GR Showdown: PS4 vs. Xbox One - Do Graphics Even Matter?
Posted on Friday, July 5 @ 15:00:00 Eastern by GR_Staff
GR Showdown pits the Game Revolution staff against each other in a passionate debate on a particular hot-button gaming topic. Our self-imposed rules? There is no middle ground—all must take a side. All debates will have an equal number of representative on both sides: either 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 . And all our arguments must be made in 350 words or fewer; 500 or fewer, if it's 1-on-1. Which side are YOU on?
This Week's Topic: PS4 vs. Xbox One - Do Graphics Even Matter?
Nick Tan - Yes: My first inclination is to be the rebel and say that all of the flame-bait articles comparing PS4 and Xbox One screenshots (you know, they're going to get over 1000 degrees on N4G, right?) are meaningless. Why bother with graphics when so many other things like DRM matter more to consumers. But that's the rub: They apparently do matter. Better to accept it and understand the reasons why.
Daniel Bischoff - NO: This is an argument for the ages, but time will prove me and all the other gamers that get past polygon counts and enjoy great gameplay no matter how they look the victors. Yes, I love high frame-rates, beautifully rendered models, and gorgeous graphical effects like the fluttering disintegration of an enemy blasted with Halo 4's Promethean Scattershot, but in the end it adds little to the gameplay.
Is Ocarina of Time a lesser achievement in game design because it's dated? Do new machines on the market deflate the mind-bending and engrossing narrative of Chrono Trigger? Are masterfully written text-based adventure games less-than because you have to have reading comprehension to play? It's not that saying graphics matter really deflates older, less advanced experiences like these, but it certainly kicks a little sand in their faces.
It'd be absurd to make the argument that Citizen's Kane's lack of computer-generated imagery immediately negates its artistic and emotional merit, and the same is true of games. As defensive as gamers get in the face of arguments against games-as-art, I think those same individuals grossly undervalue the past in their ever forward march towards ballooning poly-counts and greater development costs.
Spending so much money on graphics capabilities marginalizes the creativity that truly inspired mechanics necessitate. New methods of play and new game ideas require vast amounts of experimentation and admittedly, plenty of room for failure. As hated as the app market seems in core-gaming culture, I'm happy it's here.
iOS and Android titles allow the industry's creative muscle room and freedom to flex. Marching further and further along the path of photorealism isn't just making AAA-development difficult and costly, it's negating the opportunities publishers have to back several different games, as opposed to just one blockbuster for the Fall.