The Division on Xbox One has a dynamically scaling resolution

3 min read


The Division’s closed beta ended yesterday, much to the disappointment of those who grinded (ground?) for hours in the Dark Zone for premium loot – faced with the prospect of treachery at every step. Don’t worry though! There’s likely another, more inclusive beta later this month – with the game hitting shelves early next month.

It looks pretty damned good no matter the system it’s running on – with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One running at 1080p. Only it seems that, on the Xbox One at least, it’s not always running at 1080p.

According to Digital Foundry, who’ve taken a deeper dive, the game appears to use a dynamic resolution, scaling back the number of peas whenever performance might otherwise be affected. IT does this to do its best to stick to the 30fps target, which is mostly does.

“… Xbox One utilises a dynamic resolution scaler in order to sustain its target frame-rate, much like Halo 5 and Wolfenstein: The New Order. Essentially, this means that the game adjusts its resolution on the fly, dependent on GPU load in any given scene.

Wherever you see heavy volumetric effects and lots of geometry on-screen, there’s a strong possibility that The Division’s frame buffer is switching to a lower pixel count on Xbox One. It’s a clever trick – and the exact moment of the switch can be hard to catch by eye. In practise, it does start to blur spots in the image in direct comparison to PS4 and PC, particularly across long distances.”

The lowest resolution they’ve recorded is 1728×972, which is 81% of full HD – so really nothing to b concerned about. I can’t say I noticed the resolution shifting on the fly when I played the beta. At worst, I noticed a few very minor frame drops and the very occasional bit of screen tearing.

According to Digital Foundry, the same trick might be in play on the PS4, but they’ve not noticed it. They do, however, wish the PC utilised the tech as well – because even with a suitably high end system, the frame rate is all over the place. Maintaining a smooth fps by using dynamic resolution is a clever way around technological limits.

“As for PS4, it may be the case this scaling method is implemented on Sony’s machine too. However, so far our tests reveal no performance drops whatsoever from the full 1920×1080 (or 30fps), and we’ll have to judge this point on the final release. Meanwhile we’d love to see this technology deployed on PC in some fashion, where our GTX 970 and R9 390 tests show gameplay frame-rates can vary dramatically. A dynamic resolution could be a good back-up solution for those struggling to get by on their current GPUs on high settings – and also for PS4, should there be any issues in maintaining 30fps later on”

It bears repeating though that the game s in beta – and it still likely to be subject to some last-minute optimisation before it hits shelves in March.

Last Updated: February 3, 2016

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