Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One had some bad publicity when it was first announced, and now a new theory on Reddit suggests the next-gen console could face some new PR challenges. According to the Reddit thread, game journalists are dropping plenty of hints that suggest the Xbox One may have a potential graphics resolution problem.
When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One, there were plenty of features, such as the always-on feature, that made fans unhappy, but the company quickly flip-flopped on them.
Now, Reddit user C-Ron has a thread that's seeing plenty of activity after he claimed Microsoft is trying to delay some potentially damaging news that the Xbox One may not stack up to expectations. According to C-Ron, “From what I've read on Twitter, NeoGAF and other sources, basically, the console's ESRAM is this generation's Cell CPU. It makes games harder to develop for, which is resulting in a lot of multiplatform games being in lower resolutions, slower frame rates, and lower textures.”
Before getting into C-Ron’s claims, the main rumor that ignited this talk was the suggestion that the highly anticipated “Call of Duty: Ghosts” video game will run at 1080p resolution for Sony's (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 4, or PS4, but Xbox One’s “COD: Ghosts” will run at 720p. That rumor started on the NeoGAF forum, and Kotaku picked it up but was waiting for official word from Activision prior to running a complete article.
The Xbox One resolution problem traveled around the Internet and gained some traction. Jeremy Conrad, a former IGN editor, discusses the situation on his Furious Fanboys site and says that the biggest problem is the inability to discuss the resolution. According to Conrad, Sony has repeatedly said “COD: Ghosts” runs at 1080p on the PS4 while Microsoft has remained quiet on the issue. Another problem is the supposed embargo of the game for the Xbox One. Whereas other reviews of “COD: Ghosts” can run on Nov. 5, reviewers will have to wait until Nov. 12 to file their Xbox One review.
The issue may have been introduced by Pete Dodd, who updated his blog about the 720p resolution rumor recently. Dodd was hesitant to run the rumor but now says, “Days have passed and I’ve heard it from many sources now. This is no longer something I consider flimsy.” Journalists such as Erik Kain, who writes about videogames for Forbes, have also said that Microsoft’s embargo is preventing anyone from discussing the resolution of “COD: Ghosts.” Other reviewers have also mentioned that some potential bad news may be coming for the Xbox One.
This is weird since I know for a fact that many people do know what its resolution is but can't say due to Microsoft's embargo.
— Erik Kain (@erikkain) October 26, 2013
The issue may be due to RAM, as pointed out by Conrad and others. The PS4 features 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, whereas the Xbox One features 8GB of DDR3 RAM, which is slower than DDR5, but Microsoft compensated for that with an additional 32 MB of eSRAM. This attempt to improve the Xbox One may have actually hindered it, says C-Ron, as the console may be more difficult to develop for, a problem that developers faced with the PlayStation 3.
It is unclear if these rumors are true, but many fans would be upset if they paid $500 for a new console and were not getting the same experience, in terms of resolution, as other next-gen console owners. There is also the argument that the resolution is not the only thing that matters, but other users have commented that a lower resolution in a game such as “COD: Ghosts” could affect rendering and the ability to see enemies at a distance.
According to the last update from Dodd, Activision is working on a patch to fix the supposed “COD: Ghosts” resolution issue, but there have yet to be any official comments from the company or from Microsoft. Although the Xbox One will be released on Nov. 22, the first reviews of “COD: Ghosts” will be released on Nov. 5; it will be interesting to see if the Xbox One review is also included on that date. With two very dedicated fanbases, and with the fast-approaching launches of the PS4 and Xbox One, expect to hear plenty of rumors about more perceived problems.