Confirmed: Tomb Raider more definitive on PS4

4 min read

Xbox One Frame Per Second

We’ve been waiting patiently for Digital Foundry’s performance analysis of the new Definitive Edition of Tomb Raider for the new consoles ever since rumour and speculation said that the game would perform significantly worse on Microsoft’s new console. The results are in, confirming our fears; the Xbox One, as it stands right now, is under-performing.

According to Digital Foundry, the new, 1080p version of last year’s hit game, with fancy new special effect and rezzed up textures is indeed running at 30fps for the most part. According to their analysis though, it drops to as low as 18 frames per second in gameplay. the original reported figure was 24fps, but somebody noticed during one of the videos that it does indeed drop to 18.  That 18 isn’t really indicative of actual performance, and the average frame rate is quite a bit higher.

That doesn’t mean that it’s all sunshine for the PlayStation 4  either though; though it does hit 60fps pretty regularly, it also dips pretty low, hitting 33 fps at its lowest. Still, even at its lowest the PS4 has a performance margin of 88% over its rival.

Here are the average frame rates in gameplay and in cut-scenes.


Both versions seemed to be frame-locked, with the Xbox One capped at 30, and the PS4 capped at 60. Reports from those who’ve played it, say the PS4 version does dip, but remains smooth for the most part. It’s worth mentioning that each version was handled by a different studio.Port factory Nixxes, who did the PC version of the original game handled PC duties, while Sleeping Dogs studio United Games Front handled the Xbox One. So is it possible that the differences are purely down to developer experience, or difficulty in porting?

Well, no. Here’s what Eurogamer says:

“The overall feeling we get from the game is that two different developers handed in two different performance levels, and decisions were made on how best to work with the results. With the PlayStation 4 averaging at 50fps and often hitting 60fps, frame-rate was left unlocked, producing the markedly higher results you see in the tables above.

For Xbox One, we can only speculate, but we suspect that a lower overall performance resulted in even more noticeable judder were the game to remain unlocked – which would look really unattractive compared to the capped 30fps frame-rate we see in the final game.

What’s curious from our perspective is that United Front Games on Xbox One would have benefited from a reasonably straightforward porting process from the original PC DirectX 11 code since both platforms use the same API, while Nixxes would have needed to translate the original PC version across to the PS4’s LibGNM API – not exactly a walk in the park …”

Another development source we reached out to suggests that the DX11 ‘driver’ for the Xbox One still requires a lot of work.

I’m actually genuinely impressed that the PS4 can handle the game, which is essentially the PC version on ultra, with TressFX (though a different implementation of the tech) at pretty good frame rates, regularly hitting 60fops. This early in the generation, it bodes for well for future titles, which will only get better as developers get to grips with the PS4’s LibGNM API.

As far as the Xbox One’s poor performance goes, well that just kinda sucks. It’s not unexpected though, if you’ve been paying attention to the underlying hardware. They’re essentially the same architecture, only one is of lower specification than the other. This sort of gulf was inevitable from the onset, and I believe it’s only going to get worse as the Xbox One’s weaker GPU struggles to keep up with the more forward-thinking implementation in the PS4.

But it’s all about experiences, and the experiences are the same, right? Right?


Last Updated: January 28, 2014

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