS2 before getting a video card that allowed my PC to run it.
SE's programmers are simply not all that, regardless of platform. They are good; but they are not great, and they are not geniuses. They had a bright, shining moment in the PS2 era, and that's it. What they DO have is not great programmers but some great character artists and visual effect designers. But there's only so much the art team can do to make a game look good - especially when aiming for the kind of realistic look SE tries so hard to achieve.
As an example of this consider: game performance in MMORPGs is heavily affected by hard drive access, and inefficient hard drive usage can cause loading delays, pop-up, and frame-rate stuttering. Given this, you'd think that SE would know better than to make their game data consist of a large number of relatively small files, which is the most inefficient way possible of storing game data - MUCH better to have a handful of large files that contain virtual file systems, and this is regardless of platform. This has been known and documented for well over a decade, and yet even FFXIV uses... a large number of small files.
The proprietary Crystal Tools engine used in 13 and 14 continues to use the same dodgy depth of field first used in Final Fantasy X, right down to the number of samples used (a paltry 3), even though the programmers at Infinity Ward published a better depth-of-field algorithm complete with shader code
in 2007. They continue to use the same terrible motion blur they've been using since the PS1 days - even though NVIDIA presented a better algorithm at the Game Developers Conference in 2003. And these are both effects that can be done on the PS3 hardware.
They didn't implement realistic character shadows until FFXI, and those were hampered by being implemented strictly per-object and by using low-resolution shadow maps - Level 5 had better character shadows in Dark Cloud, which came out 8 months before FFX.
How can one be a god and not be on the cutting edge?
All you need to know is that SE spent an enormous amount of time and money developing the Crystal Tools engine with the plan of using it in all their future titles; yet they are all but abandoning it after only 2 titles (only FF13 and FF14 use it) in favor of the Unreal Engine, and have flat-out stated that developing Crystal Tools was a mistake.
Most tech people I talk to believe the PS3 will perform around the 5000 benchmark. Those people all happen to be game developers I knew from school. So pardon me if I take their word over yours. If S-E can push out a game in 720 that looks similar to FFXIII's eye candy effects without lagging, I'll be satisfied.
Then they're engaging in some wishful thinking. 5k is the kind of score a PC with a somewhat better CPU and much superior GPU gets... I have trouble believing that the PS3 can perform like that no matter how much fairy dust you sprinkle on it.
In all honesty, you should probably expect it to run fairly well most of the time - though not looking as good as the PC version - with noticeable frame rate drops in large-group events and crowded areas.
Not that much more. A PC OS does consume more RAM, but PCs also have significantly more RAM than the PS3. As far as processing power goes, Vista uses about 8-10% of my CPU's power, and it's an older, slower CPU. And Vista, at least, uses almost none of the GPU's capacity, because Vista now does most of it's drawing in software.
Windows Vista and 7 suck down close to 1GB of ram just for the OS. How you can justify this like it's no big deal. Then we have all those open tabs like Firefox and virus protection running the background. Do I seriously have to open my Task manager to prove my point here?
Because it's not a big deal. Windows will quite happily page large chunks of itself out to virtual memory, keeping in RAM only those parts that are being used heavily. And a large chunk of Windows' memory usage is disk cache anyway - it tries to use almost all free RAM to cache frequently read data from the hard drive to speed up disk access, but will release that cache memory as other programs use more RAM.
So what if Vista takes up around 500 MB of RAM (which is what it is currently using at this very moment on my PC), especially given that PCs nowadays generally have at least 2 GB of RAM? That still leaves a lot more room to play around with than on the PS3, with it's 256 MB of system RAM - of which the PS3 OS takes up 43 MB.
Sorry I was referring to the NA release, my mistake. It's important though because some people out there feel a console MMO is a stupid idea and waste of time. I think that because of the insane specs required to run FFXIV at "decent settings", the Ps3 version will do much better than expected back at last year's E3 announcement. The Ps3 might be aging, but your average player won't have a good enough system to play it anyways. Most of us aren't prepared to spend $1000 bucks on an unproven game just to update our PC that works just fine with everything including Crysis. Plus the economy is terrible so I can see many more console users this time around.
The PC version's requirements aren't really that insane.
That notwithstanding, I don't see any reason to assume that the NA player base will be dominated by PS3 users for any noticeable amount of time. Remember, after all, that FFXI when it came out required similarly high-end PCs for good performance, and yet PS2 users never made up more than about 40% of the NA player base.