GTA IV runs at lower resolution on PS3, but is this a bad thing?

1 min read


After the world got it’s hands on GTA and people were able to tinker around with the game, it has come out that the PS3 version is in fact running at 640p as opposed to the Xbox 360’s 720p.

Now you would think that the running at a lower resolution would make the game look worse than its 720p counterpart, but what’s interesting is that it is being reported that the PS3 version is the better looking game. So what does this all mean?

In my opinion, this is great news. If developers are able to make games running at lower resolutions look as good if not better than a 720p game with the use of post processing effects, it means that we can get better looking smoother running games on our consoles.

When San Andreas came out for PC a few years back, a few of us didn’t have rigs that could run the game on it’s highest settings. At the end of the day we found that running the game at 640×480 with all the effects and anti-aliasing turned on both looked better and ran smoother than running the game at 1024×768 with none of the effects.

I’m sure that many of you out there will have no issues with games running at a lower resolution if, at the end of the day, it means the game will look and play even better. This obviously isn’t the first case that there has been of a game running at a sub-720p resolution (Halo 3, PGR3, Dark Sector for PS3), but the fact that it looked better than it’s 720p counterpart shows that this could be the way to go for developers to go when trying to push the boundaries of the graphics on next-gen gaming consoles.

sources: Beyond3D forum,

Last Updated: May 2, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since ’08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

  • Abe

    I was wondering why this story hadnt been reported on yet and then I realised it wasnt friday yet 🙄
    What I dont get is, how the PS3 version reportedly has less jaggies but is at a lower res. But either way I think all the fuzz about “trueHD” has been blown out the water!!

  • LazySAGamer

    It was actually posted for approval yesterday but I am away enjoying a break from life and only got to it today.

    No Flamebait on public holidays 🙂

  • SlippyMadFrog

    I wish all games have a lower res but higher quality effects like COD4. There was actually an article some time ago how higher resolutions are actually hurting next-gen performance. For the amount of processing power it takes to render an image at 1080p, it is actually better to render it at lower resolutions but with better effects resulting in more impressive visuals. Its very good read, if I can find it i’ll post the link

  • Syph1n

    OMG, this is such a fanboy site!! ps3 sucks!! xbox 360 rules!! hehe..just kidding. there seems to be alot of controversy over which one looks better. maybe i need my eyes tested but from everything i’ve seen i cant tell a difference. i think it comes down to what the “reviewer” wants to see.

  • you can force it up to 1080p if you wish on the ps3

    evilredzombie’s last blog post..SA Playstation community

  • Syph1n

    correct me if im wrong here but forcing a 620 video to 1080 is basically the same as forcing a 640*480 video to play fullscreen on a 1280 * 1280 screen. doesnt improve quality. upping the scale wont improve the graphics. just make you feel better

  • it upscales it

    evilredzombie’s last blog post..SA Playstation community

  • Syph1n

    ok but what does upscaling actually do?

  • Syph1n

    dont get me wrong. im not trying to be funny. but what is upscaling? a game has its graphics and thats it. how can a machine make it better than it were programmed to be?

  • ” converting video signals between one arbitrary resolution/aspect-ratio and another resolution/aspect-ratio. In their most common application they are “upscaling” or “upconverting”, taking a low resolution (Standard Definition) video and increasing the resolution to a high resolution (High Definition) video. This does not necessarily mean that the picture becomes clearer/more detailed – as scalers in their simplest form only increase the sample points for the original signal resulting in more data points for the original given information. Better scaling devices include other signal conditioning to maintain the original signal details when increasing the resolution. This also does not mean that placing a video scaler before a limited-capability display device will remove the limitations of that display device (for instance, you can’t make a 720p display take a 1080p signal and expect to see all 1920×1080 pixels on the 1280×720 display surface). Confusion is caused within the general public, due to how little is understood about video scalers and where they are used. Manufacturers of digital displays (DLP, LCD, LCOS or “SXRD”, Plasma) don’t tell customers that there is a simple video scaler built into their display which accepts a video signal and converts it to what the display is expecting.
    ” wikipedia

    evilredzombie’s last blog post..SA Playstation community

  • Milesh Bhana

    at the end of the day you’re sacrificing resolution so that more processing power is being used for effects and anti aliasing.

    The promise of native 1080p is a silly one because sure you can do it, but a competing game @ 720p is going to look better because our current generation of hardware is not good enough to get the detail at that res.

    I’m very curious to see the final version of GT5 as they are attempting 1080p native. Let’s see how it stacks up to it’s competitors when it comes out.

    Halo3, COD4 and many others all use lower that 720p to get better image quality.

    As for GTA4, what surprises me is why they didn’t drop the res for the 360 too. Surely they’d have noticed that AA wasn’t as good and the popping during testing.

  • scotty777

    honestly, I saw this coming with the ps3, I mean the xbox’s hardware is able to manage the higher res but the ps3 won’t be able to. The reason being that the ps3 first off doesn;t have the bandwidth and it’s just doesn’t have the GPU power to process higher screen sizes. BUT don’t get me wrong, the ps3 does have the balls to be able to handle fancy texture/vertex and such processing, and with the cell, you can expect it to have nice physics and such. Thus this might be the way to do games and we might fine the ps3 having less res but better AA, and nicer general graphics and what not. but with the xbox having the better res, these consoles might be the perfect match.

    Another factor is that you don’t know the difference between a 1080P and 720p because most of us don’t know a 50″+ screen which simply means that the general user will sit there and never notice the difference if the res isn’t as high as 1080p.

  • Hmm, I think all it boils down to: don’t use Rockstar games for technical comparisons 😉 With the various issues they’ve been having on all their games, they’re not a tech focused company.

    doobiwan’s last blog post..The Games that made the consoles

  • Milesh Bhana

    GTAIV is a pretty impressive technical achievement. The RAGE engine is pretty [email protected] impressive. I don’t know why everyone has to mark Rockstar down on the technical side.

  • Fox1

    GTA 4 is not the prettiest of games on either console although it may run better on one. That’s why, and Joysitq have set up a poll to find out just how buggy your version of the game is:

  • The only bug I have had is the freezing when trying to play online.. however that is on 360 and on PS3

    evilredzombie’s last blog post..Connecting your Playstation 3 to PSN

  • @fox, can you drop me a mail [email protected]
    like to haev a chat about xbox

    Evilredzombie’s last blog post..Connecting your Playstation 3 to PSN

  • The res is lower on the PS3 but it has more Anti-Aliasing and anistrophic filtering.

    Giving it a smoother look with less jaggies.

    Jinja’s last blog post..How Not To Pick Up Women

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