Grand Theft Auto IV: PS3 vs. Xbox 360

3 min read


Well this is the one that I have been waiting for, the Eurogamer face off between PS3 and Xbox 360 for Grand Theft Auto IV.

The fact that it has been released on a Friday is a bit disappointing because some of you may feel like this is purposeful flamebait… it is not. 

So how has GTA IV done?

GTA has always been one of the main PlayStation ‘brands’ and is a mainstay of the industry, when it was announced that GTA IV will be arriving on the Xbox 360 a lot of Sony fans were in an uproar, however they calmed down quick enough as they were going to have the better version.

Then it came to light that the 360 was the lead platform which made everyone a bit nervous however Rockstar came out just before release and said they preferred the look of the PS3 version. Someone also mentioned that the 360 was a problem as it had no HDD for the mandatory install which would affect it quite badly.

Hello Ladies

GTA IV has been analysed by every Joe Soap on the planet now and everyone has their own opinion, however I don’t think anyone has gone to the incredible depths of analysis like Eurogamer, if your interested in how they did it then click the link and take a look. Please no one call bias before reading the technical details.

So now that you have some brief history lets see what happened.

Loading times are marginally improved on the PS3 thanks to the mandatory 3.3 gig installation. The installation has also improved the texture streaming on the PS3 version but in their own words this is barely perceptible. However what is cute is that the TV shows inside GTA are of a much better resolution on the PS3 which again is presumed to be because of the installation and added space of Blu-Ray.

On the flip side the resolution of the PS3 version is 20% less than that of the 360 version however it doesn’t knock it down in anyway and at many time the PS3 version looks as good if not better than the 360 version.

Now the big one, Draw Distance. We have been told this is where the PS3 will excel due to its Cell chip and 7 SPU’s, well the reality is that both versions have just as good a draw distance, however one thing that was noticed is that the shadows on the PS3 version are slightly better than the 360 version.

imagePop in was more pronounced on the 360 version but it had to be caused and playing the game normally meant that this hardly happened.

So the PS3 is quite comfortably winning this one at the moment even though the games are pretty much identical, so onto something that is quite important.

Frame Rate, the Xbox 360 version has a better frame rate overall, this is now an indisputable fact. However in general the frame rate on both consoles varies but hovers around the 30fps mark. However when things start to get exciting the PS3 version has a much more noticeable drop in frame rate.

So their end conclusion? While the PS3 version shaves most of the graphical tests it is only marginal and unfortunately doesn’t make up for the frame rate issues.

If the question you are asking yourself or are asked is “Which version of GTA IV is technically the better one?” then the answer is the Xbox 360 version. This is before looking at the bigger freezing problem on the PS3 and the better online service in Xbox Live as well, not to mention those horribly addictive achievements.

I was trying to keep a counter of the results but it became to complicated with people accusing me of missing out certain reviews. As always I personally think is a completely unbiased website with the best comparisons around.

Grand Theft Auto IV: PS3 vs. Xbox 360

Last Updated: May 9, 2008

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • ToonyZA

    Are u sure this is not flamebait???? 😈

  • j4nrr1k

    Very good read. These guys are always very thorough.

    It is a great game, regardless of the platform you enjoy it on.

    Interesting that the PS3 version needs a install, even though the blu ray drive has way more space on it than a dual layer dvd.

    Wonder why that is? Read speed? Memory?

  • darthdad

    πŸ˜† completely unbiased.
    The PS3 version is equal to or better in 90% of the comparisons, and yet they prefer the Xbox version? πŸ˜•
    And the Xbox was lead platform. πŸ˜†

  • LazySAGamer

    as far as I know it’s due to the slow read speed of the Blu-ray drive couple with the lack of RAM. But I could be completely off the mark

  • LazySAGamer

    As they said and I restated, the PS3 marginally wins on most of it but lags behind quite badly on the framerate. Which makes the game less playable on the PS3. Which is why they chose the 360 as the winner.

  • Jip also notice that….
    one + the xbox has ( for now) is DLC

    Evilredzombie’s last blog post..Racer Driver: GRID demo up on Live and PSN

  • ToonyZA

    I dont trust these Eurogamer face offs. One of the games they mentioned was that PES 2008 is exactly the same on both platforms. I own a PS3 but the 360 is clearly superior.

    I feel that they not really consistant

  • SlippyMadFrog

    I got the game yesterday, its amazing. In my oppinion, cases like this where the games are so close that people have to disect it carefully to notice differences is not worth calling one better than the other. I think we all can just be happy with what Rockstar done with GTAIV.

  • JP

    You are completely right. The read is just too slow.

  • Abe

    So the ps3 wins on most counts, then marginally loses on frame rate (Something many review call to be the other way round) and therefore loses the whole thing? Reminds me of that comparrison from a while back (DMC4, Burnout, COD4 etc)

  • LazySAGamer

    Abe go check the source article on how they measured the frame rate. If you can find anything technically wrong with it then we can look at the other reports but in all honesty I think they are pretty accurate here.

  • Basically both sides win. The only loser is Blu-Ray/HD movies πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

    Technically the 360 is superior – Higher res, real AA, Faster frame rate – it’s outperforming the PS3 version, BUT, the short cuts to compensate on the PS3 actually give it a slightly better appearance. So 360 fanboys win and PS3 everyday players win.

    As I said in my rant in the MGS 576p thread, the real loser is Blu-RAy and HD in general. If a nicely upscaled game can be better on the eye than the crisp HD version, why the hell would we care in a movie? (Sports and Games are different, but that’s for another day)

  • baba

    I don’t think it is the read speed, it is the access speed, or latency if you will. It takes the laser longer to find tracks on BR than DVD.

  • bhw

    Best way to avoid graphical glitches and framerate issues is to play the game on a SD TV. Whenever I drag my Xbox to my mates place to play on his big assed Sony I notice pop-in and tearing that I am blissfully unaware of when I play at home and my framerate is silky smooth at 30fps +

    I think in many cases developers are spending too much time worrying about the eye candy aspects often at the expense of gameplay. When playing games on the PC I gladly turn down the gfx and res settings to ensure a smoother gameplay experience.

  • baba

    I wouldn’t say 3-4 fps ‘lags behind quite badly’ I bet you wouldn’t even notice it with the bare eye.

  • kabraal

    “As I said in my rant in the MGS 576p thread, the real loser is Blu-RAy and HD in general. If a nicely upscaled game can be better on the eye than the crisp HD version, why the hell would we care in a movie? (Sports and Games are different, but thatÒ€ℒs for another day)”

    You have absolutely not bothered the read my countless relies to your rant have you πŸ˜‰

  • I debated commenting here because it always gets ugly. But f*ck it, it’s Friday. πŸ™‚

    Firstly, I’ve never put much stock in the Eurogamer comparisons. I would have predicted a resounding Xbox win from these guys before GTA was even released, so I am surprised that it didn’t exactly go that way.

    After reading this comparison, for once, I am content that they did a fair and proper job of it. I’ve played both versions of the game myself on the same TV, and I have to agree with most of the observations they made, save for the framerate issue. They felt very much the same to me, but if I had to say which I thought felt faster, I would have said PS3. But as Lazy says, they have used a legitimate test to compare the FPS on each version so I won’t argue it.

    I will argue with Lazy’s comment though about which is technically better, and quote Eurogamer. “Technically speaking, Xbox 360 really should be winning this contest hands-down, but bizarrely, it doesn’t. ”

    From my own personal experience, I’m gonna come right out and say it… The PS3 version looks better than the Xbox version. However, I will give something back to the Xbox guys too… Regardless of which *looks* better, I cannot deny that on the surface, it is pretty obvious that Rockstar had to make some concessions on the PS3 version to get the same performance out of the console. Why can’t we get 720p on the PS3 version? Perhaps the Xbox is just more powerful than the PS3… There, I said it, and that’s something coming from someone you’ve all labelled as a fanboy in the past.

  • Agreed. If Rockstar would’ve stopped Niko from calming walking of a rooftop to his death during the crux of a mission, when all I was trying to do was turn around, my opinion of GTA4 would be a lot higher.

  • LazySAGamer

    ” Perhaps the Xbox is just more powerful than the PS3″

    Could you imagine the Lazygamer effergies that would be burning if I had said something like that πŸ˜›

    Honestly I don’t think that’s the problem though, my personal feeling is that since the architecture is so different and the 360 is apparently easier to develop on the PS3 will always be playing catch up… Until it becomes the lead platform

  • Perhaps you are right, and that’s what I’d LIKE to think, being a PS3 owner. But I’ve never bought into the whole “power of the cell processor” cr4p anyway. If developers consistently get it wrong, then it’s tantamount to the same thing.

    I guess what we need is more games with the PS3 as the lead platform. I still often wonder what Uncharted would look like on the 360.

  • LazySAGamer

    In their own words

    “The bottom line is that no matter what material I put through the detector, 360 came ahead in all (framerate) tests, sometimes dramatically so.”

  • SlippyMadFrog

    You bring up a good point. I wonder if the framerate will be smoother if I set my xbox settings to SD? I’m going to try it tonight.

  • bhw

    As far as 3rd party support goes it makes commercial sense to lead on Xbox until the install base catches up which realistically is 12-18 mths away. Maybe Sony should release GT5 on X360 to silence the critics once and for all πŸ˜€

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