Call of Duty: Ghosts is out now on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. (Read Tom’s review here.) Exclusive DLC periods aside, they’re essentially identical. Control the soldier-killing dog through stealth sections, have a shoot-out in space, level up your multiplayer character. On the next-gen consoles, it’s another matter. Ghosts is rendered and output from Sony’s PlayStation 4 at 1080p, but only rendered at 720p and upscaled to 1080p on Microsoft’s Xbox One. There’s been a lot of speculation about what this means for future games in the next generation, but most of it has been answered with pure hokum dictated by the console manufacturers, as in this IGN interview with Mark Rubin of Infinity Ward.
“There’s no maliciousness, there’s no specific reason why one’s 720p, one’s 1080p. That’s just the way the optimisation came out to. To keep a smooth frame rate we needed to be 720p on Xbox One. That being said, it is being upscaled to 1080p, so it is outputting 1080p on your TV, and for the most part the game does look really good. Some people actually think the textures look a little bit nicer maybe on Xbox than they do on PS4.”
We’re getting closer to the truth in this Metro interview, but Mark Rubin puts his game face on and remains steadfast. He does let slip that he can’t tell journalists which console is more powerful because of non-disclosure agreements, but he can say that he disagrees with the idea that they’re equal:
GC: So when John Carmack and Shinji Mikami say the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are almost identical, is that something you could agree with?
MR: Hmm… I would say that’s a bit inaccurate but I wouldn’t be able to tell you any detail of why that’s inaccurate.
GC: For diplomatic reasons?
Battlefield 4 has a similar issue. It’s rendered at 900p and upscaled to 1080p on the PS4, but rendered at 720p and output at 1080p on the Xbox One.