Consoles have had a pugnacious past, way before even some of us hatchlings were born. But those times are long past. A time when a bunch of companies vied to get the gamer’s attention in cut throat competition with the developing prowess of the gaming industry, console wars have come down to two major players: Sony and Microsoft. Some would want Nintendo to be there with those two but I suppose all of us have more than a little space reserved just for them; since whenever any of us got hold of Mario.
But, now that only two competitors are there to try and claim the sweet trophy, it doesn’t mean that the war has lost its charm. It has actually gained a little lustre and attention. And all that intensity has left us all to debate and speculate more. With the new generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft, one of the burning topics that has come to the front is about the differences in the visual aspects that both the consoles promise. And, it has become quite a thing for discussions. Rightly so.
"Of course it’s not really plausible to boast about either’s exclusive games here. Killzone: Shadowfall looks beautiful on the PS4 with it’s 1080p resolution and 60/30 fps gameplay. But by no means does it undermine other games like Ryse: Son of Rome, which looks absolutely gorgeous and awe-inspiring at 900p and 30 fps."
The launch of the Xbox and the PS4 had put us in an iffy situation. But then again, they ought to, that’s why they’re competitors. Anyhow, that initial tizzy that the manufacturers of both the consoles had us in has died down a lot. But not entirely. In fact, one of such differences in the consoles’ working has been doing the rounds in forums, discussions and articles quite busily for some time. It’s almost like the war days again.
No matter how clichéd, ‘console wars’ still has that nice ring to it. Now what caused people to fervently take up this discussion, is the disparity of the resolution and frame rates between the two consoles. Does it really concern any of us? Well, yes. Mostly because the PS4 – Xbox One resolution and frame rate difference is quite noticeable.
Given the belligerent months since the two consoles were loosed upon the world, save Asia and a few other regions, it has been evident that a number of titles common to both the consoles run at a higher resolution and with higher frame rates on the PS4 vis-a-vis the Xbox One.
Of course it’s not really plausible to boast about either’s exclusive games here. Killzone: Shadow Fall looks beautiful on the PS4 with it’s 1080p resolution and 60/30 fps gameplay. But by no means does it undermine other games like Ryse: Son of Rome, which looks absolutely gorgeous and awe-inspiring at 900p and 30 fps. Hence, we got to find the middle ground. And there’s plenty of that to chuck our sandwiches across.
Starting with the multiplatform mainstream games like Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Assassin’s Creed 4 brings out the evident. Battlefield 4 runs at 720p @ 60 fps on the Xbox One while the PS4 handles it at 900p @ 60 fps. Even though the difference in running Battlefield 4 on both the consoles may not sound like much, it doesn’t take a very keen eye to find those little differences irksome. The Xbox might have you fall for the ebullient colours and catchy textures, look closer and you’ll see in the following picture that the screenshot on the right in fact, has serrated and saw like edges which is from the Xbox while the PS 4 one on the left is more even and has a smoothness about it. As said before, minor, but irksome to some.
Image Credit: EuroGamer
"Ryse is a great looking game, like heck it is! But isn’t that the exact reason why we had expected more from the Xbox One? Isn’t Ryse proof enough that the console is way more capable than it has let on with games like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and the like?"
Assassin’s Creed 4 has a similar story with the PS4 giving a better visual treat. Speaking in numbers, Black Flag runs on the same frame rate on both the consoles but on the Xbox One it runs at 900p while Sony’s console churns it out in Full HD. Moving on to Call of Duty: Ghosts, the difference become a little more stark. Now on the Xbox One, the colours of the game are more vivid and vibrant while the game’s graphics on the PS4 seem a little washed and drained but the difference in detailing shows up once you compare the game on both the consoles.
There are lots of videos doing the rounds on the internet that portray the difference of resolution between various games available on both the consoles but videos aren’t always the most reliable source especially with respect to the difference in the graphics on two consoles. Having both the consoles at your disposal isn’t always possible either so digging deep enough might help you arrive at a conclusion as to which aspect of the game is better on what console and even help you decide which to buy. Obviously the graphics part is only one aspect of the respective consoles.
People with big TVs who sit farther back from their TV sets while playing games might not notice any difference owing to the resolution but not everyone has a 60-inch TV set and sits back 8+ feet from their sets. And that’s just the difference in the resolution we’re talking about. With the release of Tomb Raider: Definitive edition, the Xbox One lags behind in frame rate deliverance. While the re-engineered game looks stunning on both the consoles, the PS4 version seems to emerge as the winner in certain respects.
The 30fps experience coupled with 1080p output ensures a much smoother gameplay on the PS4 than on the Xbox One. And we aren’t just number crunching here. PS4 wins the race numerically, yes, but it also seems to be the better player with the respect to the actual experience of playing the games. Save Need for Speed Rivals where the Xbox One scores with its vivid and more consistent visuals even though both consoles run it at 1080p @ 30fps.
Very recently Albert Penello, Microsoft Director of Product Planning, said that the difference between the consoles is not that great and that “Ryse is still the best looking game on any platform. Period. End of story.” That latter part had PC users fuming over his statement. He later on clarified that he was referring to to game consoles and not PC.
But what’s of paramount importance is that Albert did admit that there is quite a difference albeit he deemed it “not that great”. If it were not “that great” a difference, we wouldn’t be discussing this on forums and I wouldn’t be writing this article. The fact of matter here is, that there IS a significant difference in the way various games look on the Xbox One and the PS4 and it has been noticed by more than just a few. Ryse is a great looking game, like heck it is! But isn’t that the exact reason why we had expected more from the Xbox One? Isn’t Ryse proof enough that the console is way more capable than it has let on with games like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and the like?
"Why the Xbox One should be rapped with respect to the visual respect can aslo - in fact, SHOULD also - be blamed on the upscaling used in some games. The upscaling causes tearing and jagged edges, loss of detailing and dullness of textures with the depth of field becoming laughably weird. This is most evident in Call of Duty: Ghosts."
Something that has to be borne in mind is that the issue of the difference in resolution and frame rates between the Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4 is very subjective. One aspect of it doesn’t define and justify abhorring the whole lot of work put into the consoles over the years. Okay, some games look better on the PS4, but then look at the Xbox One.
It has its own kitty bunch full of goodies too. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition makes use of Kinect to let the player issue voice commands and let them use the camera to lean and look past walls at some instances in the game. The Xbox One definitely has more vivacious graphics on many games. But that often comes at the cost of crispness and sharpness of detail. Hence, the preference of one console over the other becomes very relative.
Some of us want to enjoy a good game with an engaging and intuitive story and be done with it. Ofttimes we’re frustrated that developers focused on the visual aspect of the game so much that they forget we gamers were actually looking forward to a story. But when they don’t give enough attention to the graphics is also when gamers are abraded of their calm. It doesn’t matter that there are denials and agreements on the differences in the two consoles or not.
What matters is, even if by happenstance, people noticed that Microsoft’s console was dawdling behind the PS4 – no matter how minutely – is de facto pointing towards the fact that Microsoft hasn’t given enough attention to it’s console. Seeing how games look on the PS4, I’d prefer that over the Xbox One.
Why the Xbox One should be rapped with respect to the visual respect can also – in fact, SHOULD also – be blamed on the upscaling used in some games. The upscaling causes tearing and jagged edges, loss of detailing and dullness of textures with the depth of field becoming laughably weird. This is most evident in Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Image Credit: IGN
"The new generation consoles have a kindled new hope and expectations in our minds from the two stalwarts in the gaming industry and it pains when either disappoints. Ryse: Son of Rome shows that the Xbox One is capable of a lot! But what’s of consequence is that the Sony throttled opportunity by its throat when it came rapping at its door and boy! Aren’t we happy."
It’s not that the Xbox One is a ‘bad’ console per se. It’s nowhere near what the word connotes. Microsoft didn’t hit some of the right marks with its new console. There are problems with certain games on the PS4 too. There were reports of consistency issues in Dead Rising 3, COD: Ghosts and Need for Speed: Rivals. But they were fixed so we can’t blame them anymore.
The new generation consoles have a kindled new hope and expectations in our minds from the two stalwarts in the gaming industry and it pains when either disappoints. Ryse: Son of Rome shows that the Xbox One is capable of a lot! But what’s of consequence is that the Sony throttled opportunity by its throat when it came rapping at its door and boy! Aren’t we happy.
The Xbox One is a very capable system and there’s a bright future standing with open arms at the end of the sunlit field. For goodness’ sake Microsoft, it’s not even a dark dank tunnel with a loose roof that you have to run beneath to get to the other end of to rendezvous with the bright shining and hopeful light. How hard is it? You already have a bright glowing field of gleeful gamers glowing with hope and enigmatic belief! It may be too early to judge them but save the trouble of weeping and cursing now than later.
Does it matter that the PS4 offers better frame rates and resolution in a number of games that are also there on the Xbox One? Yes, it does. It concerns no small number people out there. Some people have for the precise reason of the disparity between the visual performance of the two consoles preferred Sony’s progeny over Microsoft’s and that lot is rueful and miffed at the latter’s past tardy and remiss behavior. Microsoft better make sure to get wind of this lot and amend the issue. And soon.