Why The 'Resolutiongate' Snobs Are Wrong About Call Of Duty: Ghosts
We argue that concerns about the 720p vs. 1080p Xbox One and PS4 disparity are about the long term futures of the consoles.
Published on Nov 5, 2013
There’s a lot of noise on the internet about what has been dubbed ‘resolutiongate’ – the news that Call of Duty: Ghosts will run at a native 1080p on PS4 and at a native 720p on Xbox One.
Around all that chatter, there’s also a lot of snobbishness about the idea that people might care that Call of Duty: Ghosts “only” runs at 720p on the Xbox One.
It’s even there in the term ‘resolutiongate’, a phrase that hints at a trivial issue being turned into something of great import by those who are wringing their hands over it.
However, in suggesting that those who are concerned about the possible visual discrepancies between the PS4 and Xbox One are slack-jawed idiots obsessed by the idea of MORE GRAPHICS and the exponential growth of meaningless numbers, these snobs are completely missing the point.
Sure, there are undoubtedly a few people out there who have an unhealthy obsession with visual fidelity and technological wizadry. People who would be more impressed by the implementation of ground-breaking shoelace tech that sees every character’s shoelaces flutter realistically in the wind than they would by the introduction of an innovative gameplay mechanic.
But they are the minority. The majority of people have very good reasons to express concern about the whole 1080p vs. 720p debacle and it’s got nothing to do with being obsessed by meaningless numbers, being a gibbering fanboy or an incredulous neckbeard.
In fact, it’s not necessarily even got anything to do with what Call of Duty: Ghosts will look like on PS4 and Xbox One.
The question for a potential Xbox One owner who is going to be £429 out of pocket is: what does the fact that Infinity Ward were unable to get Call of Duty: Ghosts running at a native 1080p tell me about the long-term future of my console?
The Future of the Xbox One
Let’s start with the obvious. The PS4 costs £349 and the Xbox One £429.
Given that Microsoft are asking for £80 more for their console, why should potential Xbox One owners not express concern that their more expensive console is seemingly being outperformed by a significantly cheaper bit of kit?
When you also consider that there have been a number of rumours suggesting that the PS4 will be a more capable machine than the Xbox One, those looking at investing their hard-earned cash in a next-gen console are quite right to wonder what this means for games one, five or eight years down the line.
You might say that Call of Duty: Ghosts isn’t going to look significantly different on PS4 and Xbox One, but whether that is the case or not, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a more significant disparity in the future, particularly if the Xbox One is struggling with a cross-generational game in Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Of course, we know that developers will get better at working with PS4 and Xbox One hardware as time goes on.
Who knows, maybe the Xbox One will ultimately turn out to be the more capable hardware. But all someone who is looking at spending a significant amount of money has to go on is what we know now, and that is that the Xbox One does not run Call of Duty: Ghosts at a native 1080p.
Some would argue that this is all about graphical prowess and spectacle and has nothing to do with what’s important, the games that we will be playing on the consoles.
Xbox One, PS4 & E3
This whole issue needs to be considered in the context of everything that’s happened since E3.
First there were the cheers at the PS4 E3 conference after which Sony were proclaimed to have “won E3”.
If you’re seeing all that as a potential customer and now, in spite of Microsoft telling us that stories about the PS4’s technical superiority are false and that we should wait until we see the games go head to head, you are now seeing that a headline cross-platform game is generating more bad press for the Xbox One, what does that tell you about the PS4 and Xbox One?
It tells you that it looks unlikely that Microsoft will be able to shift the momentum built up by Sony back in their favour in the immediate future and that, consequently, the assertion that the PS4 will outsell the Xbox One will likely be proved correct.
The 1080p vs. 720p fuss is about far more than what next-gen Call of Duty: Ghosts will look like. What’s important is that this is yet more bad press for a console with the odds stacked firmly against it.
If you’re a developer being approached by Microsoft and Sony to create an exclusive game for their console, which one are you going to choose? Is it going to be the one that with the smaller install base? I doubt it.
What if you’re an indie developer? You might not care about the graphical prowess of the PS4 and Xbox One, but you sure as hell care about how many people are likely to buy your game.
If sales pan out as expected, developers will want their games on the PS4 and that gives any potential Xbox One owner plenty of cause for concern.
Xbox One vs. PS4: Deciding On a Next-gen Console
We are not arguing that the PS4 is inherently a better a console than the Xbox One or that the Xbox One is going to have less games than the PS4.
What we are saying is that all any of us can do until these consoles are released is make judgments based on the information available and, when you look at the reaction to both the PS4 and Xbox One, Sony are unquestionably in pole position.
With that in mind, people are right to be concerned to hear that the Xbox One runs Call of Duty: Ghosts at a lower resolution than the PS4 because they are perfectly capable of reading that news in the context of everything else we’ve heard about the PS4 and Xbox One.
People are trying to make an informed decision about how to spend a significant amount of money. If you want to believe that all they are doing is wailing about numbers for the sake of getting angry, you’re perfectly entitled to do so.
We would argue, however, that this isn’t really about Call of Duty: Ghosts and its resolution.
It’s about the long term prospects of a console which has done little but disappoint fans since its announcement.