- Recent AAA games have consecutively failed to meet the performance benchmark on Xbox Series X. This has been the catalyst of debate regarding whether developers are ignoring Xbox ports.
- In terms of hardware, Xbox Series X should have no issues meeting performance requirements. The existence of a lower-end model complicates the situation.
- The same issue plagues PC ports due to the extreme variety of hardware specifications. Hardware strength and diversity lend this debate a degree of credibility.
Recent high-profile game releases have raised some valid concerns regarding developers possibly ignoring Xbox ports in favor of PlayStation. In light of how the games perform on the powerful hardware of Xbox Series X, players are beginning to doubt whether developers are giving these video game ports the time of day.
Developers are possibly not giving the Xbox versions of their games the same amount of time as the PlayStation versions.
— PeterOvo (808) (@PeterOvo5) February 26, 2023
This has sparked a debate between players based on Digital Foundry’s performance analysis videos. Most of 2023’s highly anticipated games, like Wild Hearts, Hogwarts Legacy, and Atomic Heart, failed to meet the benchmark on Xbox Series X.
Furthermore, the recent controversy surrounding Baldur’s Gate 3 only arriving on PlayStation 5 and PC at launch added more fuel to the fire. Posting in the subreddit, the developers stated that they ran into some issues with split-screen co-op on the Xbox platform.
Hardware Variety Requires Optimization Effort
It’s worth noting that Xbox Series X is relatively superior to the PlayStation 5 in terms of hardware. While this shouldn’t pose a problem for game development, Xbox Series S makes the situation a bit complex. The reason is that developers need to ensure that their game runs properly on the lowest common denominator.
In comparison, Sony‘s PlayStation 5 doesn’t have this factor to be concerned about due to the lack of multiple hardware specifications. Moreover, this ties into PC ports being subpar as well. The majority of the recent video game ports on PC are plagued with severe performance issues.
This is simply due to the amount of time it requires to optimize the games for a variety of different hardware. While Xbox only has two models, the PC hardware range is vast, with tons of unique configurations. Ensuring that the game runs well on every single setup is technically a huge task.
Players are speculating that Xbox Game Pass could have also contributed to this situation. Since developers are bringing their latest releases to the subscription service on day one, the financial incentive is lower. This leads to their efforts being driven away from the platform.
Considering the state of video game ports on PC and the size of that market, that theory loses its credence. Hardware limitation might be the only valid argument for this speculative debate. In the past, developers have claimed that the entry-level Xbox Series S is holding back game development.
Games are announced far too early, and it take years to see their launch. Even with so much time in development, they often fail to meet certain standards. CDPR‘s Cyberpunk 2077 is a perfect example of such a catastrophe though it was a far deeper issue than just optimization.
It’s evident from the state of modern releases that a “ship now, fix later” mentality is in place. Even so, console versions outperform their PC counterparts to a degree. With years of development combined with resources, technology, and even delays, these games still fail to achieve respectable performance standards.
And that’s not where it ends, as there is a clear disparity in the optimization of the console versions. Based on Digital Foundry’s analysis of Atomic Heart, the game’s performance on Xbox consoles was unimpressive compared to the PlayStation 5.
Atomic Heart Digital Foundry analysis summary:
-PlayStation 5 is stable & has good FPS.
-Xbox Series X|S drops frames.
-Xbox version unoptimised & is even missing video file (as shown below), meaning the Xbox version is incomplete.
Took Xbox money & polished the PS5 version pic.twitter.com/i3Y8MCCeU7
— PeterOvo (808) (@PeterOvo5) February 24, 2023
Not only that, Wild Hearts was loaded to the brim with performance issues on all platforms. While some aspects were polished on the PS5, some didn’t meet standards on the Xbox platforms. Series S was dealt the worst hand with several downgrades that just sucked the life out of the experience.
With the price hikes for consoles, paid subscriptions to play online, the $70 price tag, and other things, the fact that console gaming fails to meet proclaimed standards is a massive letdown.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to putting in the effort to meet the benchmark of performance. With the resources and technology available today, bad ports should mostly cease to exist. However, whether this comes to fruition is anybody’s guess.
What are your thoughts on the debate surrounding the performance of games on the Xbox systems? Do let us know your opinions in the comments below.
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