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Uh oh, it looks like some people just can't wait for Digital Foundry's analysis of this game on the Xbox One and PS4. Some eager beavers have gone on ahead and posted up a video comparison of Watch Dogs between the PS4 and Xbox One like a pubescent teenage boy with an invisible cloak standing in front of the girl's locker room: there's nothing held back.
The video above comes courtesy of YouTube user Jason Knothe, where he exhibits the differences between the visual fidelity of the PS4 and Xbox One in a very rudimentary way. Don't expect any hard analysis or breakdowns... oh wait, is that what we're for? Oh, well, in that case I guess we can break down a few of the differences.
The above image is from the PS4 version of the game. As you can see, the PS4 has darker shadows the Xbox One – for anyone who bothered to watch the video above. The reason for this isn't “crushed blacks”, but a higher grade of ambient occlusion. This basically means that the PS4 is rendering higher resolution shadows to the screen per object than the Xbox One, which is why there are fewer per-object shadows in the Xbox One version of the same scene.
Check out the set below. This one here kind of blurs the line between identical twin and doppelganger status.
In this particular scene the images are pretty much identical, save for – once again – the resolution of the shadow maps in the Xbox One version. As you can see, they're of a slightly lower grade than the PS4 (those extra compute units being put to work).
You can also see that because of the way both systems handle lighting and shadow casting, the Xbox One may appear slightly crisper in the larger image compared to the PlayStation 4, which was something that seemed to be pointed out before in earlier comparisons.
This discrepancy is also why the PS4 version appears to look better during the day – something that consistently keeps cropping up during these comparisons. Since the PS4 seems to be able to handle better shadow mapping than the Xbox One in this case, the day-time scenes show a better contrast of light bouncing off the environment and casting more discernible shadows; this gives the game a slightly more "realistic" look on the PS4.
The above is also helped by something also mentioned in a previous comparison: the PS4 handles light and color saturation slightly better, which is – once again – why the day time segments probably also look slightly better on the PS4, but the night time segments look better or “cleaner” on the Xbox One, because technically its rendering slightly fewer shadows with moderate contrast, creating what some might consider to be a less muddied image. This might also contribute as to why several early adopters continually say that the game looks “clearer” or “crisper” on the Xbox One at night.
Of course, when Digital Foundry gets around to testing the frame-rates and resolution, we'll also be able to tell how much that contributes to the graphical differences between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.
Oh, if you're curious how the true next-gen version of the game looks, check out the comparison right here or see how Watch Dogs looks running on a 4K PC over on DSO Gaming.