Blizzard Talks Xbox One Diablo 3 1080p

Production director says the game initially ran at 1080p, but resolution was lowered to ensure a high performance...and then raised again to 1080p.

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition runs in 1080p/60fps on Xbox One, the same resolution and frame rate as the PlayStation 4 version. Reaching those benchmarks, however, was an involved process, according to comments from Blizzard Entertainment production director John Hight. In an interview with Eurogamer, Hight explained the balancing act between resolution and frame rate and revealed how Blizzard was ultimately able to achieve 1080p for Xbox One.

Hight said Diablo III for Xbox One initially ran at 1080p, but Blizzard needed to lower the resolution to keep the game running smoothly at 60fps. "We did have 1080p, but we were finding it challenging to keep our frame rate. Because Diablo's so much of an action game, we wanted to have a responsive feel--especially with four players. When you get four witch doctors in a room full of demons, that's probably the worst case scenario for us because we have effects going off everywhere. We want to make sure that it still feels very glassy, very responsive, and that's why we dropped resolution down on it," he explained.

Hight went on to say that Blizzard found it "challenging" early in the development process to get the Xbox One version of Diablo III running at 1080p, and so the studio dropped the resolution to 900p. This news made headlines, and Microsoft reportedly did not want the PS4 version of Diablo III to be graphically superior to the Xbox One version.

"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," Hight said. It's possible the code update Hight is referring to is the Xbox One June SDK that boosted console GPU power. (This SDK also has also allowed Bungie's upcoming shooter Destiny to run in 1080p on Xbox One just like the PS4 version.)

As a result, Diablo III on Xbox One now runs in 1080p after you apply a day-one patch.

According to Eurogamer's performance analysis of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, from an image quality perspective, the Xbox One and PS4 versions are "absolutely identical." However, frame rate tests have shown that the Xbox One version dips below 60fps during some sections that feature more enemies and effects. As a result, Eurogamer argues that a 900p version on Xbox One might have resulted in smoother overall experience.

Last week, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said 1080p is not a "mythical, perfect resolution." He argues that frame rate is often more important than resolution, and said developers should determine what resolution and frame rate is best for their games.

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition was released today for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4. The bundle includes the main game, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and new features like Apprentice Mode, the Nemesis System, Player Mail, and Player Gifting. If you already own Diablo III for Xbox 360 or PS3, you can transfer characters from that game to your current-generation console of choice.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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464 comments
Trinitarian
Trinitarian

I'm glad M$ is making dens keep up with ps4 and giving them tools needed to do so. I c I enjoy the online servers and controllers the most with bone system

alex_the_pie
alex_the_pie

i have a pc and blah blah blah the resolution is blah blah blah

xrizz1066
xrizz1066

Bbbbbbbbut Phil said 1080 isn't important. Yet again one story for the media different one behind closed doors.

themyst
themyst

I wish PCs had more sports games; the only thing preventing me from ditching consoles altogether.  Only reason I keep a PS4 around.  

adkcrazox
adkcrazox

I would be happy with 900p with 60fps. I just don't want to 720p games.

Vodoo
Vodoo

I doubt Blizzard is very good at optimizing console development resources, being mostly a pc developer. Diablo 3 is not a very graphics intensive game. They should've had no problem getting 1080p, even without the update.

funkyzoom
funkyzoom

The worst part is, on consoles you can't even adjust the resolution according to your needs. This is one of the many reason why I only game on a  PC.

kadaverhagga
kadaverhagga

This is ridiculous, especially when Phil said that framerates are more important and downplayed the res. I rather play the game at 900p and stable 60 than 1080p with framderops.

We already know the ps4 is more powerful, just accept it and focus on the games and performance.

filben
filben

Microsoft is such a bullshit club. Even before release of XOne they stated several times that this isn't about graphics. Even a week ago they said framerate is more important and there is no such thing like perfect resolution. And NOW 900p "is  unacceptable". I'm not buying the Xbox 1 because it's bad console, which isn't true. Truth is, I'd really love to play Quantum Break. I'll never buy it because of Microsoft. It's just such a messed up company I cannot even insult it in a approriate way.

ninboxstation
ninboxstation

"Microsoft was just like, 'This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.' 

wonder what MS does with smaller studios...

Vylsith
Vylsith

Well this is complete crap.  Not because the Xbox One version hit 1080p.  I have no problem with that.  The fact that Microsoft is trying to force parity on developers is completely unfair to developers and hurts the industry.  The PS4 has more powerful hardware.  It's one of the strengths of the PS4.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with a developer playing to that strength.  This won't change all generation.  There are strengths to the Xbox One as well that developers can play to.  You don't see Sony throwing a tantrum every time a developer includes Kinect functionality.  Microsoft are acting like children.  If you wanted parity then you should've built a console that was as powerful.

For all the Xbox One users complaining about parity, get over it.  You bought the console knowing it was less powerful than the PS4 (or at least you should have known given all the publicity about it).  You don't get to complain now.  You made your bed, now lie in it.  Tired of the whining about parity.  The PS4 is more powerful.  Games will obviously look better on it.  That's just common sense.  Enough FUD, more catering to each console's strength imo.

electrichobo99
electrichobo99

So what's the deal with XB1 having consistent underperformance as opposed to the PS4? The XB1 should have absolute parity with the PS4, while not forcing developers to do all kinds of extra work to reach the 1080P/60fps benchmark. You'd figure enough time was given during the pre-production of the XB1 to build a console that could handle the requirements of current common industry standards. MS forcing Blizzard to boost the XB1 performance artificially just to satisfy their own demands is ridiculous, they should have just made the console with the inherent processing capabilities to not have what appear to be significant shortcomings as opposed to the leading brand. What were they thinking releasing a highly-hyped product that falls far short of its promises? I'm so glad I initially opted for the PS4 at launch instead of the XB1, but will eventually procure One probably holiday 2015 as more must-have exclusives are released.

hdtanel
hdtanel

lol@nextgen consoles cannot handle a simple resolution from 2008... its just a TAD better then it was on PS3\360 and nextgen all mighty consoles cannot do it properly. What fcking year is this? Nextgen?? Srsly...
Blame the architects that thought its a fcking good idea to but a APU instead of a dedicated top end GPU and CPU in the consoles.. like we got back in 2005. Right now we got TOP hardware in PS4\XONE FROM 2006......... srsly.

thelongestyodel
thelongestyodel

Even as ridiculous as the 1080p, 900p, 720 blah blah argument is, it's the Achilles' heel that xbox can't shake. People don't care about your reasons why, they just want to say they own the "best" console.




BLiTZ_156
BLiTZ_156

The annoying thing about this is, 4k resolution TVs are being phased in... and at the same time, its a STRUGGLE for 1080p and 60fps? A benchmark that's been achieved so long ago, should be a cakewalk for these consoles!! What was the expected lifespan of this gen again?
And they try to push all this digital content out at us and expect all the media, not just games, to fit on a 500gb drive?

This is why there is disappointment!

coasterguy65
coasterguy65

I'm still not interested in paying a $20 premium for the Ps4 / Xbone edition. Hopefully this greed will not be a normal occurrence from developers / publishers in the future.

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

BLIZZARD WHY DO YOU COMPRESS CUTSEENS SO MUCH, isnt the disc bluray?

VersaType
VersaType

Why does resolution matter all of a sudden? No one cared about the performance of multi plats last gen unless it hugely affected the gaming experience like freezing, or a terrible frame rate not just one that drops occasionally. Fact is if you want your games to before to the best that they can be, you go with a pc. If you don't care, then unless a game is unplayable on either of these systems, a stupid thing such as a lower resolution shouldn't matter, especially when now you can tell less of a difference between resolutions than previous gens (even the last one).

gunnmetal
gunnmetal

@Vodoo i know right? i mean when i press pause (or menu) on the x1 the character is all pixelated in the textures. its defenatly 2004 graphics, same as warcraft 3 really. really blizzard if you cant push 1080p with that engine surely you are lazy. 

parabol69
parabol69

@funkyzoom Then why are you here?  Don't you have some petition to be begging on?

dexter-404
dexter-404

@kadaverhagga PS4 is more powerful technically but the difference is so slim there is barely a difference but the problem is that video coding is very hard on the xbox one according to developers

Vodoo
Vodoo

No, Microsoft said it's unacceptable because Diablo 3 isn't a game that should have a problem running in 1080p. Microsoft doesn't want their games being inferior just because the developer doesn't want to make the effort.

parabol69
parabol69

@filben So because the developer was being lazy, it's Microsoft's fault?  Stupid.

danielbirchal
danielbirchal

They are right. This IS unacceptable! Activision should quit the lazyness and develop using the hardware at its best. Since it has been done with varios more graphical charged games (like forza and wolfesntein) X1 clearly X1 allways had power to run it on 1080p @60fps even without the new sdk.

Vylsith
Vylsith

@ninboxstation Exactly.  They have to get over this attitude.  They have no right whatsoever to demand parity from developers.  Given their sales and less powerful hardware (and the fact that the PS4 sells twice as many multi-platform titles as the Xbox One), they should be thankful they're getting most multi-platform games at this point.  If they keep it, they won't.

Attitude2000
Attitude2000

@Vylsith Games may not look as great, but I like the instant switching. Once you can snap friends instead of going into it, I'll be happy.

oflow
oflow

@Vylsith the only one complaining is you.  Most Xbox One owners dont care about parity they care about games, if we really cared about specs that much we wouldnt have bought an X1 to begin with.  I'd rather they make 900p games that run better than try to pound square pegs thru round wholes trying to match the PS4.

as far as games go D3 personally for me D3 is not one of them I even care about.  I hate arpgs they are boring and old fashioned.

doctr_nick
doctr_nick

@electrichobo99 

The big reason is that MS put all their bets on cloud computing. That's why they initially wanted a 24/7 internet connection. They specifically cheaped out on the physical hardware in the console with the intent of making up for it by offloading processing to the cloud and then streaming to the console. Unfortunately, they pushed the idea very aggressively and before people were ready to accept it. Also, the overall infrastructure in terms of internet accessability and widespread adoption were not there. I think this is why Sony also chose less than cutting edge hardware for the PS4...it's just that they struck a more ideal balance for the demands people had today. Guaranteed that over the next 5-10 years, cloud computing will creep into the console market and by the next generation, make a physical specs of a "console" irrelevant.

oflow
oflow

@electrichobo99 its mostly BS they have to say to keep up with all the Sony 'MOAR POWAHFUL SYSTEM' PR spin thats out there.

They didnt force Blizzard to do anything, the used the dev kit they released and got the game to 1080.  You really think a compoany as huge as Activison Blizzard can be forced to do anything they really dont want to do?  If it was really that bad they could just tell MS they arent going to release the game for X1.  

Vylsith
Vylsith

@electrichobo99 Microsoft needs to stop pretending their console is as powerful as the PS4.  They keep saying that the underpowered status is a public perception they need to fix.  Nonsense.  It IS underpowered compared to the PS4.  That's just reality.  Time to admit it and focus on what they can do to fix it.  Last generation the PS3 was difficult to code for.  Sony knew they had issues when it came to multi-platform games.  What did they do?  They ramped up first party production and did everything they could do to play to their strengths.  That's exactly what Microsoft needs to do.  Instead, they're ramping up on FUD to feed to the public.  It's disgusting.  This is one of the reasons I didn't buy a Xbox 360 last generation.  That same attitude.  I loved the original Xbox.  I loved all of the consoles that generation.  It was all about gaming.  I hate what Microsoft did to the Xbox brand.  It saddens me.

Jasper_73
Jasper_73

@thelongestyodel I know its all rather silly the differences between 900p and 1080p are minuscule. your only going to really notice it if you put them side by side and study them both. people are making way too much of a big deal out of this however if you can get something to run at 1080 60p then all the better.

cws3e
cws3e

@BLiTZ_156 THe amount of storage space necessary for 4K is ridiculous.

Vylsith
Vylsith

@BLiTZ_156 4K TVs are being phased in?  That's news to me.  I think about .5% of the US has them, and much less in Europe and Asia.  I think you're jumping the gun on that one...  It won't be the norm for a good 6 or 7 years, by then we'll have a new console generation.  1080p is more than fine for this generation.  More than fine.  For all the people complaining about 4k on gaming PCs, very few PC gamers have 4k monitors/TVs.  Seriously, it's an overstated argument based on wishful thinking.  Until they cost about $400 - $600 for a decent 4K display, it isn't going to be widespread.  They're $2,000+ for a decent one right now.  Seriously, this isn't a discussion worth having...

oflow
oflow

@VersaType its a big deal because its Sony's primary marketing tool for the PS4, they spin it every chance they get because they dont have games to talk about.

bwvictorious
bwvictorious

@VersaType
Has nothing to do with resolution... its about having to near identical consoles and being told that one cannot handle the same things that the other.

Anyone with half a brain will realise that once developers start pushing the consoles to their limits the xbox will seriously lag behind.
This article clearly states that Diablo looks the same on both consoles but will slow down every now and again.

So? Should you buy an xbox now or wait for the new revised model with some upgrades?

Notice that they have removed kinect from the xbox recently because it was eating resources that the devs needed to bring the games up to par with PS4. That also means that there is 0 incentive to create kinect games... Add the new cod aw console with 1TB space instead of 500MB and you now have 3 tiers of xbox owners
The first (aka Idiot) with his (useless kinect)
The trustworthy (aka the fooled) with his kinectless xbox
The smart (aka... soon to be tricked?) with his superior size hdd

while on the ps4 you have:
The only (aka: thinks he is the one!)... all consoles are the same, behave the same, can have their hdd replaced the same...

Thats why everyone is bugging out because of the resolution

filben
filben

@VersaType Not all of a sudden. It matters since.. I don't know, since 2010? At least ever since you enjoyed 1080p on your PC. And that was several years ago.

Vylsith
Vylsith

@VersaType Everything you just said is pretty much untrue.  There's plenty of difference between 900p and 1080p.  Simply because the PS4 doesn't have as nice of visuals on some games as a PC doesn't mean you don't care about graphic quality if you're buying a console.  Lower resolution does matter to some people.  You don't get to decide what's important to people.  Get over it.

funkyzoom
funkyzoom

@parabol69@cws3e 

If you guys have an intention of picking on people, you'd be better of doing that with someone who claims 'PC gamers are the master race' or something similar, rather than someone who just mentioned his point of view. 

filben
filben

@parabol69 @filben Let the devs be lazy or not at the graphics department, why should MS care if "graphics don't matter"? So, no, it's NOT MS's fault BECAUSE of lazy devs. It's their fault because of acting different than they say. It's totally fine, when they demand more! But then they shouldn't talk like they don't care and try to justify poor resolutions even IF devs put all efforts in but the console isn't just capable of.

oflow
oflow

pfft. Most of the AAA multiplatform games were demoed on the XBox One at E3.

As far as the attitude you are reading into the context of a soundbite, it wasnt there. Watch the developer interview they talk about how MS sent a team to work with Blizzard to get the game up to 1080 and they were happy to have them.  Blizzard is a huge corporation (they been rolling in WoW money for 10 years) its not like they can just be bossed around by MS.

oflow
oflow

@Vylsith Sony fans act like the PS4 has a titan card, its not really a huge difference. yeah games look a little better on PS4, but its not a big deal its only a big deal to the Sony fans because they have nothing else to actually talk about.

You need to stop with the bias homie.  You hate what MS did to the Xbox brand but give Sony a pass for what the PS3 did to Sony?  gimme a break.

Vylsith
Vylsith

$1,000+, says I have time to edit, but for whatever reason it won't let me edit.  How annoying...  -.-  My argument still stands, they won't be affordable for a while, and they definitely won't be in most homes until then.  Until movies are viewable on a large scale at 4k (especially streaming video) most people won't upgrade for games alone anyway.

mjonk2pc
mjonk2pc

@oflow isn't this game they are talking about on PS4 also? Find a new argument, the no games one isn't working. Try going back to how great Titanfall was going to be or how the price cut would push xbox past PS4 in sales. Now the mythical added countries coming in September will be xbox one's day in the sun. Right now, Sony doesn't need marketing, PS4 is speaking for itself. Good luck Microsoft, looks like another third place finish

dreakinn
dreakinn

@Vylsith @VersaType 
I agree with you about lower resolution does matter when it comes to 1080p vs 480p or even 720p. But it is very hard to tell when its 900p vs 1080p unless you have a bigger screen or you are literally standing right in front of it.

Who would sacrifice performance over slight picture quality. That's like saying, you have a shitty computer and trying to run crysis 3 on ultra. Yeah it looks really good but if you are enjoying the game with that game play performance then you need to rethink your life a little.

oflow
oflow

@mjonk2pc because its fairly obvious. its the same way they got Destiny to be 1080 on the X1.  What else would they have done? 

chesaliz
chesaliz

@oflow @Vylsith Oh look, a M$ XBone fanboy who keeps replying on every comment against XBone. If it wasn't really a big deal then tell that to your godfather M$ to stop trying so hard to get graphical parity on multi-platform games and instead develop a game-changing feature for xbone.

oflow
oflow

@mjonk2pc @oflow I dont care what place MS finishes in. I care about the games they make. Enjoy first place with no exclusives besides LBP3 til Q4 2015.  

Vylsith
Vylsith

@dreakinn @Vylsith @VersaType You can see the difference between 900p and 1080p if you have a 32" screen and are standing within 6 feet of it.  It's honestly pretty noticeable.  Maybe I'm just more sensitive to it?  I don't know.  But I can definitely tell the difference.  It's not huge by any means.  It wouldn't ruin the game for me.  It's still noticeable.

I agree that performance and effects are far more important than resolution.  That's really the issue with throwing around technical terms around a mostly ignorant public.  Most people don't know what ambient occlusion is.  Most people don't know what anisotropic filtering does.  Most people don't know the different between HDAO and SSAO.  So they cling to resolution as the end all be all.  A game in 900p can easily look better than a game in 1080p.  Nobody bothers to explain the concept to the public.

Resolution should be looked at as graphic potential.  When you raise resolution, you can raise all other elements to a new bar of graphic quality.  However, those elements are more important than the resolution by itself.  So you'd be better upgrading lighting, AA, shadowing, alpha buffering, particle effects, reflections, etc. before resolution.  A game with amazing effects at 900p will still look better than your run of the mill game at 1080p.

I'm rambling on here, but you're absolutely correct.  Framerate should be a minimum of 30 fps.  If you can't hit that, you need to downgrade visuals.  Effects should be upgraded next.  Lastly, resolution should be upgraded if the platform can handle it.  Upgrading resolution when framerate or effects takes a hit is not even remotely worth it.

dreakinn
dreakinn

@Vylsith @dreakinn @VersaType 

I agree 100% to what you said. 900p can easily look better then some 1080p on next gen console. For ryse to be 900p and looking better then other native 1080p just proves resolution alone isn't the key part.