The Xbox One has had a lot of flak go its way since it’s been announced. For the most part the system’s reputation has somewhat recovered as Microsoft has made adjustments over time to what the system can and cannot do, putting it on par with the PS4 in many respects. Unfortunately, it appears that one issue that’s been dogging the system, the fact that overall its hardware is weaker than the PS4, won’t be going away anytime soon.
After all, many developers have announced that the Xbox One versions of popular upcoming games are going to run at 720p, which may or may not be unscaled to 1080p. The PS4 versions of those games, like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts, are instead being rendered at a native 1080p, with plenty of horsepower leftover to make sure it gets a full 60 frames per second. Infinity Ward boss Mark Rubin explains in an interview with Kotaku why the Xbox One version is running at a lower resolution:
“It’s very possible we can get it to native 1080p [resolution]. I mean I’ve seen it working at 1080p native. It’s just we couldn’t get the frame rate in the neighborhood we wanted it to be. And it wasn’t a lack of effort. It wasn’t that it was like last minute. We had the theoretical hardware for a long time. That’s the thing you get pretty quickly and that doesn’t change dramatically. It was more about resource allocation. The resource allocation is different on the consoles. That huge web of tangled resources, whether it’s threads-based or if it’s GPU threads or if it’s memory – whatever it is – optimization is something that could go theoretically on forever.”
So in some ways it’s looking a little bad for the Xbox One even before it’s been released. But keep in mind however that this is merely the beginning of the next console cycle. Look at some of the games that came out at the beginning of the PS3 and Xbox 360’s lifecycle, like Oblivion, and compare them to games that have come out in the last year or so, like Skyrim. I’ve got a feeling that while the Xbox One might not be as powerful as the PS4, developers are going to discover the little tricks to get the most out of the system, and before too long we’ll see the Xbox One version of a game look practically the same as the PS4 version.