1080p is a must for next-gen: No it isn't
Recently there was news concerning the Xbox One and the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts game that for many, was disheartening to say the least. From threats of cancelling system pre-orders to extreme bouts of nerd-rage, and enough virtual facepalms to make one's head completely cave in, the internet exploded to the extent that you'd think Activision officially announced that smallpox infected blankets would be shipping with the Xbox One versions. Unfortunately, nothing that drastic has happened to warrant such extreme behavior, and instead it's just news that the Xbox One version of the upcoming Call of Duty Ghosts will be 720p, compared to 1080p native on the PS4.
In light of this "tragic" news, I'd like to address the recent notion that 1080p is a "must" for next-gen gaming....it isn't...1080p is not some "holy grail," mandatory accomplishment that games must meet in order to be considered "next-gen." It is little more than an arbitrary technicality cooked up by the community, largely due to moving goalpost mentalities and wishful thinking. Graphics or resolution alone is not some guideline to base whether or not a game achieves "next-gen" status, and if you think otherwise, then quite frankly, you're wrong. I don't doubt that games will release in 1080p, as some games already are, but to apply this short-sighted way of thinking to every single game? If that's the case, then frankly, you are in for some disappointment.
The notion that in 2013, 1080p, or more importantly, 1080p/60fps, should be a standard in gaming, is again, largely wishful thinking. This level of gaming can be standard, if you have the power, and frankly the new systems do not, as is evident by games being announced at less than 1080p and/or 60fps on both systems. If we were discussing high-end PC's, then these arguments would carry much more weight, but we are speaking of modestly priced, retail entertainment devices. The fact is this - the new systems, regardless how "next-gen" many expect them to be, are still using dated tech before they even release, that can't even achieve 1080p on certain older titles, with or without max settings enabled. Even in instances where games do achieve this goal, sacrifices are likely going to have be made elsewhere to do so.
If you choose a lesser medium in terms of graphics/processing power, then you should except lesser results, it's really that simple. You can point the finger and cry "PC elitism," but really it's just being rational. You can't buy a Hybrid based on preference, and then demand it performs like a Ferrari, and then cry foul when it doesn't. Anyone suggesting that any game that gets released on a $400-500 device, cannot be considered "next-gen" if it is anything less than 1080p, or even more demanding, 1080/60fps, is naive and out of touch with reality, especially considering all the other (arguably) more important factors that can contribute to a game being "next-gen," which is a little more than a buzzword itself, with no definitive meaning.
If none of the games released on the new consoles achieved 1080p, they could still easily qualify as next-gen, due to other aspects, such as better performance, new, innovative ideas or added features. Battlefield 4 is a good example of this. Is it running at 1080p? No, not on either system, but both versions are running at 60fps, and have 64 player servers, as well as advanced features such as Battlescreen That is an example of "next-gen" in gaming, despite lacking 1080p resolution. In relation to COD Ghosts, both versions will have the same campaign, the same multiplayer, the same features and both will be running at 60fps. Players will equally be having fun on both versions, despite the apparent doomsday revelation that the Xbox One version will only be running at 720p...
It seems that the console community has become increasingly close-minded and superficial in their views, to the point that they seem to have forgotten why they play games in the first place - for fun. Why is it that when discussing graphics in a PC vs console format, graphics don't matter as much and it's all about the games, but once it becomes a matter of console vs console, graphics take center stage as proponents from each side engage in a blood lust fueled fervor? 720p, 1080p, who really cares? Games are going to be equally enjoyed by players on both consoles, so why turn it into a chest pounding ego-fest? Why does it always have to result in a "console war"? There are many people who will be purchasing both consoles for their love of games, so it seems trivial to pick sides and fight tooth and nail for your preferred platform. If it's the prettiest games running at smooth framerates that is needed to justify your purchase, then again, you are on the wrong platform, since we have been achieving this for years on PC. If it's other aspects that lead you to choose console gaming, such as functionality, exclusives, controllers, etc. than focus on those aspects and leave it at that.