Microsoft’s new Xbox One console has garnered quite a bit of coverage, even as Sony’s PS4 has reportedly outsold the system by upwards of 66%. One of the biggest stories has been the Xbox One displaying video at 720p natively rather than 1080p, as the PS4 does. Both formats are technically high definition, but 1080p is sharper and is seen by millions as the true HD standard bearer. Microsoft may be taking some dramatic steps, and soon, to make Xbox One 1080p native playback a reality, if recent game announcements are any indication.
Out of the box, the Xbox One is capable of displaying video and entertainment in 4K resolution, a format often called “Ultra HD.” The PS4 is not, although Sony has stated it is continuing to investigate an update to enable that. The Xbox One’s 4K capability is one reason the console’s current 720p native resolution was so puzzling. But an Xbox One 1080p video update may be coming soon. And by “soon,” we mean within the next two weeks.
Two game announcements within the past week indicate that developers, including Microsoft’s own studios, are preparing Xbox One games that display in native 1080p. One such game is Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, which is coming in January to both the PS4 and Xbox One. According to the developer, Crystal Dynamics, both versions of the game will run in native 1080p. That game was just announced this week, so the Xbox One 1080p statement could in no way be a typo.
The other recent Xbox One game announcement is Halo: Spartan Assault, a game that originally debuted on Windows Phone but is getting an Xbox One reboot on Christmas Eve. Halo: Spartan Assault for Xbox One will run natively at 1080p and at a reported 60 frames per second. Although this news is several days older than the Tomb Raider bit, the info comes directly from Microsoft, which itself is responsible for publishing the game.
Gamers have of course been excited to hear of the new titles, but the speculation has quickly gone to a video update Microsoft must be engaged in to make such Xbox One 1080p native display a reality. Doing so would dispel one of the new console’s negative points in the PS4 vs. Xbox One debate. More important, however, is that the video update could push Sony to implement a PS4 4K video playback update sooner than it otherwise might have liked.
With the 1080p issue no longer there, Microsoft would immediately find itself in the driver’s seat with regard to native video playback. Rather than be simply even with Sony’s system, the Xbox One would gain a rare advantage over the PS4. What do you think? Would an Xbox One 1080p native video update quiet the console’s critics? Or is such a change, which seems to be imminent based on these new high-profile game announcements, be too little too late? Sound off in the comments below.