Who knew that such a common feature could have such a big impact?!
It’s time to come to terms with the fact that we live in an HD world. The debate on whether better graphics make for better games is one that still rages on today, as it has for the last three decades. However, I think it’s time some of us grew up. Now, I love a good 16-bit sprite as much as the next fella’, but if I truly want to appreciate everything my hobby has to offer, I simply can’t live in the past. Next-gen graphics like those found on the PS4 and Xbox One (combined with the innovative technologies of the Oculus Rift or Morpheus), are what will propel us into a bright new future of gaming.
Problem is, it would seem Microsoft is going to limp its way into said future rather than triumphantly gallop as their Sony counterpart is doing.
Lately there is one number that is proving to be a mountain too steep for the Xbox One to climb: four little digits that make up the 1080p resolution. It has been no secret that the console has fallen short in the eyes of many gamers with its lack of true HD support, an area that Sony has made look easy since launch. While many at Microsoft try to down-play its importance or simply make it out to be just a technical hiccup, others sing a very different tune. Take Tomasz Gop (who is producer for the upcoming Lords of the Fallen on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4) for example. In a recent interview, he all but confirmed that while the PS4 will have no problem hitting its technical strides in the hardware department, getting their game to run in 1080p on Microsoft’s system is a virtual impossibility at this point. “We're working very hard right now to deliver PS4 and Xbox One in 1080p but I can't confirm whether it's possible. It's probably easier for me to confirm it'll happen for PlayStation 4, because it appears on this one we're almost nailing it and pretty much there. For Xbox One though, it’s slightly tougher and we’re still working on it, so I can't confirm that yet.” He says.
So how can such a powerful machine be under-preforming at such an alarming rate?
I mean, this is 2014! You just came off a system last-generation in the 360 that had no problem hitting full HD and 30fps on almost every freakin’ title! The idea that now we have to take one step backwards to take two steps forward is asinine! I demand to know what the hell is going on here Microsoft!
Of course, I won’t hold my breath in anticipation of a hand-written response from the muckety-mucks at the Xbox corporate office, so I’ve decided to do a little digging for myself. There must be an answer to why this new piece of equipment simply can’t get its ass into third gear. Well, based on a recent interview from Boyd Multerer (director at Xbox), there is one specific thing you can point to that is hindering the consoles performance. Apparently, it’s the GPU. He stated that, due to the complexities of the hardware this time around, it has made it more difficult for game developers to crack the code of what it takes to really push the consoles power. Unlocking the secret of 1080 will come, according to Multerer, once game designers figure out the “special sauce” of the GPU.
Ah, so now I feel better! Wait...no I don’t. I think I feel worse.
The idea of pointing to your GPU and saying “…hey, there’s the culprit,” not only seems like a cop out to me, but doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Designing a great next-gen console is only half the battle. Naturally, you’re going to need support from game designers and studios that will produce killer apps for years to come in order to make it a success. How do they see that happening when they’re in a weird Riddler-esque game of cat and mouse with developers? This attitude of, “….they’re smart…they’ll figure it out” could be exactly what kills their chances of ever wrestling market shares away from the PS4.
Is it any wonder that Sony is currently the favorite son? When developers openly prefer to make games for your competitor’s system, it may be time to rethink a few things.