Earlier this month, Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed that, contrary to popular belief, his company’s focus is on delivering games with a consistent (and high) frame rate over 1080p resolution. Obviously, he wasn’t saying that Microsoft won’t work towards 1080p, but when it comes to gameplay frame rate is king.
Since that time, Spencer has come out to say that he does value high resolution gaming, and doesn’t want Xbox fans to think they are getting an inferior product. Take the recent release of Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition for example – that’s a case where Microsoft actually pushed the developers to deliver 1080p without sacrificing a consistent frame rate.
This somewhat surprising news comes by way of Eurogamer, whose frame rate-focused Digital Foundry outfit initially revealed an inconsistency between the Xbox One and PS4 editions of Diablo 3. They found that while the PS4 edition ran at 1080p and a consistent frame rate the Xbox One edition only ran at 900p.
However, thanks to a recent day 1 patch for Diablo 3, the Xbox One edition saw a bump in resolution without any significant sacrifices to frame rate. Some further digging on DF’s part then discovered that it was Microsoft who urged the folks at Blizzard to match the PS4’s resolution, even going so far as to give the developers a new XDK update to help them along.
“We did find it challenging early on to get it to 1080p. That’s why we made the decision to drop to 900. That’s what we demoed and were showing around E3 time. And Microsoft was just like, ‘This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.’ So we worked with them directly, they gave us a code update to let us get to full 1080p.”
That XDK update is the same one that Microsoft engineers gave to Bungie to help them get Destiny‘s frame rate up to 1080p on the Xbox One. According to reports, the update takes the power once sanctioned for Kinect (about 10% of the console’s total power) and gives it back to the main console.
So while Phil Spencer might believe that frame rate is more important than resolution, it’s pretty clear that Microsoft is not willing to let their third party titles fall behind the competition’s. Going so far as to help developers like Blizzard and Bungie meet resolution requirements proves that they won’t just make demands either.
Earlier in the year, it seemed like the console war had all but been called in Sony‘s favor but the recent unbundling of Kinect and increased parity with third party releases has given new life to Microsoft. Yes, they are still trailing the PS4 in terms of total sales, but there is a jam-packed fall season ahead that could start to tip the scales. Emphasis on could.
Are you happy to hear that Microsoft is willing to help developers deliver high-resolution experiences? Have you noticed any performance problems with the Xbox One version of Diablo 3?
Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition is out now for PS4 and Xbox One.