Call of Duty: Ghosts plays at 720p on Xbox One and That’s OK

This past weekend Activision, the makers of Call of Duty announced that the next big title in the franchise, Call of Duty: Ghosts won’t run at the highest resolution possible on high-end televisions. Instead the title will run at 720p then upscale to 1080p. Since then, industry watchers have been claimed that this means that the Xbox One is somehow inferior to the PlayStation 4, and that this could be the defining thing that puts Microsoft on the defense in the gaming console wars.

I’ve never heard more ridiculous things in my life.

For starters, both systems have comparative hardware and one or even two games running at a lower resolution than on other consoles isn’t indicative of the performance users will see for the life of the console. Like computers, smartphones and anything else users can buy at their local electronics retailer, the experience will get better with time. Developers will learn how to take advantage of the hardware that’s there.

Does the PlayStation 4 have a graphics processor that seems to slightly outperform the one in the Xbox One? If you’re a third-party developer apparently the answer is yes. However, that isn’t the case universally, Microsoft’s Forza 5 does have a resolution of 1080p and Ryse: Son of Rome runs at 900p before being upscaled to 1080p. That’s according to tweets collected by Unscripted360 from Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg. So, it’s not as if the Xbox One can’t run any games at that frame rate. It’s just that for some reason Activision decided upscaling the game from 720p was better for their particular game.

Call of Duty Ghosts Multiplayer video

A screenshot of the multiplayer experience in Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Look, I don’t mean to minimize this issue, or turn this issue into an artificial exercise of figuring out which console is better. In fact, my problem is with the people who are doing that.

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The Xbox One upscaling Call of Duty: Ghosts to 1080p isn’t a resolution change akin to going from an Xbox 360 to playing games on a Wii. In fact, I suspect many users will be hard pressed to noticed a difference unless they are running the both copies of the game side by side.

Customers have voted with their wallets over and over that sometimes settling for something that performs well and is usable is good enough for them to adopt in droves. MP3s purchased from iTunes were blasted by audiophiles for having terrible sound quality. Yet, the iTunes Store grew to become the world’s largest music store. The Xbox 360 featured slightly less robust internals than the PlayStation 3, yet the Microsoft just wrapped up a 32-month sales winning streak against the PlayStation 3 and Wii U.

This console war won’t be decided by who has the best looking high-definition frame rate on one game. It’ll be decided by the entire entertainment experience. Based on Xbox LIVE usage numbers shared by the LA Times, customers spent around 84 hours logged into Xbox LIVE. Over half of that usage was people watching video and listening to music. That statistic was up 30% from the year earlier. Video game consoles aren’t just video game consoles. They are entertainment consoles.

To recap, the Call of Duty: Ghosts running at 720p will be good enough for consumers and games aren’t the only thing that define a console’s life cycle even if that resolution wasn’t good enough. Come and talk to me if the Xbox One can’t play 1080p videos from Netflix.

  

Comments

  1. John Jairo says

    This doesn’t make Xbox One “somewat weaker”… Only shows HOW WEAK it is. If any developer decides to makes games on Xbox One at an INFERIOR graphics resolution than the other console, ot must be for SOMETHING…

    Be real, Accept it. It’s not good and Microsoft knew it because it tried to “ban” any comparison between versions until the very Xbox One launch.

    Don’t be so naive. Please!

    • 1080p says

      Always people missing the point. No matter what console. It’s about what we deserve for our money. And its 2013 not 1993. A major game title should not even be considering not running 1080p. These days they should be able to go higher. For me, it can’t run 1080p so why would I upgrade from the 360. 😣

    • Jeremy says

      All good things to say about me. Head on my shoulders. been crap in marketing and presentation. Screw the other stuff like tv blah blah. Games come first for customers. It’s really annoying that they keep pushing the other entertainment capabilities over games. I almost think I should of pre ordered ps4. Then they go award England and other countries a decent free game? And they get xb1 on time so what about the loyal xbox customers that pre ordered back when they were first available? Lol anyways just trying to make a reasonable point

      • Jeremy says

        Microsoft has been crap in marketing and presentation. Screw the other stuff like tv blah blah. I don’t need another way to watch tv. Games come first for customers. It’s really annoying that they keep pushing the other entertainment capabilities over games. I almost think I should of pre ordered ps4. Then they go award England and other countries a decent free game? And they get xb1 on time so what about the loyal xbox customers that pre ordered back when they were first available? Lol anyways just trying to a reasonable point

    • DouubleDog says

      Agreed.

      We are being asked to fork out an extra £80 for an inferior machine.

      Its disgusting M$!

  2. Ian says

    There was a significant jump from the PS2 and Xbox to the PS3 and Xbox 360. However there isn’t enough of a jump to warrent paying £430 for a console that is inferior, come’s with a peripheral that you probably won’t use and is visually less appealing than a console £80 cheaper. Microsoft have really dropped the ball with this one.

  3. Unwittingnemesis says

    Travis, XBOX One’s GPU is nearly 50% weaker…it isn’t “equivalent hardware.” Obviously, since you appear to have common sense, you’re aware of this, if you understand that resolution is determined by available GPU power. As resolution had to be cut in half, logically, the console has half the GPU power (which is proven by dozens of articles all over the web, incidentally [which, of course, you already know]). Yet, the console costs more. This is why Microsoft made a last-ditch, fruitless effort to bump the GPU clock (I think they managed 6%…unfortunately, they need to bump it another forty). At least you can blame MSFT’s arrogance when this console sits at 20% market share next year. Right?

    Second, the difference between 720p and 1080p is a factor is 2.25x. “Upscaling” is a buzzword that people with weak hardware use (or simply ignorant folks, like most console gamers). It means and does nothing,save for upsizing (“uprezzing”) the incoming content to the native resolution of the television. Travis, all 1080p television sets upscale all incoming content to 1080p. Neat, eh? 720p still looks like 720p, given that the source doesn’t have additional lines of resolution to offer beyond that number, while 1080p looks like 1080p (again, it’s 2.25x as detailed), and, if your seating distance is correct (assuming folks are within 10′ of their 50″ sets, or the equivalent, which nearly all are as of 2013), the difference between the two resolutions is immediately obvious, and is by no means minor. Take it from me…I’ve been gaming at 1080p on PC for nearly six years, after trading in my 720p XBOX 360 in 2007 being tired of 720p and its obvious limitations. Mark my words: no one is going to be satisfied using a console that can barely handle 720p when the competition runs everything at 1080/60p…for less money! Microsoft jumped the gun, made too many assumptions, and they’re going to pay for it. You’ll see. I wish you luck, though.

    • Unwittingnemesis says

      To be quite specific, PS4 has 46% more GPU power than XBOX One (50% higher shader count divided by clock differential), so XBOX One therefore has 32% less power than PS4. 46% more power, however, means you can run a game at 1080p resolution (vs. 720p), albeit with potentially more frequent frame rate drops (presumably, One’s version doesn’t drop below 60 often). Simply to head off the most predictable retort, sure, One will run some third-party games at 1080p…by cutting polygon counts and reducing texture detail (and possibly lighting, etc.) to maintain the same frame rate and resolution as its less expensive competition. Either way, the difference in visual fidelity will be immediately noticeable…and I’d consider that a problem. Most console gamers are really PC gamers…they simply want the most horsepower, without gimmicks (eh hemm), for their money.

      • Unwittingnemesis says

        …and then, there’s the little ESRAM debacle. That’s really secondary, though, to GPU power…if you can’t process sufficient pixels in sufficient time, what difference does memory make? It may be the case that this ESRAM issue is “worked around,” but frankly, if you don’t have the processing power to fill that memory once freed (assuming all third-party games are designed to max out PS4′s GPU at 1080/60p…and I’m pretty sure that that will be the case, from this point forward), then RAM, of any variety, is all but irrelevant.

  4. Jeremy says

    I really don’t understand Microsoft. I don’t think they care cuz they are completely absent from the issues and correcting them. Potential not utilized.

  5. kans says

    this “reporter” is retarded. Nobody takes you seriously seeing that you run Windows 8 on your comp.

  6. Tony83 says

    US Console vs Japanese console,that’s like ford vs Honda.although Honda performs better ford still more attractive.Xbox Live kicks PlayStation Plus in the ass.it would also play CDs mp3′s bluray and regular DVDs

    • David says

      Lmao! It plays blurays n regular DVDs after the small 300MB update.I wonder how big is the mandatory update on Xbox One.Without that mandatory update it’s as useful as a brick.People buy a gaming console for GAMES! Don’t be mad ’cause your overpriced VCR can’t play COD at native 1080p.

      • jay gee says

        Lmao youd better read the update notes on sony launch as your brick will also have a pretty big update……thing is were getting a true next gen console and your getting well…..an updated playstation 3.

  7. Matthew Bryant says

    They don’t have comparative hardware. The PS4 has 250% faster RAM for most graphical applications and a 50% more powerful GPU. Their hardware is not equal. Not even remotely close to equal. There’s a pretty substantial difference in hardware. People like to throw around the “Well, they’re both by AMD herp derp” to pretend that makes them equal. No, it doesn’t. There’s not even a hint of logic in that argument. PS4 is considerably more powerful. It’s around 30-50% more powerful. That’s a very real, noticeable difference. Not to mention the PS4 is considerably more mature in it’s IDE than the Xbox One according to many insiders and developers. Anyone who says the Xbox One is comparable is living in a fantasy world. Kinect may be worthwhile in the long run (I doubt it, but anything is possible), we’ll have to wait and see on that. In terms of graphic power though? PS4 will win every time. Every time.

  8. RazorRay says

    I would agree about the iTunes statement, most techies slated it as highly restrictive propriety technology, but good marketing sold it to the masses.

    However difference this time is that it’s not the masses that want to buy a games console, most people I know with iPhones or iPods would never want a games console.

    They would also not buy it as a tv hub, $500 for something your cable/sky box can do most of, if not more.

    I just don’t think MS know what they want the XBOne to be, so compromised all round to be a bit of everything.

    If I want a media centre I will buy one, if I want a games console I will buy the one which is the most powerful I can get.

    I actually wanted the XBOne to be worth getting, I had the original XBOne and Halo is one of my all time favourites.

    However after sitting through the MS launch presentation I lost all desire to want one, and everything MS have done since has distanced me further.

    So I for one i will be picking my next gen on what it’s supposed to be, a games console and the most powerful to boot.

  9. Tony83 says

    I’m not mad, I known neither consoles are running at the full potential,and when they do I know ps4 will still be slightly better you gotta keep in mind both consoles were made to support 4k resolution so it’s obvious that Xbox one will support native 1080p once developers get the ball rollin.By the way,that large looking VCR box a lot of you guys call it was very well thought out for overheating issues unlike the compact ps4 already overheating and freezing

  10. jay gee says

    Gamers all have their own preferences…..I’ll never be a Sony fanboy just like a lot of people wont be Microsoft fanboys…..in these first game releases ps4 gamers might be able to see 30 pimples on a cod soldiers face and ill only see 25…..big f#&%ing deal both games will play the exact same way but microsoft has taken a next gen step with xbox one being a full one media device and all you sony fans boys are stuck with an upgraded playstation 3………nothing more…..end of story.

  11. Ryan h says

    “Come and talk to me if the Xbox One cant play 1080p video from Netflix” Ok, so let me get this straight….this would be a problem for him but games not in 1080p wouldn’t be????? Sounds a little hypocritical to me.

  12. George says

    This article seems to be saying ‘hey Xbone isn’t as powerful as PS4, and $80 more…BUT THAT’S OK, GO AND BUY ONE’

    Must truly be a special kind of moron

  13. Frax says

    While everybody argues about how the games can only be great with 1080p, im going to download an emulator and play, Zelda ALTTP, Super Mario World, Castlevania SOTN and Super Metroid. Cya later.

  14. Heidern says

    Your article made me chuckle. I won’t waste time criticizing technical inaccuracies, I just want to ask “Where were you when I bought my tv?” If you were there to tell me that “720p will be good enough for consumers” then I would have asked the salesman if my 65″ TV came in a 720p version.

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