Shadowrun Returns creator Jordan Weisman talks about the challenges facing console technology.
The controversy over the capability of the Xbox One and PS4 to run at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second continues to rage on. More specifically, the inability of the former to achieve anything higher than 900p and issues with the latter unable to offer a stable 60 FPS without judders or other issues has come up time and time again.
On one hand, critics say it’s too early to judge since both consoles just released but on the other, consumers feel that if you pay for a next-gen box, you don’t necessarily accept only a marginal improvement in resolution and frame rate over the previous generation. And then you have the PC – which is capable of 1080p/60 FPS on even modest hardware and which is only getting more powerful, a fact which hasn’t escaped most gamers’ notice.
Are consumers genuinely concerned about resolution issues on next gen consoles or just annoyed because said consoles are yet to reach the PC’s level?
GamingBolt spoke to Shadowrun Returns creator and Harebrained Schemes founder Jordan Weisman about the whole issue of “Resolution-gate” and whether consumers were overreacting or annoyed because the PC is still the superior gaming platform. While confessing that he has no basis to comment on the next gen hardware itself, it is a tough situation for both consumers and console manufacturers in general.
“Well, it’s tough. The rate of change in PCs is so much higher than the rate of change in consoles. It’s very hard for consoles to keep up on a technology curve with PCs. A gamer replaces their PC, if not annually, then pretty damn near every couple years versus the console – well, when was the last time you could replace your Xbox?
“It was seven years ago. So it’s pretty hard to fight that curve. Plus, when you’re buying your PC, you’re mentally amortizing it across a lot of things, not just playing games. When you’re buying a console – they tried to broaden it from amortizing it mentally just across games to being the hub of your living room, to be being your digital content player, but there’s already really good digital content players for tens of dollars.
“You don’t need to play hundreds of dollars for that, so I’m not sure how many people felt that ‘Oh yeah, that’s a good reason to pay a bunch more.’ It’s a tough curve to fight. That said, the kind of integration into your living room is easier for a console than for a PC. And to me, it really comes down to what kind of gamer you are.
Harebrained Schemes has been placing a very large emphasis on tablets and smartphones, with both Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall available on both. Weisman feels that tablets are also becoming a fairly big threat to consoles with their increasing power. “The other curve that I would look at is tablets. The power of the tablets is climbing at a really quick rate. Your standard, off-the-shelf tablet is now more powerful than the original Xbox and damn near the Xbox 360. That’s where tablets are now, and I think we’re going to see, over the upcoming handful of years, more ‘gamer’ games coming to these platforms, rather than just mass-market games, and I think that’s going to be an interesting challenge.
“We view that as an interesting opportunity. That’s why we’re more focused on mobile than we are on consoles, because we see that as an interesting opportunity for a smaller publisher like us to go towards.”
You can be sure that various other small publishers feel the same way. One thing is for sure: both the PS4 and Xbox One face numerous challenges from all corners, aside from having to compete with each other. “Resolution-gate” will continue but it’s the least of both consoles’ problems right now.