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Microsoft’s VP favours frame rate to resolution

Microsoft’s VP, Phil Spencer states that the Xbox Series X will not compromise framerate quality for resolution.

The upcoming Xbox Series X platform has already been confirmed to perform at resolutions up to 8K. However, it doesn’t sound like Xbox head Phil Spencer is all that focused on that if it comes at the cost of frame rate. Phil Spencer wants the Xbox Series X to feel as good as it looks. Speaking with Stevivor, the Xbox head said he’d prefer to play games that have higher frame rates over those with a larger resolution. 

What is the difference between frame rate and resolution?

To give more context to this discussion, the measurement of frame rate is in frames per second (fps). It is the frequency in which a frame of images refreshes per second. Developers tend to try and at least achieve 30 fps as a threshold. However, a lower frame rate could lead to a bigger input lag which could impact gaming, especially games that require quick reflexes. Resolution meanwhile is the size of an image. The higher the resolution, the more details an image can produce. Halo 5 is a prime example of this. Although visually stunning in 1080p and 4K, its beauty came at the cost of significant workarounds to maintain 60 FPS. Such as distant enemies having their frame rates halved and split-screen multiplayer being excluded entirely.

So what exactly does Spencer have to say about it?

Spencer claims that the beefier specs of the Xbox Series X will allow games to play as fluidly as they look. Thus allowing developers to deliver jaw-dropping experiences with less compromise than ever before on home consoles. So, even though both the Xbox Series X and the PS5 are promising 8K resolutions, Phil Spencer has a very clear preference in the battle of pixels over frame rate. “The feel of games [is] definitely something that we wanted to have more focus on, not just throwing more pixels up on the screen,” Spencer says. “We’ve never really tried to limit what developers are trying to do on our platform, whether it’s 60 frames per second on Xbox 360 or people doing 4K, 60 [frames per second] now on Xbox One X.” 

Spencer acknowledges the graphical strides that have been made in the platform’s titles since the debut of the Xbox One X but insists that next-generation games should “feel as amazing as they look,” further explaining, “We don’t have that in today’s generation, mainly because the CPU is underpowered relative to the GPU that’s in the box in order to reach a feel and frame rate and kind of consistency or variable refresh rate and other things that we want.”

So, which one is better?

Personally speaking, I think I have to agree with where Spencer is coming from. While I love it when my games look visually intense. I’d always prefer one that makes for the better gameplay experience. With consoles like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 both touting lightning-fast load times and 8K resolutions. It remains to be seen what exactly next-gen consoles will be capable of. At least when it comes to frame-rates and resolution that is. Anything can happen in the ever-changing gaming market, though. And the Xbox Series X could ultimately turn the tables on Sony come holiday 2020. 

Xbox Series X will release later this holiday season. It will launch alongside 343 Industries’ Halo Infinite, which will arrive on the Xbox One and PC.

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