The Removal of the Hated Xbox One Sharpening Filter Comes at the Price of Texture Detail
When the Xbox One February update removed the much reviled sharpening filter that interfered with antialiasing and created jaggies and artifacts on games upscaled to 1080p from a lower resolution was welcomed by many as a very positive change, and it definitely is, yet it comes at a price.
The filter seems to either have been replaced by a soft blur filter, or the removal of the sharpening indirectly causes a blurring effect, and the consequence is that the textures of the games affected actually lose in detail.
Below you can see three pairs of screenshots of Titanfall and Killer Instinct taken before and after the update by NeoGAF users nbnt and GSY Miguel. Under each pair you can see an animated GIF showing how the textures in certain areas of the picture are now more blurred, up to the point of making some details effectively indistinguishable.
The animated GIF below shows how the Kanji on the billboard was pretty readable before the update, and it’s now so blurry that it’s unreadable.
The animated GIF below shows the “Harbor Services” billboard. Before it was readable, after it’s not possible to distinguish the text anymore.
In the case of Killer Instinct’s training stage the smaller grid that was quite visible within the main darker grid in the background of the level has completely vanished, hidden by the blur.
Your mileage may vary on whether you prefer the sharpened version before the update or the slightly blurred version after.
Personally, I still favor the new look of the games after the update, as the sharpening filter was really too intense, but this goes to show that in this kind of development good things often come with a trade off.