Ubisoft Dev Calls 1080p Debate a “Weird Echo Chamber”
Another week, another LOL Ubisoft moment. If WordPress let me run ads on this blog, I think that I could have put myself through university with all the foot-in-mouth moments coming out of Ubisoft over the last few months.
The latest LOL Ubisoft (LOLbisoft?) moment is from Far Cry 4 creative director Alex Hutchinson. He told the Official Xbox Magazine that resolution is “certainly not something I care about in a game.”
The last couple of time that we’ve had a LOLbisoft moment, I tried to help them out by saying that a lower framerate can be used to increase graphical fidelity when that CPU/GPU power would be used to increase the framerate. However, Hutchinson said that Far Cry 4 would be running at 1080p and 30 FPS but is still complaining about people wanting 1080p for some reason.
He also believes that graphics don’t sell games anymore saying, “It used to be the graphics on the back of a box that sold a game. And even since the Xbox 360 and the PS3, that sort of era, like early 2000, I feel like 99% of the time it’s gone away.”
He also used the tried and true Ubi excuse of the console wars to explain away why people should care about resolution and graphical fidelity by saying “”It’s a rare question for you to ask now about resolution or something. It’s [only brought up] because of the disparity, the idea that one version is being held back. I don’t think that has sold consoles for a while now. I think experiences have been selling them.”
The problem with many people’s thinking is the old “you can put lipstick on a pig” argument. Most TVs now are 1080p or higher resolution. Some smaller or bargain TVs run at 720p but I’d say that going to the store now would yield maybe 10% of brand name TVs at 720p being bigger than 32″. On Future Shop’s website, a leading Canadian electronics store, there are more 4K TVs for sale than 720p and over five times as many 1080p TV. Basically, if you’re running 720p, you’re probably in the minority going forward. Even then, games can be downscaled to 720p from a 900p or 1080p native resolution and you aren’t losing anything.
So why is establishing that important? It’s kind of like when you take a 4:3 picture and stretch it to cover a 16:9 screen, it looks all distorted and out of whack. If the majority of TVs are now 1080p, that means that a game running at 720p is designed to take up about 44% of the pixels of a 1080p TV. So your 720p game is being stretched to fit a 1080p screen which you will be able to see if you look closely enough or compare it to a 1080p game. By the way, a 900p game takes up about 69% of your screen’s available pixels which isn’t great but at least it’s more than half of the pixels.
The complaint is that these new consoles should be able to run games that look amazing at 1080p because that’s what was promised by developers, publishers and console manufacturers ahead of the launch of the current generation of consoles. They have TVs to show off those supposedly photo-realistic graphics. Instead, all they’re getting is excuses that graphics, resolution and framerate aren’t important but gameplay is when most developers and publishers aren’t spending the money to come up with gameplay that feels “next-gen.” Gaming has supposedly evolved but it has done so in a way that is not perceptible to gamers unless endless microtransactions and DLC are a next-gen gameplay innovation.
So keep putting your foot in your mouth Ubisoft. Maybe you’ll learn someday. Until then, I’ll be happy to point out every dumb thing you say so that it reverberates around the echo chamber. You can hear it if you listen in with your wallets.
Source: Total Xbox