/ design

Thoughts on the Xbox One vs PS4 720p/1080p Debate

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I’ve been reading up on the debate about Xbox One vs PS4 headlines containing 720p/1080p and 30FPS/60FPS. The argument by many is that console gamers don’t care about this and this is typically only something PC gamers care about. I greatly disagree for quite a few reasons.

First of all, these two systems are extremely similar but the PS4 does have better specifications (even with the updates to the Xbox One).
But more importantly, when the PS3 and Xbox 360 came out, not everyone had LED 1080p TVs. A lot of people still had smaller 35″ or less LCD 720p TVs. Back then, the Xbox 360 and PS3 crunching out 720p was perfect and made total sense. But now, almost everyone has a 1080p TV and most have those as a backlit LED. The mass consumer market actually can see the difference now. The difference between 720p and 1080p is not small. Ask anyone who’s seen it.

With this next generation of consoles, consumers are supposed to be stuck with it for the next 5-7 years. 4K is coming. These next-gen consoles can’t play 4K games. That’s ok, because it’s brand new. But they should be able to push 1080p without a hitch because it’s so mainstream now.

The counter-argument is that managing 60FPS on 1080p is extremely difficult. True, but part of the reason you work with consoles is because you get to code low-level and that gives you a significant edge over PC so the comparison is no longer nearly as valid.

Finally, the PS4 can do it and so far the Xbox One can’t. People will be able to tell the difference. This isn’t like comparing resolutions on a smartphone. These are big screen TV’s where higher resolutions are extremely important the bigger your TV is because things start to pixelate fast (hence why 4K is important for the 50″+ TVs.)

The framerate issue is a different story. FPS matters, but not always. Over the years I’ve played games on PC mostly, so I’ve experience gaming both on lower framerates and higher framerates. My opinion on this is that higher framerates only matter for games that need it. Games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Titanfall, Street Fighter X Tekken and other First-Person Shooters and Fighting games need a high framerate because the speed and accuracy of gaming in those genres depend on low latencies and higher framerates in order to deliver as fair a gaming opportunity as possible. Other games like adventure games and the like work perfectly fine with 30 FPS in my opinon. So, to me, this debate is more about the resolutions and graphical quality, which is part of the whole point of this new “next-gen” evolution.

I don’t know 100% for sure why it is that so many Xbox One games are running at 720p, 792p, or 900p at 30 or 60 FPS while the PS4 is comfortably running games at 1080p at 60 FPS. It could be that the Xbox One is weaker spec-wise, it could be a mistake in the way they designed their architecture,  it could be the developers fault,  or it could also be the optimization of the development kit for the Xbox One. Maybe there’s something I don’t see, but what I do see, is that this is a trend and the Sony PS4 is demolishing Microsoft’s PR department with these 720/1080 headlines. January sales showed the PS4 with double the sales of the Xbox One. Not good, Microsoft. Not good at all. Perhaps Titanfall will save you. Either with the PC market or Xbox One. Either way, making Titanfall exclusive was a good idea.

What do you think? Should we care about the resolutions and framerates now that we’re going into the next generation of video game consoles?