I’m here today to talk about why graphical resolution and framerate upgrades are a pivotal point in the 8th generation of gaming consoles and why without these upgrades, the Xbox One and Playstation 4 will be laughing stocks. So we’ll start off with the definition of each of these terms. 1080p is the pixel density and how many pixels are on your screen(graphical fidelity). 60FPS means 60 frames per second. This is literally as simple as how many pictures show up on your screen within 1 second.
We’ll start with pixel density. The industry standard for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 was 1280x720p. This is high-def, but not true HD. Fast forward to this generation, the hardware is upto 16x better than the previous set of consoles and so you would think squeezing 1920x1080p would be a piece of cake, right? Well some developers seem to be having issues with this, only being able to manage 900p and then upscaling it to 1080p. This is definitely a worry given how much more powerful these machines are that their predecessors and the majority of the problems seem to be coming from the Xbox side of things.
Another confusing thing coming from this debate is that an Xbox spokesperson said that the team behind the Xbox were gearing up the cloud and their system for 4K gaming. This seems unlikely in it’s current state, but do Microsoft have a master plan tucked away, who knows? One thing that is for certain is that as developers learn to code for these machines we will definitely see increases in graphical fidelity and we won’t be stuck in the dark ages, living in the shadow of 7th generation technology for too long.
The next, and arguably biggest, point is the framerate. It’s all well and good having a game run at 4K with mega awesome graphics, but if they can only hold 18 frames per second, we have an issue. The standard for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 was really dependant on the game, how much action was happening and what “feel” the developers would go for.
Call of Duty is held in high regard for being able to pull off these smooth, crisp and gratifying gunfights in both their singleplayer and, more notably, multiplayer. This is in no small part due to the consistant high framerate of 60 frames per second, where games like Battlefield 3 seemed to lack a little something, probably due to the fact it was running at 30FPS. I have no doubt that if Dice and EA were able to sort out their servers and matchmaking issues quicker, they would have stomped that years Call of Duty, simply because Battlefield 4 was a smoother, 60 frames per second, experience that it’s predecessor.
In my experience, although Battlefield 4 had to pull some strings in terms of resolution, it was definitely worth it and I think that 60 frames per second should always be prioritised over graphical resolution, provided that the developers can at least get their game to run at 1280x720p. That being said, it is not acceptable that games continue to be put out at 900p 30 frames per second this far into the next generations life cycle. We are trying to push the boundaries with these consoles, not stumble around with sub-par graphics and performance, it is making the industry look weak and fuelling these “fan-boy keyboard warrior” console war comments we so often see all over the internet. It also gives PC elitists ammunition to throw in the faces of people who just want to sit on their sofa, relax and play a game of Call of Duty or Fifa, who don’t really care which consoles better and don’t want the PC experiences of bugs, bad ports, broken components etc.
Overall, this console generation will not move forward unless something is done either on the software or hardware side of things to allow developers to push what this console is capable of (which should be a heck of a lot more than the old gen!). If we continue to see 720p 30FPS games later into gen 8, you can kiss a lot of customers goodbye, as people would rather migrate either completely to mobile games, or to PC where the experience can be a lot better anyway!
Let us know what you think about graphical resolution. Also, if you’d like, you can chime in on the framerate debate down below.