The Xbox One has had a number of major issues in its short life, and it seems like the problems just keep rolling in. Forum denizens over at NeoGAF recently pointed out that the post-processing being performed on some Xbox One titles, to upscale 720p to 1080p, is causing some serious visual artifacting. While this certainly sounds bad, there is some good news: Microsoft could theoretically fix this ugly problem with a patch.
A NeoGAF member by the name of “Gizmowned” posted a series of comparison shots of the Xbox One Launch title Killer Instinct. Supposedly, one set of screenshots was taken normally from in-game footage, and the other set of screenshots was taken with a post-processing filter turned off. While the unfiltered screenshots certain contain many more “jaggies,” the dynamic range is shockingly better. Unfortunately, that means that gamers are being shown video that lacks a substantial amount of the game’s visual information.
While these details aren’t officially confirmed by Redmond, it seems that pressing the guide button turns off the post-processing effects for a few frames as the Xbox One transitions to the home screen. Similarly, some forum members are reporting that configuring the Xbox One to output at 720p has essentially the same effect – the built-in upscaler isn’t being used to output a 1080p signal.
Reports are coming in that Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome aren’t affected by these “crushed blacks” for two different reasons. Forza is being rendered at 1080p, so obviously there is no need to upscale the video. No upscaling, no crushing. However, Ryse is being natively rendered at 900p, so why aren’t Xbox One owners seeing these results on that title? Apparently, the development team actually implemented custom upscaling, so it bypasses the Xbox One’s unpleasant filters. Battlefield 4 has also seen a patch that reportedly improves the dynamic range on Microsoft’s console, so hope remains.
This isn’t an indictment of the entire platform, mind you. Since developers are already working around this issue, it seems possible that Microsoft will be able to fix the upscaling filters across the board with a software patch. While the current filters are far from optimal, it’s a safe bet that this is little more than a speed bump for the Xbox One. If Microsoft can get a patch out the door in a reasonable timeframe, most of us won’t even remember this problem at this time next year.
For more on the new Xbox, check out our speed showdown between the PS4 and Xbox One, and our piece on the reasons why Microsoft's console triumphs over Sony's PlayStation 4.