When word came out last month that upcoming dog simulator Call of Duty: Ghosts runs at a higher resolution on PS4 than it does on Xbox One, the reactions were loud and angry. Was this a launch-day anomaly, or will all multi-platform games perform better on Sony's console?
Today, the people who make Call of Duty have an official explanation, and it ain't great news for Microsoft. Speaking to Eurogamer, Infinity Ward boss Mark Rubin put it quite candidly: on the Xbox One, they had to sacrifice resolution to get the game running at the 60 frames-per-second they wanted.
"It's very possible we can get it to native 1080p [resolution]. I mean I've seen it working at 1080p native," Rubin said. "It's just we couldn't get the frame rate in the neighborhood we wanted it to be. And it wasn't a lack of effort. It wasn't that it was like last minute. We had the theoretical hardware for a long time. That's the thing you get pretty quickly and that doesn't change dramatically.
"It was more about resource allocation. The resource allocation is different on the consoles. That huge web of tangled resources, whether it's threads-based or if it's GPU threads or if it's memory - whatever it is - optimization is something that could go theoretically on forever."
In conversations with Kotaku, game developers have made it clear that the PlayStation 4 is, on paper, the more powerful system. But some of our best sources are split on the long-term ramifications of that power difference. Are these optimization challenges that third-party developers will overcome, or will the PS4's faster memory be a long-term advantage that continues to allow games like Call of Duty to run at higher resolution on Sony's new machine?
Rubin says he thinks—and hopes—that "both platforms will look way better" in the future.
"First launch, first time at bat at a new console is a challenging one," Rubin said to Eurogamer. "That's just the way it is. For people fearful one system is more powerful than the other or vice versa, it's a long game."