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Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Runs Better on PS4 Than Xbox One - Report

PS4 comes out on top, according to new technical analysis.


A technical analysis of Call of Duty: Black Ops III compares the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game's campaign, claiming Sony's edition comes out on top overall with respect to resolution and frame rate.

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Digital Foundry's assessment of Black Ops 3's campaign first tackled the game's resolution. In cutscenes, both PS4 and Xbox One were able to regularly achieve full 1080p. However, native resolution during gameplay is targeted to be 1920x1080 (1080p) on PS4 but 1600x900 (900p) on Xbox One.

The PS4 edition momentarily drops to 1360x1080 before reaching full 1080p, and "some blur across distant details is apparent." The Xbox One edition, however, can rarely hold its 900p target, the report found, instead reaching a sustained 1280x900 resolution "even in less stressful gameplay scenes."

During "more challenging scenarios," resolution on Xbox One could fall to 1200x900, the report found. The game uses a resolution upscaler, but the results leave much to be desired, Digital Foundry said.

"The Xbox One release possesses a consistent blurry appearance when the action really kicks in: fine details are frequently smudged over, while geometry edges appear rough and fuzzy," it said. "It's a substantial downgrade over last year's Advanced Warfare, where Sledgehammer stayed locked at a 1360x1080 resolution during the more demanding scenes."

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On the subject of frame rate, Black Ops III targets a 60fps frame rate on all current-gen platforms, but both the PS4 and Xbox One editions do not achieve this on a regular basis, according to Digital Foundry.

"Gameplay set in narrow corridors, along with low key gameplay moments away from frenetic combat can see the engine attain the familiar 60fps expected from a Call of Duty title," it said. "However, as we move into more open areas packed with greater amounts of geometry detail and more challenging effects work, frame rates start to suffer on both consoles and the 60fps fluidity is gone. Performance ranges from 40-55fps and seem highly variable in motion, leading to inconsistent controller response and a stutter to motion we don't usually associate with the series."

On average, the PS4 edition ran at 51fps, compared to 49fps on Xbox One. "From our sample, around 15 percent of the video output consists of dropped frames on the Sony console, rising to around 18 percent on Xbox One," Digital Foundry explained.

During one particularly intensive scene in the No Man's Land chapter, involving a shootout, the PS4 edition mostly held steady at 60fps. However, the Xbox One version "frequently struggles to rise above 35-45fps," the site said, noting that frame rate in this particular scene dropped down to 28fps at one point.

Note again that Digital Foundry's technical analysis looked at the Black Ops III campaign, not the multiplayer mode, which some consider to be the franchise's overall meat and potatoes. Be sure to read Digital Foundry's full technical assessment to learn more.

An earlier Digital Foundry analysis of another big game, Fallout 4, found that it, too, performed slightly better on PS4 than Xbox One.

Black Ops III launched on November 6 and total global sales during comparable periods "rose significantly" over Advanced Warfare and Ghosts. In all, Black Ops III generated $550 million in its first three days.

For more on Black Ops III, check out GameSpot's review and what other critics are saying.

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