Battlefield 4 on PS4 and Xbox One: How it Should Look at 900p and 720p – Part 2 – The Differences

There has been a lot of talk on the fact that Battlefield 4 has been demonstrated running at a resolution of 720p on Xbox One and Ps4, and while EA DICE says that the final resolution isn’t yet finalized, and that they’re targeting to have the same resolution on both next generation consoles, many are still wondering what the real pixel count will be.

A few days ago we used the PC version of Battlefield 4 to simulate how the PS4 and Xbox One version of the game should look, wether they’ll be limited to 720p or they will achieve 900p. The way the pictures were arranged, though, wasn’t the best to spot the differences between the different resolutions, as they’re fairly subtle. Taking the feedback from some of our readers that provided some interesting ideas om how to compare the screenshots, here’s Part 2 of our simulation, with a whole bunch of new screenies, that hopefully will help you notice the discrepancies in the level of detail.

It’s important to mention that this article, like the previous one, won’t mention which console will reach 900p and which one won’t, as no one knows, and if we Believe DICE’s promises, they will be equivalent. It doesn’t aim to pitch the PS4 against the Xbox one, but just to simulate and showcase the difference between 720p and 900p for both platforms. It also doesn’t aim to demonstrate that 720p looks terrible, as it doesn’t. That said, the differences –however subtle– are there, and that’s exactly what we’re setting out to show.

Observing the few videos surfaced so far, the game on next generation consoles seems very similar to the PC beta version at High settings. It’s definitely inferior to Ultra settings, and it seems to be better than Medium. With that in mind I set my PC version of the beta to High settings, with Antialiasing on 2X, as the console versions’ AA doesn’t seem to be superior to that for the moment.

In order to simulate the possible 720p and 900p resolutions of the console version I left the display resolution to 1080p, and modified the “resolution scale” slider to change the resolution internally rendered by the game. That way the scene will be rendered internally at 720p and 900p, and then upscaled to 1080p, exactly like the PS4 and the Xbox One will do (if you want to learn more about the resolution scaling feature you can check my dedicated article on the topic).

There’s a slight degree of approximation here, due to the increments of the slider, but I guarantee that you’re not going to perceive the difference between 1600 x 900 pixels and 1632 x 918.

This time around, in order to make the differences more visible, I took pictures with a native resolution of 720p and 900p uscaled to 1080p, and 1080p itself for reference, then I created a series of animated GIFs switching between them in sequence (with an interval of three seconds between each). While the GIF format reduces the color count to 256 and adds a dithering effect, it’s otherwise lossless, and doesn’t hide the differences in detail like a lossy format like JPG would.

In addition to that, I also put together a detail picture of each screenshot, showing one of its elements that better showcases the difference in all three resolutions side by side. Those are in uncompressed PNG format so there’s no loss of color or dithering (note: no resizing or zooming has been done on the detail screenshots. They’ve just been cropped, but they keep the same size they have on the game’s screen).

Finally, at the bottom of the post you’ll find a gallery with all the screenshots in all three resolution in uncompressed PNG. If you want to see the differences even better, open each group of three in three different tabs of your browser, make sure that they’re fully zoomed, and then flip between them.

But without further ado, here come the screenshots (click on each GIF to enlarge it to full size and show the animation. Please allow a few seconds for loading, as they’re fairly big files, especially if you have a slow connection).



One of the best areas to spot the differences in his first picture are the decals on the tank, as you can easily notice above. Displayed from left to right are 720p, 900p and 1080p.



Foliage is another good example, as the loss in definition is very visible as you proceed towards 720p



The serial numbers, decals and general detail of guns show the difference in definition very well, as you can see above.



Even here the lion statues and the trees behind them show a quite marked difference in definition. Distant objects are the ones that suffer the most as resolution decreases.



The difference in definition in the grass is very evident, even more so between 900p and 1080p.



The scrolling Chinese lettering is another good example. It’s quite blurry in 720p, while we can see the dots in 1080p fairly well. In this case the difference between 720p and 900p isn’t that big.



More foliage, seen thorugh a sniper rifle scope. In this case the difference is even more self explanatory.



The sign in this picture shows the progressive definition gain from 720p and 1080p very well.



In this screenshots taken from the top of the main skyscraper we can see fairly well the discrepancies in definition of most details of the buildings at a distance.



This screenshot is another perfect example. The chinese lettering is very different at the three resolution, but even more evident is the difference in the pieces of paper scattered on the street. Not only they’re a lot more blurry in 720p, but some aren’t even visible, while they appear at higher resolutions.



The details of the plants get more defined as we approach to 1080p, the same can be said about the ribbing of the vase.



Basically every detail here is evidently more blurry in 720p: the umbrellas, the couches, the steps and the tiles.



Same as above, the while picture is more blurry in 720p. The most evident difference is in the foliage and the railings on the background.



The discrepancy in resolution is fairly evident both in the red sign and in the metallic grating just under it.



The statue and the foliage look quite different as we increase resolution, even if the discrepancy in the statue is much more subtle between 720p and 900p.



The Chinese letters on the flags are quite blurry in 720p, while they become more defined as resolution increase. The same can be said about the panels behind them.



The ribbing of the escalator is on a whole different level of detail between the three different resolutions.



In this screenshot you can easily spot the discrepancies in the Chinese flag and in the details of the headlight.



A sight from my favorite vehicle in the game. The difference on the pavement here is self explanatory, and the same can be said about the sheets of paper. The signs in the distance also show a whole different level of detail.



The details in the broken pillars, the shutters on its left, and the decoration above the gate on the right are very different as you move upwards to 1080p



Basically everything in the picture above, and especially in the showcased detail, is more blurry in 720p and 900p.

So, did you manage to spot the differences this time around? While they’re most definitely subtle, especially when you’re having fun and you aren’t just squinting to see if the leaves aren’t blurred, they do exist. That said, as you can see from the pictures above, and as concluded by Part 1 as well, Battlefield 4 is going to look quite great, regardless of resolution.

If the differences you saw showcased above are important for you, then you can only hope that EA DICE will manage to push 900p on your platform of choice. If you want to see the pictures even better, you can check out each and every one in uncompressed PNG in the gallery below.

Join the Discussion

  • xkingxnitemare

    didnt dice already say they were going to be same res on both consoles a couple weeks back?

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Which is exactly what this article says, twice?

  • yup

    everyone thank microsoft for gimping third party console gaming for the next 7 years.

    • SwappingFrom360toPS4

      they aren’t. dont worry… they’ll just get left behind.

      PS4 games won’t be getting gimped because of the weaker XB1, you will see in just over a month when both release. The PS4 version of multi-platform games will always be better. (unless it is a smaller game and both consoles can run it at 1080p 60fps)

      • Shane Bryan

        Enjoy PSN, don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out.

        • Johan Engström

          You can do the same.

    • Yup is wrong.

      Another idiot that doesn’t understand specs. They’re more identical than you think moron, better yet wait for your PS4 to crash due to it’s heat problems. Learn how to read specs, the console are practically identical. The differences are minor, just like this generation. Remember how the PS3 was all powerful? Look how that turned out, everything ran better on the 360. GDDR5 is their biggest downfall by far, and that’s going to hold us back, not the Xbox.

      • SmartApps

        the PS4 will run at 5-35 degrees Celsius – which is fairly cool compared to the PS3’s average of 45-55 (over 60 and you’re at risk of the YLOD).

        So the low power consumption of the PS4 does mean that it’s at less risk of failures, since overheating is the primary cause of failure for consoles.

      • revlux

        The ps3 is more powerful than the xbox 360 but it is much more difficult to code for which is why multi-plats generally looked better on the 360 as the ps3 version was usually a port of the easier to code for 360. First party games look incredible on the ps3 though and really show what it’s capable of. Still don’t believe me?

        The ps4 and x1 are completely different than their predecessors and both are fairly easy to code for. The fact that the ps4 has higher baseline stats, and therefor, is more powerful is no longer even in debate. I’m getting an x1 but it is just sad for ppl to keep trying to argue that the x1’s baseline stats aren’t weaker than the ps4’s baseline stats when most of the outspoken devs that have coded for both have said it is and even Microsoft admitted as much, in their own way, when they said the games are what’s important and not the stats. I have to agree with them on that point but it still doesn’t change the fact that it is less powerful. It’s time to move on…

        • Hakeem Brooks

          amen bro tht wa i trying to show them all the time

      • johnson

        wait….of this current generation….are you under the impression it was the Sony system that had a record-breaking failure rate due to over-heating?

        Sony has a few big flaws (over-ambitious proprietary tech, playing catch-up with online services, etc) but hardware design and build quality is not one of their weakness. They’re not even my preferred brand of audio/video kit, but most of Sony products have lasted me 10+ years (DJ headphones, ps2, etc) or until obsolete (minidisc, discman, etc). I’ve enjoyed the ps3 and 360, but when you pick up the latter it rattles around like a cheaply-made knockoff – perhaps that’s meaningless but it makes gear-whores and audiophiles cringe.

        MS is new in the hardware game – and they come from the consumer PC industry where the mass market values budget prices over reliability and longevity. On one hand MS’ 360 hardware plan was a great approach to make it easier for developers and pull ahead of Sony’s console in the US market….but their hardware construction practices led to the RROD. I mean, despite that gigantic external brick, the 360 still had notorious heating problems. Now, in the long game, maybe RROD was the best thing that could happen because hopefully it inspired MS to change their thinking on hardware quality. Because now that the Xbox 1 is incorporating so many different techs – and pushing more simultaneous functions where compatibility will be extremely important – hardware issues are the LAST thing they need.

        Basically both systems this generation had mind-boggling flaws (and in some ways, MS and Sony have swapped approaches to this next generation). Anyone that can’t see the pros and cons in both current consoles lives in their own deluded childish world. But it’s a little silly to assume of the two companies, the one that can’t figure out physical heat distribution is the massive global electronics hardware company (instead of the software company with with the really bad record on overheating console design, lol).

    • revlux

      I don’t think it will be nearly as bad as the current gen. Microsoft’s decision to not go with blu ray has cost us in more than one game. Huge segments of some open world games has been removed out of games for every platform because the 360 simply couldn’t handle it even with 3 to 6 discs. (even spreading it over several discs the compression was just too much to still run acceptably.)

      Luckily that won’t be an issue next gen. Though you are still likely right about multi-platform games next generation if they port from the xbox one like they did from the 360 imo.

  • Obambush

    The fact that they need to zoom into blades of grass to tell the minor difference is very telling. Give me 720p 60fps over 1080p 30fps any day and twice on Sunday!

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      No zooming going on here, besides the two shots through the scope. The detail shots have been cropped, not zoomed.

      • truu

        Are you kidding me? look again pick a single object and compare it to one on the original picture, its clearly bigger in the smaller pics because zoomed it.

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          *facepalms* That’s because the original pictures are sized down to fit the page. Click on them to see the original size.

        • Johan Engström

          Try to boot up Battlefield 3 on a pc running ultra in 720p and then in 1080p.. the difference is EXTREME.

    • Exactly.

    • Gabriel

      It’s going to be running 900p 60 fps stable on PS4 and only 720p 60 fps unstable on xbox one. Also COD: Ghosts is going to be 720p 60 fps on xbox one and 1080p 60 fps on PS4, of course they’ll upscale on xbox one, but that still doesn’t show as nice as native 1080p.


    So you have to blow up the shots two or three times the original size to be able to tell the difference huh? Yeah. I can’t tell the difference between 1080p and 720p on my 50″ 1080p TV at 8 feet away. Until I have a 120″ TV I just don’t need games running higher than 720p.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Umh. I’m not sure where you read that the shots have been resized. There’s absolutely no resizing going on here. All shots have been left in their original size.

      Resizing is a very lossy process. It would hide the differences, not show them.

  • Edonus

    Is this really the big difference that I should be worried about?

    Talk about over exaggeration. This article is great because it really puts what we are talking about in proper perspective. I can barely see a difference at all and this doesnt even take in to account the screen size and viewing distance that could render the small differences non existent.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Nah, you shouldn’t be worried about it. Unless you plan on sticking your nose against the screen as you play.

      I have to because I’m nearsighted lol.

      • Greg Hartley

        This made me chuckle

    • Shane Bryan

      great article as it shows that 99% of the internet is splitting hairs about this sort of stuff.

  • TBB

    Fix this article, the game has MSAA turned on with all resolutions tested. The consoles won’t have that, that’s for sure.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      And you know how? Are you perchance arguing that next generation consoles aren’t capable to hold MSAA 2x? Because that sounds pretty ridiculous.

      There’s nothing to fix.

  • truthishard

    the PSpoor cheap asian knock off will gain the same version of all multiplatform games..move on you cheap bums.. buy a PC or a superior Xbox One cause the PSpoor asianese knock off has nothing going for it but paper specs

  • PCmasterRace

    This is being played on a PC with MSAA with ultra settings the last gen Xboxone and PS4 console wont be having, that’s for sure

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Might want to actually read the article. This is being played on High settings, that look very similar to what the console footage we saw so far looks like.

  • consoles4kidz

    Ive been playing the beta for the last 2 weeks on PC, and I agree that I would prefer steady 60fps on 720p than unstable framerate and higher resolution. This game is soooo damn fun. Can Dice do something for the console versions where the games campaign is rendered at 1080p 30fps and mp 720p 60fps kinda like what guerilla is doing for SF.

    • Shane Bryan

      not a bad idea that. remember though that the Xbox One can do its “dynamic resolution” trick, so we may end up with higher resolution in parts of the single player campaign as a result.

  • An

    I’m pretty sure if it won’t run natively at 1080 p on xbox one then its upscaled by the system and the difference is hardly noticeable.

    • Shane Bryan

      especially at 60FPS when a dozen people are shooting at you! :-p

  • Cocoloco

    It’s amazing how many people neglect to actually read an article before posting… Anyway, thanks for putting this together. I’ve been considering building a PC and joining the “master race” just for BF4, but I think for now I can put up w/ these minor differences. Maybe next year.

  • Shane Bryan

    With 32 people on the other team shooting at me, at 60 FPS, I doubt on Xbox One or PS4 that these differences will be very noticeable by the vast majority of console owning BF4 players.

    People criticising the next-gen console versions of BF4 because it ‘might’ not hold up to the PC version are wasting their time as the PC version of BF3 was MUCH better looking than the 360PS3 version also. I played it on both and the PC version was drop dead sexy, but running in 1080pUltra detail and max settings, you’d expect it to! 🙂

    People forget to compare games running on a $600 console to that same game running on a $600 PC. Instead we get comparisons to console games running against $1000+ PC systems (AU pricing estimates). This continually frustrates me.

    People also criticised the BF4 beta because it looked like arse. Well yeah, it was not only a beta version, but it was running on 8 year old hardware. Show me BF4 running on your 8 year old PC. I bet it looks like a hat full of arses as well! 🙂

    I can understand why people get all twitchy over graphics but i’m not too fussed as my TV only does 720p anyway. I’m considering upgrading it but i’ll wait and see how Xbox One looks on it first. If games actually start coming out running in 60FPS @ 1080p (other than Forza) then it might be worthwhile, at present it doesn’t seem to be a worthy expense.

    Great article though, at least there are still some websites around that want to make an effort and put some thought into their articles.

  • Ricky__Spanish

    PS4 – $400. My PC -$1, 500.

    Nobody should expect a console to match high end PCs in graphics

    • Johan Engström

      I’m sorry but my 2(almost 3) year old 1500 dollar pc can play BF4 on high/ultra with a stable framerate around 60 fps

      • Console guy

        Yes, but only at 640×480 resolution. Your 3 yr old GPU is definitely not running BF4 at 60fps at 1920×1080 res.

        • Johan Engström

          Lol. No. My old GPU is the one recommended on the box. i just upgraded the GPU and i got like.. 20-30 fps better on high then my old gpu.

  • Bulldozer

    Hello, Can you tell me what this graphics card for PC, please?