Can you tell console from PC just by looking?

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We’re pretty much all on the same page when it comes to video game graphics. There’s no point in even trying to deny the fact that suitably powerful PCs are capable of better graphics, with smoother framerates than the latest consoles. The question is, how much does it really matter? Gamespot sought to find out – and had people trying to discern the differences.

In an interesting test on the subject for Gamespot’s Reality Check video series, they set up stations with an Xbox One, a PS4 and a gaming PC, and asked folk, including some of the staff – so people who know and understand video games – to have a gander and see if they could tell which was which, just by looking at and playing them for a bit. Button prompts were covered using the highest technology available (duct tape) and each of the systems ran the same games; Far Cry 4, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Assassin’s Creed Unity.

You may actually be surprised by the results.

As a point of interest, you can actually take part in the challenge too. At the end of the video, there are clips from Far Cry 4, and it’s your job to guess which is which. Before you get moaning about the loss in quality from a compressed YouTube clip, you can also download the clips in full resolution here. In two week’s Gamespot will reveal which one was which. In the mean time, you can vote on them here.

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I think the most interesting thing about it all is that in the end, it seems to not really matter too much, if the game runs, and runs well enough, then that’s all that matters. The whole resolution nonsense and console fanboy wars are silly and meaningless – though they can indeed be quite entertaining. Of course, there are ways to make it obvious which one is the PC – by going beyond the standard resolutions, using adaptive Vsync and enabling ambient occlusion – but in like-for-like situations, just about anybody would be hard pressed to tell the differences, and for the most part, even care.

Last Updated: February 23, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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