PlayStation 4

Metal Gear Solid V to run in 1080p on PS4, 720p for XBO

A video resolution demo page posted by Konami for their upcoming Metal Gear Solid V, shows the differing visuals for the game running on The Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and the XBO. The game looks great, and the majority of the differences in visuals are ones we would expect, aside from one big one: The chart at the bottom of the page shows that the game will only be able to run at 720p on the XBO in order to maintain proper framerate. MGSV will run at a full 1080p @ 60fps on the PS4. Konami's page is designed to give an idea of the general look of the game on each system, so they are careful not to show the same exact scene on each in order to avoid direct product comparisons. Which in it's own right is a smart move, as Konami wants the game to see well across the board, all platforms included. 

Xbox One Night Mission Scene

Xbox One Night Mission Scene

PS4 Night Mission Scene

PS4 Night Mission Scene

The launch of the XBO & PS4 systems saw many flame wars on message boards and blogs related to the differences between the visuals on both next gen systems as being minute, only marginal and at times referred to as almost indistinguishable. But as time has gone on since the launch, the differences in processing power and visuals has been clearly identified. And in the past 2 months, we have continued to see proof of the areas in which the PS4 simply out paces the XBO visually and in processing power. MGSV has now become the 2nd game that the developer themselves have identified before launch as not performing as well on the XBO. 

And as developers continue to improve and get better with development, the divide will potentially get wider. 

Microsoft's Titan..falls

Titanfall only at 792p?

Titanfall only at 792p?

With every Console comes a major 1st party title that is labeled a "System Seller". The game that because it is developed by the console manufacturer, it takes full advantage of the system's hardware and capabilities to showcase the pure power and features of the system. It enables the console manufacturer to show off all of the power and prowess of their hardware, and how versatile it is. The Super Nintendo had the amazing Super Mario World, the Gamecube had Luigi's Mansion, Nintendo 64 the world renowned Super Mario 64, Dreamcast had Virtua Fighter 3, the Xbox had Halo, Xbox 360 had Project Gotham Racing 3. 

When the Microsoft marketing machine started pumping up the Xbox One release, the showcase title was Titanfall. A promising title filled with action, adventure, chaos, mechs, explosions, online multiplayer gameplay in a game that, according to the Devloper's founder, Vince Zampella, brings  "scale, verticality, and story" to first-person shooter multiplayer gaming". All of this, while running at 60 frames-per-second in full 1080p glory, to showcase the power and prowess of the Xbox One hardware. This was the game so massive that an engineer for the developer stated in an interview with Eurogamer that the game would not be possible on the PS4, because it wasn't powerful enough.  And that is where the game hits a major snag. You see.. As time went on, and both systems launched, we learned that the PS4 is actually much more powerful than the XBO, and every cross-platform title has highlighted this.

Next came the news this week that the title would only be able to run at 720p. This set the community ablaze with speculation and questions. Now that the game is set to begin an open Beta, it has been confirmed that the title will only run at 60fps at 792p. Turns out, the XBO hardware isn't powerful enough to handle the game either. Even with the recent development that XBO could get a 53 Mhz increase from disabling the Kinect camera, the XBO still cannot run Titanfall at 1080p. Some have been quick to point out that the game is still unfinished, in BETA, and that there is time to run optimization to enable improved performance. Even pointing out the Assassin's Creed 4 situation on PS4, a game that was originally only able to run at 900p on the PS4 until an optimization patch, which enabled the game to run at 1080p on the PS4. It is important to realize however, that the increase there was only from 900 to 1080p, already running at 60fps. In Titanfall's case however, the game is only capable of squeezing out 792p at 60fps right now. Ramping up to 1080p from only 792p seems a far stretch, if not impossible. This presents quite a challenge for the developer. And for Microsoft, after blasting the game on ever marketing channel they could find over the last 4 months, even 2 (TWO) pre-movie commercials to promote the XBO before a movie we went to a couple months ago, this is a serious blow. After all the hype, promotion and talk, even with disabling hardware features to eek out additional power from the XBO, Microsoft cannot deliver on it's promises with Titanfall. While it's important to remember that, again, the game is not finished, things do not bode well. 

All of this is pretty damning for the XBO. We consistently seem to see the flagship system falling behind in sales and delivery on promises. Add to that recent speculation tha Titanfall is coming to the PS4 soon. And what keeps the XBO from meeting it's own expectations and promises for Titanfall? Grant Brunner over at ExtremeTech puts it perfectly:

"So, why can’t Titanfall reach 1080p? It all comes down to frame rate. Twitch games, like competitive first-person shooters, require smooth frame rates for precise aiming and maneuvering. If the game dips to 20fps during a frantic moment, that could easily turn the tide in a battle. For a game like this, the priorities are obviously on visual polish and frame rate, so resolution takes a back seat.

Maybe if this were an Xbox One exclusive, the development team could have built and optimized the engine for 1080p rendering at 60fps like Forza Motorsport 5. However, this game has to run on the Xbox 360 and PC as well, so other considerations had to be made. It’s certainly not impossible to make games run at 1080p on the Xbox One, but it seems as if it’s more trouble than it’s worth for a game like Titanfall."

Xbox One to gain GPU performance increase by making Kinect optional

Can Microsoft boost sales by cutting features?

Can Microsoft boost sales by cutting features?

Since their launches in November of last year, The Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 have been in a vicious battle for the #1 spot in gaming. So far, Sony's Playstation 4 has dominated the Xbox One by a fair margin in sales. The commanding lead the PS4 has is interesting, as in most ways, the hardware of both systems is quite similar. In fact,the specs for both systems are almost identical, except for the GPU, where the PS4 holds the clear advantage. Prior to launch, their was an insane amount of discussion about how much of a difference graphical superiority would actually have. But now that gamers have them in their hot little hands, both companies can answer that question clearly. Many of the cross-platform launch titles look better and are running at higher frame rates on the PS4. Following the end of year sales numbers, Microsoft has had enough and is working overtime to fix the Xbox One's weak point, at the expense of the Kinect. 

The APU, With a CPU, GPU and Ram all on one chip

The APU, With a CPU, GPU and Ram all on one chip

As ExtremeTech points out, "At the heart of both the PS4 and Xbox One is a semi-custom AMD APU (A CPU, GPU and embedded ram all on one chip, as seen in the image above). This 28nm part features an 8-core Jaguar CPU and a Radeon 7000-series GPU. The Xbox’s GPU is similar to the Bonaire core from the Radeon HD 7790, an entry-level PC graphics processor. The PS4, meanwhile, is rocking the mid-range Pitcairn core like you’d find in a Radeon HD 7870. Even though the Xbox One GPU is clocked a little higher, it can’t keep up with the PS4 in terms of raw power."

But the real challenge beyond the sheer lack of power, is that Xbox One developers are handicapped by Microsoft in the development process. Microsoft requires that all games reserve 10% of the GPU’s capacity for the Kinect, even if the game doesn’t use it. That’s split up into 8% for the Kinect video features and 2% for Kinect voice. In an effort to give a boost to its console, Microsoft is expected to issue a system patch that removes the requirement that games save that 8% for Kinect video.

Interestingly enough, Microsoft is only willing to give developers access to that 8% margin increase. They still demand a 2% reservation for the Kinect Voice commands, as the ability to control the system with voice commands was one of their biggest marketing pushes, and the system's hottest selling point this holiday. By stripping console features, Microsoft hopes to give the system enough extra oomph to help bridge the performance gap between it and the PS4. 



Sony says Thank You to PSN Customers in 2014..

While PlayStation Plus has been working overtime for a year to really bring value to the $49.99 annual cost for it's premium service. A selection of FREE games each month has been one of those perks for a while. But in Quarter 1 2014, Sony outdoes themselves, with some stellar offerings for the month of January.

Starting the Lineup of Freebies, PS3 owners can look forward to the STELLAR Bioshock Infinite, a critically acclaimed and award winning title in the Bioshock series. One of the few games to tackle complex and uncomfortable themes like racism, religion and idealism, and show the ugly side of all. Definitely an immersive and thought provoking experience, it is never afraid to push buttons and never pulls a single punch. This is not just a good or GREAT game, it is an essential game that everyone should experience, gamer or not. PS3 owners will also get Devil May Cry: DMC, with new skills and visuals, and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, a truly innovative title that has people playing the part of two brothers at the same time, using an analog stick for each. 

PS4 owners can look forward to the Visual Treat that is Don't Starve. The beautifully cell shaded art style, it is a truly innovative game that mixes adventure, action, and RPG elements. 

And if you have a PlayStation Vita, the socially networked brain trainer Smart As.. will challenge your mental capacity and problem solving skills while comparing your accomplishments and failures to your friends'. And Worms hits the Vita too, for more annihilation and mayhem. 

January is shaping up to be a fantastic start for PlayStation Plus members. 

Is Battlefield 4 Fixed?


Today, DICE released yet ANOTHER patch for Battlefield 4 for the PlayStation 4, in an ongoing and MONTH-LONG period of problems with the AAA Blockbuster Title. According to the Battlelog on on the game, DICE states the update "should remove a large amount of the client crashes we are currently seeing on the PS4". One of the largest sore spots for users has been that, since launch day on November 15th, players have been unable to save single player campaigns, preventing users from from being able to save their progress in the Campaign mode. DICE noted the patch also, "Further reduced the probability of getting a corrupt save file by doing miscellaneous changes to the save file system. These include removing the save file saving again when quitting multiplayer."

Also addressed is the blur effect on soldiers that appeared when Commanders were using EMP attacks.

And the rest:

  • Fixed multiple crashes that could occur when bringing up the in-game Battlelog during round transition.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when using the BattleScreen.
  • Fixed a random crash related to destroying vehicles.
  • Fixed minor destruction issues in the terrain.

DICE recently halted development on all other projects to address Battlefield 4's troublesome launch. Earlier today reports came in that Microsoft had offered refunds on Xbox One Battlefield 4 Premium to some players.

The fightback continues. "We are already working on the next update based on your feedback," DICE said today.