Hardware: Are The Next-Gen Consoles Already Disappointing?
There’s been ample talk about the forthcoming next-gen console hardware, specifically about how each console will handle launch window titles.
The Xbox One and Playstation 4 are both exponentially more powerful than their respective predecessors, thanks to the AMD APUs inside of each. These consoles use similar components, yes, but the PS4 is the more powerful machine, thanks to faster memory and a GPU with more oomph. “Oomph,” of course, is scientific shorthand for more compute units and more ROPs, but you already knew that.
The PS4 is a more powerful machine than the Xbox One, so it stands to reason that games on the PS4 will look better than on the Xbox One. This appears to be the case, depending on your point of view. If your definition of “better” is a higher resolution, you’re right on the money. As the fine folks over at Digital Foundry have shown, multiplatform titles like Battlefield 4 will play at a higher resolution on the PS4 — 900p (1440×900) versus 720p on the Xbox One. The same can be said of Call of Duty: Ghosts (native 1080p on the PS4 versus 720p scaled to 1080p on the Xbox One).
Resolution aside, does either game look better on the PS4? That’s up for debate, I think. The above Digital Foundry video shows the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Battlefield 4 side-by-side, and it looks like a toss-up to me. In fact, the PS4 version looks just a tad washed out at some points…it’s tough to differentiate, resolution numbers aside.
Ultimately, I’m inclined to agree with Kyle Orland on this (a hat tip to him and Ars for a solid op-ed about the next-gen consoles). All that matters with the next-gen is that you’re playing the games you want to play, and you’re playing said games how you want to play them.
It’s the above “how” that’s sticking in my head right now, though. Both next-gen consoles are going to offer better-looking experiences than the last generation of consoles, without a doubt…but is it a big enough leap? PC Gaming Master Race jokes aside, I’ve been playing games on my PC at 1920×1080 for over four years now. Granted, that takes more cash to achieve than with a boxed console, especially if you go back to 2008-2009 (I still have my 4870X2 around here somewhere…). Does it strike anyone else as strange that brand new consoles coming out in 2013 aren’t running games at 1080p60? I’d even take 1080p30 for certain single-player experiences (like Crysis), but anything below 1080p seems dated in this day and age. Heck, TV companies are already getting aggressive with 4K TVs, and some are already looking beyond that to 8K.
I know it’s not all about resolution; these games could be running at 1080p, but the quality of what’s displayed would be diminished. I was expecting the new consoles to run games at 1080p, with the graphics fidelity equivalent to running a PC version on “High” graphics settings (which is really Medium, since Ultra is the new High). I guess those expectations (at launch, anyway) were unrealistic?
The asterisk here is that, as time goes by, developers will hit a groove with the next-gen platforms, and games will look better as time goes on. I hope that includes 1080p resolutions across the board, too.
Even if the consoles aren’t quite up to snuff for me on a pure power level, it still all circles back to games. The games coming out for these consoles will be fantastic, even if they aren’t on par with their PC cousins. Watch Dogs, Halo 5, Wolfenstein, Titanfall, whatever Rockstar’s next epic is…the list goes on.