Digital Foundry was able to play Battlefield 4 and capture video from development kits at DICE's studio on what was described as near-final code. What they found was that neither version of the game was able to reach the coveted 1080p mark with the PS4 locked at 900p and the Xbox One even less at 720p. Both, however, are scaled up to 1080p by the consoles.
Surprisingly, resolution is not the whole story with the two consoles according to the report.
"[T]he actual results on PS4 lack the corresponding level of crystal clarity we'd expect of such a significant resolution boost," Thomas Morgan of Digital Foundry writes. "This should surely be a home run for Sony's console, but what is likely to be a software-based upscale to 1080p delivers less-than-stellar returns, and for better or worse leaves the Xbox One with an often crisper looking, albeit much more aliased image."
"What is curious is the level of 'pop' given to the Xbox One's textures, where - bizarrely - artwork often seems to be more detailed than on PlayStation 4."
Morgan attributes this higher detail on the Xbox One to a post processing technique that also creates a "halo" effect during some scenes with high contrast. Microsoft's custom hardware scalar result in some noticeable sub-pixel breakup though.
Other notable differences between the two from Digital Foundry's test includes Ambient Occlusion lighting being included in the PS4 build but not the Xbox One. However, DICE Johan Andersson says that the lighting feature will be included in the final build of the game on Microsoft's console. The Xbox One build also appeared darker overall but it's unclear if that is because of the absence of the lighting feature. However, the lower resolution makes jagged lines stand out more.
The Xbox One did not consistently hold 60fps during gameplay but neither did the PS4 in single-player and multiplayer tests. Sony's console did recover faster from the sub-60fps dips, however, according to Morgan.
The clear winner in all of this is not the PS4 though. Instead, it is the PC which managed even higher fidelity gameplay at much higher resolutions than either of the two next-gen consoles.
"Our observations so far reveal a clear gap in fidelity between PC and PS4, and again to Xbox One, but sub-pixel break-up aside, based on what we've seen so far, the Microsoft console manages to hold up despite the undeniable, quantifiably worse metrics in terms of both resolution and frame-rate," Morgan concluded.
You can follow Scott via Facebook, Twitter, RSS feedor email alerts for all the latest game news and deals as well as the weekly Furious Fourcast podcast/videocast. All game news on Examiner can be followed at the Game On Facebook page and Twitter feed.