Digital Foundry Declares Xbox One the Unanimous Winner of Next-Gen Technological Showdown
There have been many spurious rumours floating around regarding the supposed superiority of PS4 ports of certain next generation multiplatform ports, yet until now gamers have been unable to compare the games directly, and it seems that the Sony defense force might be in for a bit of a rude awakening. Richard Leadbetter, the technical mastermind behind Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, has spent some time with both next-gen consoles, and has come to the simple conclusion that the Xbox One is hands-down the more capable console.
Much has been made of the PS4’s resolution, yet extensive analysis has revealed that the Xbox One is able to trump this easily through the use of Microsoft’s patented super pixel technology. Super pixels are essentially the same thing as regular pixels, yet have the potential to be rendered up to two times larger. What this means for Xbox One games is that the same scene can be rendered using fewer pixels, meaning that the Xbox One can dedicate additional graphical resources to improving core graphical effects which the PS4 must instead expend on rendering out pixels.
The Xbox One’s advantages do not end there, as the console features many fixed function proprietary components designed to enhance gameplay, the most notable of which is the console’s use of high-latency dedicated lag buffers. Many credible sources have noted that when frames are displayed after being rendered the alacrity of their appearance can serve to make a game’s control input noticeably twitchy. The Xbox One’s lag buffers are able to mitigate this phenomenon by synching rendered frames and the game’s control input scheme to a later timing, making for digital experiences which are much more consistent.
Finally, the Xbox One is set to be the exclusive home of a number of next-generation rendering techniques only supported by Microsoft’s newest Direct X 11.69 revision. These techniques include: cartographical mapping, parasol shading techniques, and the newest advent in particle effect technology, granular particles [the Xbox One is practically packed full of the things]. All these qualities combine to make Xbox One the true home of next generation gaming, while the PS4 struggles to keep up.
Microsoft Execs Promote the Powerful Xbox One
When you have a machine that is as undeniably powerful as the Xbox One, it should practically sell itself. Nonetheless, this week Microsoft executives have been talking up the absolute sense that a day-1 Xbox One purchase makes for every consumer. Microsoft’s Phill Spencer believes that the current nonsense over game resolutions will blow over once consumers buy an Xbox One on launch day, and are able to experience those super pixels for themselves. Games after all are about fun, not arbitrary numbers like 720p. The Xbox One is all about the games, and more powerful platforms such as the PC cannot hope to match its impressive line-up of exclusive software, like Titanfall. Moreover, the platforms competing with the Xbox One certainly are not the best all-in-one machines, so consumers looking at the PC or PS4 to serve as all-in-one devices will be sorely disappointed. Devices which utilise outdated some-in-one technology are unable to play TV, which makes their status as gaming consoles appear somewhat untenable. Only Microsoft and Xbox One will allow gamers to collect achievements and generate gamerscore by watching TV!
“Go play the games and tell us what you think about what they look. Right now, gamers don’t have the games to go play. They can’t walk into their local store and play the games. So, it doesn’t really surprise me that they’re going to focus on the specs that they can. I don’t criticize anyone for doing that. In the end, we play the games, not the resolution. I think it’ll blow over as people get to play the games.
You look at high-end PC games right now. If you were just looking at screen resolution and framerate, you’d be a PC gamer. Because you can spend $800 on a video card and put it in. I’ve built those rigs. I can play those games, I understand that. But that doesn’t mean the best games are there. It doesn’t mean it’s the best all-in-one experience.
If people want to get hung up on the numbers, they can do that, but really what they should be looking at is what’s on screen, with the controller in their hands, and play[ing] the game. If they really care they can go play Forza at 1080p / 60 fps; a beautiful game. But games should be defined by more than their framerate and resolution. I think this is an industry about fun and people should put the controller in their hand – or gesture – and play the games and decide what they like. I think that’s the soul of what this industry’s about.”
Microsoft Canada’s director of marketing, Craig Flannagan, is of the opinion that the Xbox One is so powerful that the next console generation will span more than a decade! To him the Xbox One is by far the superior proposition on account of its superior raft of services, such as TV. It is for this reason that the Xbox One will constitute the the best Christmas gift for gamers this, or indeed any other, holiday season.
“Xbox One is going to start ahead, in terms of the experience we can deliver,” Flannagan said. “And because we’re built for the future, we’re going to stay ahead. I think there is not a better experience you can buy this holiday, and there will not be a time this generation where there’s a better experience you can buy than Xbox One…And it’s probably going to be a pretty long generation. We’re probably here for a while because we’re built for the future. This is a console that will last you, conservatively a decade, if I had to put a bet down today.”
If this does not constitute proof that the Xbox One will dominate the video game industry for the next decade, then one does not know what would. The Xbox One UI features 100% more television integration than either of its competitors, so by that metric we can determine that it is the clearly superior gaming console. At this point the console’s only detractors appear to be Japanese racists who hate our freedom.
Developers Speak Out in Favour of the Xbox One’s Power
Developers love the Xbox One! The console gives them the power to make the best looking games of the next generation, with technologies such as super pixels and granular particle effects set to positively differentiate it from the less advanced competition. The development community loves the Xbox One so much that a broad selection of the development community this week spontaneously decided to reach out to game journalists in order to speak out in favour of Xbox One development.
For Dan Greenawalt, the creative director of Turn 10 who has been involved in the development of Forza 5, support for a 1080p resolution is something developers have to plan from the beginning, which is why PC gamers are unable to force 1080p for the handful of titles which do not support it, such as Dark Souls.
“You don’t happen your way into 1080p, it doesn’t matter how much power you have. You plan it from the beginning. And 60fps is even harder – it has to be in the culture of your team that every little aspect of content, the code, everything has to be developed that way. You start off with that plan and you build that plan.
For Danny Isaac, an executive producer for Rare who is currently working on Kinect Sports Rivals, the next console generation is more about innovation than it is about power. Isaac recounts the way that his game accidentally ended up with a 1080p resolution, and makes the extremely important point that the human eye can only notice changes in resolution up to 900p, and no more [making emerging technologies like 4k more than a little superfluous]. He also notes that with Kinect the Xbox one has the greatest controller that the world has ever seen, a development that Sony’s PS4 is ill-placed to match.
“We actually started at 720p and we didn’t think we had a problem there. The world still looked lush. The water looked fantastic. We went up to 960 and it got a bit crisper, and I remember looking at it going, ‘actually, yeah, that’s a big improvement.
You get to a certain resolution where it doesn’t make any difference if I add more pixels. The human eye can’t pick it up. You start chasing something that – I wouldn’t say it’s not important – but it’s only a piece. It’s a slither of the story.
When I was younger and buying consoles, the Commodore 64 and Amiga, it was always about how many polygons it can push and how much power does it have? People still find that important. They still want to see something they haven’t seen before graphically. But next-gen is a much bigger experience than that now.
One is really an amalgamation of a number of things. You have great graphical fidelity and power, but then we’ve got the sensor. We have a great controller.”
Crytek design director, P J Esteves, highlights the absurdity of gamers who fixate of arbitrary details like 720p, by noting that games already looked just fine on last generation’s consoles, so there is no real need to do anything differently. He also points out the absolute fact that there is absolutely no perceptible difference in image quality between native 1080p and a 900p image that has been stretched to fit a 1080p resolution [the trick must be in the Xbox One’s superior use of nautical scaling].
“People just get really caught up because that’s what some people want to talk about, because I don’t think they have enough games to really sink their teeth into to figure out what that really means. But Crysis 2 was running at 720 and that game was beautiful on Xbox 360 for that time. Crysis 3 as well. Go figure.
The difference between 900 and 1080 it’s like… when some of the best rendering programmers in the world, when we sit down and look at the difference and they’re like, no, 900 is fine, the difference is infinitesimal that you’re not going to really recognise it.”
One is most pleased that the foremost technical minds of the development community decided to come out and dispel some of the myths surrounding this so-called 1080p business. This will no doubt allow most anyone who was on the fence about whether or not to buy an Xbox One to make their purchase with full confidence that the Xbox one is the most powerful console available for five hundred dollars.