Call of Duty Black Ops 3 PS4 vs Xbox One Initial Face-off: Uneven Performance

Our initial look into the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Call of Duty Black Ops 3.

Posted By | On 10th, Nov. 2015 Under Article, Graphics Analysis | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

After playing through the first few hours of Call of Duty Black Ops 3, we are now ready to offer our initial impressions of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Treyarch’s much anticipated first person shooter. Please note that this is an initial analysis and a final article including a detailed comparison with the PC version will be published later.

Technically speaking, Treyarch have always been the one to push the visual boundaries within the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty Black Ops and Black Ops 2 were perhaps one of the best looking first person shooters with solid performance, visual fidelity and aesthetics on last gen consoles. However, Treyarch is not using a brand new engine for Call of Duty Black Ops 3. The game uses a heavily modified engine with a new renderer focusing on re-engineering certain aspects of the tools and the framework which allows the unification of Campaign, Multiplayer, and Zombies mode. Some may say that Treyarch is simply being lazy by rehashing old code but a modified engine is generally not a bad thing [if done right] and a lot of stuff is actually “modified” behind the scenes in games development. We will discuss in detail about the various aspects of the engine in our final analysis but does it get the job done?

The PS4 and Xbox One versions use a dynamic resolution. The PS4 version can scale up to a full native 1920 X 1080p resolution down to 1360 X 1080p and the Xbox One version from 1600 X 900p to 1280 X 900p approximately. The game targets a 60fps frame rate cap but is not able to achieve a locked fps with frequent drops. Scripted sequences and static scenarios are strangely locked at 30fps but overall, it’s the PS4 version that manages to run at a better frame rate but not by much.

Besides the performance and pixel rendering parameters, both versions employ the same core assets and texture quality. The game uses filmic SMAA T2x that does a fantastic job of reducing the jaggies on nearby objects thereby reducing distortion in image quality. The game uses trilinear filtering on ground surfaces and textures which does an okay job really…but anisotropic filtering would have been definitely appreciated here. At times, the engine will load in assets quicker on the PS4 compared to the Xbox One, resulting into streaming issues on the latter. This was rare but we witnessed it a couple of times. And guess what is back? Dithered shadows!

We will be looking into Call of Duty Black Ops 3 in a lot more detail this week. So stay tuned.

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    Both the Xbox One and PS4 versions at a Dynamic resolution

    What the Playstation fanboys say that Dynamic resolution is great lol

    • SpaceJockey

      You forgot to mention that the ps4 does it better though. Not by much but it’s worth getting the better of the two when they’re the same price.

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      Barely doing it better lol
      So you’re saying that the PS4 wins cause it barely does it better dude you are
      Hilarious hahaha
      New motto
      “Playstation 4 barely doing it better Awaits”

    • SpaceJockey

      Better than ” regularly doing it worse than ps4″ hoes that for a motto, But hey I never expected you to be reasonable,

    • nova

      Barely ? Are you aware that the lowest possible resolution on PS4 is higher than the higest possible resolution on XB1 ?

      1360x1080p has more pixels than 1600x900p… enjoy your weak console…

    • nick

      PC still does it better than your weak PS4. Masterrace! @no@disqus_6nN4LRDP7z:disqus

    • rudero

      If only you fake PC owners actually owened these super pcs you act as if you have…

    • Marcel Anabach

      Bro even a 500$ pc performes way better than both consoles. So please don’t tell me that you need a “super pc” to outperform both consoles……

    • Tech junkie

      Are you aware you can’t tell the difference

    • HyDrO

      It’s not overall graphics here where 1080p comes out on top, but seeing players crouched or prone in far distances that makes them easier to spot and not blended in with the environment. Technical analysis already shows Xbox One gets blurry here. No 1080p isn’t a must have but don’t act like there’s no difference when there is, especially for competitive multiplayer. Xbox Ones few 1080p games (Destiny) really look amazing when its implemented and look way sharper.

    • Tech junkie

      Yeah. But your TV probably isn’t big enough for 1080p to make a difference over 900p

    • Leeboyopm

      I have my xbox one on my 24 in my bedroom and ps4 on my 50 in front room and can tell difference on both but more so on my pc.

    • HyDrO

      Here’s just one article but most say you can as long as you aren’t sitting far away regardless of the TV size.

    • Tech junkie

      Size has everything to do with it.
      I can link you 100 different versions of the chart in the article.

      No different than an eye chart. You can read the bigger letters because of size. Not because the resolution is less. Given the resolution is infinite. The human eye is analog. What you focus on also detirmins what you can’t see.

      While some people have better than 20/20 I’m talking average.
      Given the average tv in North America is 42″ with an average viewing distance of 10′ most people can’t tell.

      I have a 65″ at 9′ while the difference can be almost noticeablenoticeable. moving game play you can’t tell and I can read the second from the bottom line on an eye chart.

      There are so many variables and focusing your vision is a huge one.
      Sure still pics, screen shots and slow moving tests might show subtle differences, its a whole new world with actual game play involved.
      Your eye isn’t looking for detail when playing a twitch shooter for example.

    • HyDrO

      So are you trying to say no one should buy anything over a 720p TV because you wont notice a difference? How about 4k, no difference there either?

    • HyDrO

      PC gamers have had these resolutions for a long time. If you play a game at 1280×720 and crank it up to 1920×1080, there’s a difference. Idk why so many people try to talk people out of it. I’m sure if both consoles were always native 1080p we wouldn’t have to have these debates.

    • Tech junkie

      I understand but viewing distances on PC are not the same as a TV in a living room on average. There are always exceptions.

      I’ve personally been having this debate for years in regards to what resolution tv to buy. Nothing to do with gaming. So I carry that knowledge. Knowing what I know it’s hilarious to watch these fan boys debate over 1080p vs 900p

    • HyDrO

      I have the same viewing range with my TV as my monitor. Girlfriend thinks it’s weird but I started PC gaming long before consoles so the habit stuck. I sit about 4-5 feet away.

    • rudero

      Xbox one! you can not tell it is the worst version if you stand far enough away from your tv… Just do not buy a tv larger than 55″ or over 720p and have a living room with at least 20 feet of space and one eye closed and if you are old enough to drink(most likely not) do so, this helps you buy into whole idea and helps with the lower frames per second….


      Typical Playstation fanboys reponse

    • Clint Hoffman

      System “A” has higher resolutions overall than System “B”.
      Both systems dynamically scale dependent on the scene but when doing so, System “A” still keeps a higher resolution.
      Then its noted that even though System “A” is running a higher resolution it is still outperforming System “B”…..

      And yet people are silly enough to imply SpaceJockey is a Fanboy. He seems pretty intelligent to anyone that would be deemed a functioning part of society and can understand value of dollars for performance vs the M$ marketing of a pig wearing lipstick. LOL

    • doctorhino

      If you have both system and can choose between the 2, and you have online passes to psn and xbox live just to make it fair, I still think it should come down to the system you are more likely to enjoy the online gameplay. For me I had xbox live cards saved up and tend to prefer the xbox one controller a little bit more for fps games so I choose the Xbox One version. I could have easily chosen the ps4 version, as I have the system and could have obtained it for roughly the same price, but the choice still came down to which online environment and with what controller interface, not the minor graphical details between the two.
      For those that chose it only for minor graphical details I hope you are satisfied and can notice a difference. Or if you really don’t care or prefer the PS4 controller more power to you. I tend to think those with both systems usually have a preference of which controller feels better for twitch fps’s though.

    • Mark

      Defenitely the X1 controller for me. Just got my Elite too, and dam, the analogs have this distinct grip, it’s amazing.

    • Tech junkie

      General rule with playstation fanboys is its only ok of playstation does it. If xbox does it they should quit making consoles

    • rudero

      The general rule is just hating Microsoft in general. I think that is why a large majority bash them… So they hopefully go away… And they did an awesome job at creating more enemies from their Kinect and last three years of the Xbox 360 and reveal of this console.
      So in short, it is good as long as Sony does it better not so much the actual details. i.e. 900p on one with a lower fps is not as good as 1080p with better fps and, well, 720 will never happen on the ps4 so I could not fathom that but if it did, we could only imagine what the Xbox version would look like…

    • Tech junkie

      Thing is. I love my kinect and so do many others. Graphics don’t really make the game better and if you think they do why are you wasting your time on console.

      I personally only hate on Sony to get a rise out of fan boys I don’t have any animosity towards Sony, I have every other Sony console. I play xbox because I prefer the exclusives, its what my friends play, I like the media features and kinect.

      This my console is better stuff is pure Internet entertainment. Specs don’t make gaming fun. The games do.

    • HyDrO

      Graphics do make a game better if built on the foundation of a great story and mechanics, anyone who says otherwise is an idiot. Go play Destiny on Xbox One and then 360 and tell me graphics doesn’t make a difference (same poor story, same great mechanics, only graphics and resolution difference).

    • Tech junkie

      Except the resolution is significantly lower 720 to 1080 only takes closer than 9′ or larger than a 50′ screen to see the difference.

      What resolution you can see is determined by viewing distance and screen size. Most peoples setups can’t see the difference between 720p and 1080p. Let alone 900p and 1080p.

    • HyDrO

      You know, everyone has different answers when it comes to resolution. I personally see a difference when Netflix drops from 1080p to 720p or vice versa. I see a difference with Xbox 360 720p games vs Xbox One 1080p (no sense of blur or jagged edges). Of course there’s anti-aliasing that can have the same effect but if a GPU can reach 1080p with anti-aliasing (PS4 gets very close if not spot on) the image looks completely sharp with no blur or jagged edges (look at Forza). It’s very subjective but what it comes down to is the TV, if you shelled out extra cash for a 1080p TV don’t you want your games, streaming, and blu-ray all in 1080p? Why is your game box the only device not rendering at 1080p?

  • Mark

    I think the ending in this clip is a bit much. The dam machine’s ripping off his arms, and eats his chest with punches, blood everywhere till he loses consciousness…pretty dam dark scene.

  • Oli Laban

    “It’s the PS4 version that manages to run at a better frame rate”

    What? XB1’s frame rate is capped, PS4’s isn’t. I’ve had so many frame rate drops on PS4 it’s unbearable.

    • HyDrO

      Really? I haven’t had frame drops except in split screen campaign on PS4 and even then it wasn’t “so many” and “unbearable”. Weird. You sure you have a PS4?


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