The PS5 is sure to sell well, with its premium design and powerful SSD (read about how it takes on the new Spiderman game here). The console, meant to function as a big upgrade from the PS4, packs powerful hardware. The custom AMD CPU and GPU means that the console can handle the latest AAA titles, even at 4K or 8K. Not only that but also at high FPS, at either 60 FPS or 120 FPS.
However, unlike its direct competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, the console seems locked at just two distinct resolutions. In a recent IGN Italy interview, Sony confirmed that the only resolution options were either native 4K or downscaled 1080p. And that sounds like it rightfully should raise alarms in most gamers’ heads.
Both the Series X and PS5 have confirmed AAA titles running at 4K, but the lower resolution defaults differ greatly
The way the actual hardware of the PS5 ends used depends on the developers. At the end of the day, only they decide if their title runs at a comfy 1080p 60 FPS, 4K 30FPS, or either or both. Some games, like Rocket League and Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, will run at 4K 120 FPS. Others, like Ubisoft’s upcoming AAA game, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, will run at a mere 4K 30 FPS.
The new announcement of just two resolutions, and those so drastically far apart, is disappointing. 1080p has long been the industry standard even during the prime of the PS4 days. Achieving 1080p 60 FPS is something PC’s could easily do 10 years ago, and the only console to struggle with reaching that exact mark was the Xbox One.
The competing Xbox Series X does what Sony should when it comes to down-sampling games to 1440p
The rival console, unlike the PS5, has outputs at both 4K and 1440p. What that means is that native 4K games, when forced to reduce resolution (perhaps to double the framerate), adapt by down-sampling. Hence, the native 4K game is compressed down to 1440p. This usually looks fine if its directly outputted at that resolution, as the Series X does. However, the PS5 will instead skip this and directly output at at a measly 1080p.
A down-sampled image, in general, looks noticeably worse than a native image. That is precisely why fans, just days away from the PS5, now feel cheated. After all, not only is the lower-resolution option a lower value than the competing 1440p, but it’s also not even native. Think of a standard 1080p image, but imagine the pixels muddier and degraded. That is what a premium, $500 console, considers a worthwhile gaming experience.
Sony probably made the choice of keeping traditional TV display defaults in mind, but the move is still unwelcome
Most televisions, that are above the 720p HD minimum, come in just a few configurations. There’s the 1080p, the 2160p (4K) and the 4320p (8K) defaults. Anything in between, like 1440p, is left to PC monitors. However, by implementing a clever 1440p output on both the Xbox Series X and the Series S (that too the maximum resolution though, as 4K only is upscaled), Microsoft found a way to run games at 1440p on a standard monitor. Of course, a typical TV would need a 120 Hz refresh rate though, which is uncommon, to display 120 FPS of either next-gen console.
Furthermore, it’s only fair to mention that Sony isn’t the only one to drop the ball so close to a major release either. Just a few days before the Xbox launch event, it was revealed the Series S only has a meager 364 GB of storage available out of the 512 GB SSD. So, when it comes to these next-gen consoles, a cost-benefit analysis may become necessary before purchase.