Disappointing: Next-gen consoles are delivering last-gen resolutions

By Anthony Garreffa on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:55 pm CDT

I'll start off by saying that graphics and resolutions aren't everything - but there's always going to be an argument on both sides, where I'm formally sitting on the side of give me more - more of everything.

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I want better graphics, higher resolutions, higher frame rates, more on-screen action - more everything. Microsoft and Sony have launched their next-generation consoles, the Xbox One and PS4, but most games are being released at around 720p - 900p - falling short of what I really expected next-gen consoles to provide: 1080p at 60FPS minimum.

I've written about this subject quite a few times now, and for those of you who are familiar with my history - I come from the age of when PCs were the master race, and consoles were the casual devices for gamers. I'm from the days of Quake and Unreal, where each iteration from id Software and Epic Games meant I needed to upgrade my PC to max it out - but it was worth it. Every sequel drove the graphic bar higher and higher, but those days are behind us unfortunately.

Games like Titanfall are now here, running at 792p on the Xbox One - a console capable of delivering 1080p, but is obviously not powerful enough to run Titanfall at 1080p at 60FPS. This is a "next-generation console", and it is only delivering the resolution we're used to on the previous generation of consoles.

I haven't run a game on my PC at 720p since my 3dfx days when I was limited by the 4MB of RAM on my graphics card, and could only run 1024x768... now remember folks, that was in the late 90s. This means I've enjoyed over fifteen years of running higher resolutions that what every console between then and now has offered me. >

I quickly upgraded to a Sony G520 CRT, which provided me with 1600x1200, and at the time I upgraded to the first GeForce from NVIDIA. From there, I went directly to a 1920x1200 LCD and I've never looked back. I now run 4K displays, multiple 2560x1440 displays in portrait mode, and more. I hate to be limited, and want to push things to their limits - games, resolutions and frame rates.

When I write an article stating that Titanfall runs at 1402x792 on the Xbox One, it makes me sad for the state of gaming right now. We're seeing games with budgets of $100 million or more, delivering resolutions that are barely better than what we had in the mid 90s on the PC. Sure, the graphics and content within the game are much bigger - but that's an evolution of what happens with gaming.

Even the in-game content has been watered down, look at something like BioShock versus System Shock 2. BioShock was the "spiritual successor" to System Shock 2, but felt so watered down in comparison. SS2 was hard, very hard - and the atmosphere was much better. Your weapons deteriorated, you were truly alone, and scared.

Halo introduced regenerative armor, so that console gamers who couldn't flick shoot like a PC gamer with a mouse could play their games without dying every 30 seconds. This has led to first-person shooters being so watered down, that the first third of a game is a walkthrough, with hints and tips on how to play the game constantly popping up. That or you don't get decent weapons until half way through the game, or throwing DLC packs out on day one of the game's release.

There are a few things that have me excited: Oculus VR and Valve. Valve's SteamOS/Steam Box and Steam Machines are really going to shake things up, and so will Oculus VR's Rift headset. These two technologies are going to really have consumers sliding away from consoles.

Why would you buy an Xbox One right now, when your huge Xbox 360 library cannot be used - but if you purchased a PC and have 1000+ games, those games will all still work on your brand new Steam Machine or Steam Box. That's going to be a big selling point of the upcoming products from Valve, and VR is going to be a huge deal for the world of technology thanks to Oculus VR.

Please Note: This blog is not edited by TweakTown staff, and may not represent the thoughts or opinions of TweakTown or its editors.

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