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Rebellion Games' Jean-Baptiste Bolcato, a developer for the upcoming release of Sniper Elite 3 for the Xbox One and PS4, had a very candid conversation with Gaming Bolt, and he basically explained why 1080p has been such a hard pot of gold to attain at the end of a fickle rainbow for so many other studios.
Gaming Bolt's first-half of the article doles out more dolor than a funeral parlor sitting next to a hospice. Bolcato explains the differences and limitations between the Xbox One and PS4, firmly confirming NeoGaf user CBOAT's claims that the Xbox One wasn't going to be able to hit 1080p in games due to the eSRAM, saying...
“It was clearly a bit more complicated to extract the maximum power from the Xbox One when you’re trying to do that. I think eSRAM is easy to use. The only problem is…Part of the problem is that it’s just a little bit too small to output 1080p within that size. It’s such a small size within there that we can’t do everything in 1080p with that little buffer of super-fast RAM.”
Sadly, this is not an exception or rarity. This is the norm.
Call of Duty: Ghosts was relegated to 720p, Assassin's Creed IV was 900p, Battlefield 4 was 720p, Ryse was relegated to 900p and even Capcom's Xbox One exclusive, Dead Rising 3, was 720p. The only game hitting 1080p at 60fps was a heavily downgraded Forza Motorsport 5, with the team exchanging a lot of graphics fidelity in order to maintain the Holy Grail of eighth-gen gaming.
Bolcato goes on to explain that Microsoft has released a new development kit for the Xbox One, with companion patches inbound for users, all in hopes of improving performance over the console's lifespan...
“They are releasing a new SDK that’s much faster and we will be comfortably running at 1080p on Xbox One. We were worried six months ago and we are not anymore, it’s got better and they are quite comparable machines. The Xbox One is a bit more multimedia, a bit more hub-centric so its a bit more complex. There’s stuff you can and can’t do because it’s a sort of multimedia hub. PS4 doesn’t have that. PS4 is just a games machine.”
That's a strange thing to say given that in tests done by Digital Foundry, they found that the PS4 was better for multimedia over the Xbox One. Damage control much?
Bolcato finished things off on a positive note, though, saying...
“Yeah, I mean that’s probably why, well at least on paper, [PS4 is] a bit more powerful. But I think the Xbox One is gonna catch up. But definitely there’s this eSRAM. PS4 has 8GB and it’s almost as fast as eSRAM [bandwidth wise] but at the same time you can go a little bit further with it, because you don’t have this slower memory. That’s also why you don’t have that many games running in 1080p, because you have to make it smaller, for what you can fit into the eSRAM with the Xbox One.”
Don't take Bolcato's hopes at face value. While Microsoft may be iterating the Xbox One, Sony will be doing the same with the PS4. That's not to mention that the PS4 consistently outperforms its competitor in the graphics benchmarks, as well as the CPU benchmarks.
Ashan “Thuway” Rasheed had later corroborated CBOAT's claims, stating that the Xbox One would be behind the PS4 throughout the entire generation due to the eSRAM issues and the performance gaps between the two consoles.
I mean, you can't optimize weaker hardware to outperform stronger hardware. One user named Sarcasm aptly stated in the comment section...
“It's like saying Nvidia could make a firmware that will make a GTX 750 as fast as a GTX 760 Ti. It's NOT going to happen!”
Truer words have never been spoken.