Xbox One And PlayStation 4 Face Off In Battlefield 4: Who Wins?

The PS4 and Xbox One aren't out yet, but that's not stopping them from facing off in Battlefield 4, the next-generation, just-launched title from EA/DICE. We highlighted some of the visual differences we might expect between the console and PC versions of the game based on the performance of the in-game scaling software option, but now that the title has launched, what do we see?

Quite a bit -- some of it good, some not so much. Fair warning here: The PS4 and Xbox One screenshots are quite large. I decided to preserve the YouTube videos and the original aspect ratios below, in order to give you a better look at the differences in zoom. Eurogamer has published a full preview of the game, screenshot by screenshot, as well as a video that shows the differences running side-by-side, as shown below.

The first thing that's going to jump out at you is that the contrast ratio and coloring is different -- very different. The Xbox One version looks, at times, like the characters or objects have taken a hefty dose of spray-on tan, with oversaturated yellow-red tints that make colors pop in certain wavelengths, but also leaves the game looking oddly washed in places. Eurogamer checked calibration of the test equipment in multiple scenarios -- what you see here is what's showing up on the display, and all the defaults for the game were properly configured.

So, what do we know? We know the Xbox One variant is running at 1280x720, while the PS4 pushes 1600x900. We know that the Xbox One version, on occasion, goes for tamped-down effects in comparison to the PS4, as is visible here, in this helicopter explosion.

 See the greater volume of shrapnel being flung out? That's the PS4's increased graphics fidelity at work. But we also can see that Microsoft's aggressive post-processing produces some rather odd, even contradictory results when it comes to evaluating which console delivers the most detail. For example:

The Xbox One version of the character looks better here, with sharper textures and more visible detail. The same elements, on the PS4, are rather washed out and faded. Advantage, Xbox. But then we jump to a scene slightly farther down the line...


Multiple interesting things to notice here. First, the rock looks better on the Xbox One, but the camo pattern on the arms is much better on the PS4. The PS4 is using ambient occlusion for shadowing (you can see the faint shadow under the left arm), while the Xbox ONe isn't. On the other hand, the use of ambient occlusion leaves the right arm looking rather odd, with a light outline. The Xbox One doesn't have that problem. If you look at the upper edge of the rock, in between the two hands, you can see noticeably more aliasing (jagged lines) on the Xbox One than on the PS4. That's a resolution issue, or a less-than ideal post-processing filter, and it means the PS4 has the better picture.

Another interesting split-case between the two consoles. The PS4's shadowing is better and the image is less visibily aliased, but the vehicle detail levels are better on the Xbox One, no question.

And This is Why Graphics Fidelity Gets So Complicated

Ever since it came out that the PS4 had substantially more GPU horsepower than the Xbone, fans on both sides have been mud-slinging with ferocity. Yet in the end, what we see in these shots isn't an absolutely clear-cut win for one company over the other. There are places where the PS4 absolutely looks better than the Xbox One. There are places where the Xbox version is better than the PS4.

According to Eurogamer, the PS4 version does offer faster overall performance in side-by-side comparisons, and has an edge in general graphics fidelity for that reason -- it returns to 60 FPS play more quickly than the Xbox One does. But most people don't play games in side-by-side comparisons. Most people take a game home and play it on its own merits, and if it doesn't make them wince and check Google to see if there's a problem, they're not going to be unhappy with the end result.

The PS4 has an advantage here. Is it going to be big enough to tilt sales results? We'll find out shortly.
Dave_HH one year ago

Looks to me like XO's Anisotropic Filtering is better, sharper, more detailed.

RicoFrost one year ago

I agree it does look sharper, clearer and more detailed on the XO :)

I cant wait to get mine :)

DallasHoward one year ago

do these test factor in the Xbox One's fabled cloud-rendering capability? I'm dying to see if that capability is the game changer I think/hope it will be.

Joel H one year ago


To date, no game has announced support for the cloud rendering option, and MS has given no guidance on when that might happen. I would not buy an Xbox One based on this theoretical capability. I wouldn't buy a PS4 for it, either.

I never recommend people buy things based on what might happen at some point farther down the line.

RicoFrost one year ago

For the few % difference in performance you would not buy the console solely based on performance, its not every a real factor its that small. I ended up going with the xbox because of its interface and what it can do. For me 2-5fps difference on a console doesn't make a difference.

Regardless be it PS4 or Xbox One, everyone well be happy with whatever they get. They are both marked improvements from the previous consoles.

JesseLiss one year ago

Wow, they both look awful.

ajm531 one year ago

are you a pc elitist?(also check battelfield friends on youtube for hilarious reference)

RicoFrost one year ago

I played it this morning on PC. Runs so much better then beta did. Looks awesome too :)

JacobTompkins1 one year ago

man just going by the eye test, it looks to me like they turned the brightness up on the monitor playing ps4 and turned the brightness down on the xbox one and the reason I say this is; you see more details on items on xbox in well lighted areas but with the ps4 you see more detail in darker areas of the game for instance, when he's handed the explosive it's all dark and no detail on xbox and on ps4 you can see the buttons and various things on the explosive. I'm doubtful that either console will look like these screenshots when you get the game and make your own monitor adjustments. But if this test is real i'm glad I preordered ps4 because with the ability to see better in darker areas will make it harder for people to hide in the shadows while playing multi-player online.

ThorJohansen one year ago

The "details" or "textures" on the Xbox One are not better. They are simply artificially enhanced. Sometimes that works well, other times it backfires. I would rather have the unadulterated image of the PS4. The Xbone applies artificial sharpening which is why you think you can see more "detail". All of the detail on the PS4 is there, it simply isn't being put through a sharpening, saturation and contrast filter that the Xbone applies to every game that I've seen so far. You could make the textures look "better" on a PS4 if you simply up the sharpness/color/contrast on your TV. I own both consoles but I still prefer the PC option when available.

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