The Xbox One - Mini Review & Comparison to Xbox 360/PS4by Anand Lal Shimpi on November 20, 2013 8:00 AM EST
Image Quality - Xbox 360 vs. Xbox One
Before I get to the PS4 comparison, I wanted to start with some videos showcasing the improvement you can expect from launch day titles that are available on both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I turned to Call of Duty: Ghosts for this comparison as it’s broadly available on all platforms I’m comparing today.
Note that cross platform launch titles, particularly those available on previous generation consoles, end up being the worst examples of what’s possible on a next-generation platform. For the most part they’re optimized for the platform with the larger installed base (i.e. prior-gen hardware), and the visual uplift on new hardware isn’t as much as it could be. I’d say my subjective experience in playing a lot of the launch titles on Xbox One and PS4 mirrors this sentiment. Basic things like not having accurate/realistic cloth physics in games like CoD: Ghosts just screams port and not something that was designed specifically for these next gen systems. Just as we’ve seen in prior generations, it’s likely going to be a good 12 - 24 months before we see great examples of games on this new generation of hardware.
Now that I’ve adequately explained why this is a bad comparison, let’s get to the comparison. I’ve captured HDMI output on both consoles. They were both set to full range (0-255), however I had issues with the Xbox One respecting this setting for some reason. That combined with differences across Ghosts on both platforms left me with black levels that don’t seem equalized between the platforms. If you can ignore that, we can get to the comparison at hand.
All of these videos are encoded at 4K, with two 1080p captures placed side by side. Be sure to select the highest quality playback option YouTube offers.
The first scene is the intro to Ghosts. Here you can see clear differences in lighting, details in the characters, as well as some basic resolution/AA differences as well (Xbox 360 image sample, Xbox One image sample).
The second scene is best described as Call of Duty meets Gravity. Here the scene is going by pretty quickly so you’re going to have to pause the video to get a good feel for any differences in the platforms. What’s most apparent here though is the fact that many present day users can likely get by sticking with older hardware due to the lack of titles that are truly optimized for the Xbox One/PS4.
Now getting to scenes more representative of actual gameplay, we have Riley riding around wanting badly to drive the military vehicle. Here the differences are huge. The Xbox One features more realistic lighting, you can see texture in Riley’s fur, shadows are more detailed and there seems to be a resolution/AA advantage as well. What’s funny is that although the Xbox One appears to have a resolution advantage, the 360 appears to have less aliasing as everything is just so blurry.
Speaking of aliasing, we have our final IQ test which is really the perfect test case for high resolution/AA. Once again we see a completely different scene comparing the Xbox One to Xbox 360. Completely different lighting, much more detail in the environments as well as objects on the ground. The 360 version of Ghosts is just significantly more blurry than what you get on the One, which unfortunately makes aliasing stand out even more on the One.
Even though it’ll be a little while before we get truly optimzed next-gen titles, there’s an appreciable improvement on those games we have today for anyone upgrading from an older console. The difference may be more subtle than in previous generations, but it’s there.