It’s not been an uncommon story to hear of games appearing on Xbox One at less than 1080p. With the resolution that a game can run at a tiringly prevalent topic of discussion, and some people quite keen to stick the boot in when it doesn’t compare favourably to the PlayStation 4, it’s good to see the recent instances where performance and visual quality has been improved.
Some of this will no doubt be down to the June SDK, which freed up resources for developers to use that had previously provided a buffer zone for potential future Kinect camera functionality, and so we’ve seen some patches to games like Titanfall, where improvements to frame rate have been noted on the patch list. In the case of Diablo 3 on Xbox One, there has been a day one patch that has upped the resolution from 900p to 1080p.
Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry dove into both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game a week ago, finding that both held a solid 60 frames per second at 900p and 1080p respectively, but that this was tempered by animation hiccups and a frame doubling bug, which is being addressed in a patch. However, with the Xbox One patched to now run at 1080p, this version will now occasionally drop into 50-60 frames per second range.
Speaking to Digital Foundry, Blizzard’s Production Director John Hight revealed that the decision to go with 900p initially because they were struggling to have consistent enough performance at 1080p on the Xbox One. Then Microsoft stepped in:
We did find it challenging early on to get it to 1080p. That’s why we made the decision to drop to 900. That’s what we demoed and were showing around E3 time. And Microsoft was just like, ‘This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.’ So we worked with them directly, they gave us a code update to let us get to full 1080p.
The wording here is particularly interesting, but potentially very easy to misconstrew. It sounds to me that Microsoft stepped in with direct support to make the best use of the June SDK and optimise the game so that it could run at nearly 1.5 times the original resolution, but the wording could also be read to mean that Microsoft pushed Blizzard to do so to the detriment of performance, even if these frame drops only really happen during the game’s extremes.
Either way, while some people would rather have the absolute consistency of 60 frames per second at 900p, it’s good to see Microsoft able to step in and assist in getting better performance out of their console.
Source: Digital Foundry