Per the Forbes article:
It’s been a rumor for some time now and technically still is, but it seems like it’s time to talk about this coming/current controversy of the differences in resolution resolution between certain launch games for Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.
There are a growing collection of “insiders” who are all coming back with some variant of the following information. Call of Duty: Ghosts will run at 720p resolution on Xbox One, and 1080p on PS4. There’s additional information concerning Battlefield 4 that says the game is currently 720p on Xbox One and 900p on PS4.
While there’s no official confirmation on this, I think it’s alright to start debating the operative point here: Does it matter?
This has already been debated in many gaming circles with some forums saying this spells further doom for the Xbox One, which didn’t need any more bad press, especially none this close to launch. Others say that the difference is negligible, and those who see them running side by side can’t tell the difference.
To me, this is one of those things that die-hard fans will love to debate to death on forums like NeoGAF and Reddit, but will have very little real world impact on a game like Call of Duty: Ghosts. Yes, it would certainly be a bummer that the game would be 720p on a brand new next-generation console, as new 720p TVs are barely even being made this point and the new hotness is 4K resolution, but if the framerate is comparable across resolutions, I think most average players won’t notice a difference.
And the fact remains, Call of Duty has a native advantage of the Xbox One anyway simply because the majority of games prefer the Xbox version of the game. It was true of the 360, and judging from preorders, it’s true of the One as well, as it is currently besting the PS4 for early reserved copies of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Granted, it’s not a huge gulf, but it’s a consistent one, at least for COD. Battlefield 4, meanwhile, is preferred by PS4 players over its One variant.
I don’t believe 720p resolution for one or even a handful of games is enough to sway Xbox devotees from buying one system or another at launch. Maybe a few, but not enough to move any needles significantly.
But where this could become a problem is if the resolution disparity remains consistent well into the future. Most gamers who care about this sort of thing kind of assumed at this point that all new games would be 1080p after nearly a decade of largely 720p titles. The fact that this isn’t the case is disappointing to many, and if the One continues to struggle with this well past launch, it could turn into a perception problem for the system. Nobody wants the “underpowered” console, after all.
The truth is, however, even if Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 are 720p on Xbox One, because of the framerate and various other power advancements of the new systems, they will both be the best looking versions of either game to date (on consoles, naturally), and the only ones complaining will be those studying screenshots from both versions with a magnifying glass. Which will not be most people.
Yes, as tends to always happen, in six, seven or eight years we’ll look back at the launch games for the One and PS4 and laugh about what we used to think were “amazing” graphics, but that’s how this cycle works. Launch titles (especially cross-gen ones) are not going to be perfect, but even so, they’re going to be leagues better looking than anything we’ve seen to date on consoles, even if they’re 720p.
You wouldn't believe how hard it was to take this selfie of the back of my head!