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HD and Next-Gen. Why are our games still sub-HD?

This is going to be my first post on here, so bear with me and I'll try not to ramble too much.

I've seen many discussions in the past that are full of arguments about resolution this and fps that, but I decided to put this together after reading through a recent post about The Order: 1886. With the next-gen upon us, many people are wondering why we are still seeing resolution and fps numbers reminiscent of last-gen. Considering the rhetoric used and promises made by both Sony and Microsoft, I don't blame anyone for asking. Well, lets disregard whatever was said and break this down a bit.

The main problem with assuming next-gen would be strictly 1080p60 is that we are ignoring the other issues that affect performance. With all else equal, new hardware could easily run last-gen games at 1080p60. But what about wanting higher res textures? Higher polygon count character models? More realistic facial animations? The added horsepower from the new consoles is needed for all of this and more, as well as keeping the game running at a smooth framerate and at HD resolutions.

I recently saw someone make a sarcastic comment about The Order and it's aspect ratio, complaining about it being an "artistic choice." I would say that it actually is. The artistic choice comes from the balance each developer gives it's game. Graphical "prettiness," framerate, and resolution are all competing for a consoles horsepower. Sure, we could take the step up for all new games to run at 1080p60, but we won't see near as much of an increase in the "graphics" of the game. There are some that think this is how it should be, but developers realize that no one category is most important. They won't be able to make a graphically stunning game if all this newly available power is used solely to run their game at at a steady 1080p60.

For those that disagree with this style of game development, I am sorry but I don't think it will change anytime soon. When the generation comes that console gaming reaches 4k video, we will probably have many titles running at less than 4k. We will probably have many titles running at less than 120 or 60 fps (crossing my fingers for a 120fps console "standard!") I personally think this mentality is our fault to begin with. We as consumers are so critical of how our games look, that developers have to give up something from the other two categories to keep the visuals at a level we are happy with. Ultimately, rendering a game at a slightly lower resolution and then upscaling afterwards still gives great results. Many of the so-called 900p games still look great. I feel that developers have really found a sweet spot between resolution, and after-effects such as anti-aliasing to produce a beautiful image.

I hope this post has given all of you a little better sense of this issue. We shouldn't look at it as being an issue of underpowered consoles, but rather as a conscious decision made by the developers of each game as to where they think it best to allocate system resources to make the game they've imagined. I plan on making a post sometime soon going into some more detail on the process of upscaling, and how it isn't really as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Thanks for reading!

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isarai955d ago

GOD STFU! when you look at a game, the only thing any level headed gamer should be asking themselves is "does it look like fun?" not "how many pixels are there" or "how many FPS does it get". Seems rather stupid and kind of disrespectful to me, i mean that's like bitching and arguing that an amazing book is shit because the paper it's printed on is not of a certain quality, or that the letters aren't a certain size. I don't even have words with how fed up i am with this whole resolution/FPS shitstorm, why can't we just be glad we're finally getting highly playable stability in games now and a whole new level for games to reach in this new gen. Hell why aren't we rejoicing over the victory we had over online passes and DRM? how about the fact that these are the cheapest next gen consoles to launch ever or that they are some of the easiest to develop for and more open than ever?

We gained so much in this new gen yet all anyone can talk about are two little sets of numbers instead of the games and what they have to offer. The internet as a whole makes me embarrassed to be involved in the gaming community sometimes and i really wish there was at least one place free from fanboys, graphics whores, and trolls. Hell i can't even appreciate a games design anymore without someone barging into the conversations with their "But it isn't TEH TEN EIGHTY PEES!!" or "Doesn't even look as good as this other games bump mapping of random wall" makes me not even want to go anywhere near a gamin related site anymore...

Vegrad415955d ago

Please read my post again. You clearly misinterpreted my stance on this topic.

isarai955d ago

no i understand it fine, i just wish it would stop being brought up period

Bimkoblerutso952d ago (Edited 952d ago )

I just feel like people fail to see the advantages of technological advances that are not superficially attractive. The industry needs to get bandwidth and storage figured out before they start moving into bigger and bigger resolutions. We still watch TV in sub-1080p, for god's sake.

And if you think making space on your hard drive is difficult with mostly sub-1080p content...wait until we start getting 4k content.

That's not to say that I don't see or appreciate the difference made by higher resolutions and better framerates, but the entertainment industry just has their technological priorities all screwed up.

colonel179955d ago

I completely agree with you. Resolution and fps are something that not a lot of people can notice. I worked at a retail store and there were a lot of costumers that didn't even notice anything when showing a TV with 1080p resolution. They just said it looked pretty, and didn't even care.

Developers CHOOSE how they want to present their games. It's their work and they can do whatever it is with it in order to accomplish their vision. I know and am aware about benefits of having 60fps, but you have to be a fool if you believe that it is NEEDED in every single game. Full HD resolution is not needed either. It is good to have, but like stated above, a lot of people don't even notice.

Just like the example of the book. That's exactly what this is. People care much more about what paper the book is printed, what size the letter is, or how many pages the book is, that they forget the most important thing: to enjoy the story.

AceBlazer13954d ago

Ikr? Why the hell even have new hardware? Let's just go back and play on the snes.

Mister_Dawg953d ago

Although I totally agree with you, you could have got your point across in a much less aggressive manner.

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TWB955d ago

I dont have anything to add to the main message but IMO, this 8th gen's minimum standard for resolution should be keeping it above 720p and not worry about the FPS. FPS shouldnt really even be standardized.

I feel that consumers have become too aware of the technical parts of the game without knowing jacks shit about them.

Vegrad415955d ago

I completely agree with your second comment. 20 years ago it was a great (but cheesy) marketing tool for the console manufacturers to throw out stuff like 16 bit vs 8 bit with the Super Nintendo, or talk about the era of 3D with the Playstation and Nintendo 64. Although now with the step up to HD I think people expected to keep seeing that kind of gen-after-gen increase, only with resolution numbers now, even though that was never how that marketing was used.

Look at it this way. What do the NES, Master System, SNES, Genesis, N64, Saturn, and PS1 all have in common? Other than a small amount of titles on the later consoles, they all output the same standard definition video! That's 13 years and three generations worth. You could even argue that the PS2, Dreamcast, GC, and Xbox fall into that category as well. But that didn't stop each next console from looking better than the one before it. I just wonder why people today have such a hard time accepting that this is normal.

TWB954d ago

I believe PS2 doubled the resolution compared to PS1 though.

But you forgot to add one thing: the framerate.

Throughout generations all the way from NES to modern era there has been games that have been running at 60 FPS and some that ran 30 FPS. Hell, when we entered 3D era the framerate standards were lowered and most if not all the 3D PS1 games run at 25/30 FPS (PAL/NTSC). Only now with 8th generation people are demanding that if its not 1080p/60FPS, its not "next gen"

Framerate is a measurement, which is why it shouldnt be as pronounced/standardized as other features.

Sure its great if the MP component of a competitive game runs at 60FPS but people shouldnt get too stuck on the FPS controversy.

Chard955d ago

It is slightly annoying that in 2014, whenever a developer announces their game to be "1080p", we often still need to dig deeper in order to find out if they actually mean native or upscaled.

SilentNegotiator955d ago (Edited 955d ago )

LOL, yeah, well the trick is easy; if they say "Native 1080p", it's native 1080p. If they don't say "native" it isn't 99% of the time.

SilentNegotiator955d ago

Simple; the cost of hardware that can do it is not cheap enough to reach the optimal number of users.

People whined about games not being 1080p LAST gen, but that was an absolutely laughable expectation for the time, and only reasonable for some games on $400 hardware today.

kryteris955d ago

I do not see the harm in offering a budget, and a ultra version of the console. The PS4 could have easily included an extra cpu socket for upgrading later, or thrown in an extra chip for crossfire play. No big deal having 2 setting modes. And no big deal in upgrading 1 APU chip every 2-3 years, especially how quickly the gpu sector changes. imho.

Vegrad415954d ago

An interesting idea, but history shows it won't have much of an impact. The N64 and Saturn tried it with expandable ram, but I don't think I would consider those successful attempts.

I don't know much about the Saturn upgrade, but it only had a small amount of games that made use of the ram, something like 25-30 games. The N64 had a handful of great titles that needed the expanded ram, and it sold well because of it, but the total number of games that took advantage of it was too small. It's my opinion that developers just didn't want to take the chance developing for expanded hardware because they didn't want to artificially limit the install base of consoles capable of playing their games, and thus limiting game sales.

kryteris952d ago (Edited 952d ago )

I dont recall my Saturn having any upgrades, damn thing was a flop. In fact the 32x was a better upgrade, and more vivid colors. It flopped also but more to blame consumer confusion as the Saturn shortly released months later. Also, we now live in a newest and greatest digital culture, the 90's marketplace was very different, and the rate that technology changes can be literally within months. I dont see a reason to upgrade the ram on the saturn, it had plenty of ram and cpu power by comparison to the ps1. It was lacking a mpeg codec, and few gpu instructions that gave the ps1 a competitive edge.

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