Thursday, September 27, 2007

Xbox 360 vs PlayStation 3

Earlier this year, Eurogamer's editor, Kristan Reed, gave me an interesting assignment - to start a rolling series of features on the site that would highlight the similarities and differences between the same games running on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles.
I guess I was pretty much the default choice, being the only freelance writer around with the kit required to produce the comparison shots that would accompany the feature, so I gave it my best shot. Once published, I have to admit that I was as surprised by the vitriol of the 'talkback'-style comment writers as I was by the success of the feature (which got a huge amount of readers - the main reason I carried on writing them). I was also amused to see links back to the screenshots in various games forums, where 'fanboys' were picking and choosing the shots they wanted to use in order to make PS3 or Xbox 360 look 'bad' compared to the other. Unwittingly I had been drawn into the mighty next generation console war and my work was prime propaganda material.
Hardcore players have always had a close emotional bond with their gaming hardware (something I understood well and indeed shared to a point while editing print titles such as the official Sega Saturn Magazine back in days of yore) and it's pointless arguing, so I just let them get on with it, and continue to produce the pieces as I see fit. I'm far more interested in the games as opposed to arguing the toss over the technology that powers them.
Regardless I still enjoy writing the features and producing the comparison frames like the Spider-Man 3 and The Darkness shots below - a good workout for the 24-bit precision mode of Digital Foundry HD, and a harkening back to the excruciating, borderline pointless levels of effort I inflicted on myself while editing a certain magazine known as MAXIMUM.
Any way, the HDMI outputs of the PS3 and Xbox 360 Elite are used here, with both systems set to full-level RGB (0-255) as opposed to the more limited video systems RGB (16-234). There's a slight gamma difference, but that's down to the consoles in question, not DFHD.

Comparison images of Spider-Man 3 (720p) and The Darkness (1080p) running on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, losslessly derived from the HDMI ports of each console.