4K is going to screw us all (Kind of)

Jan 14, 2020
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So I've been following the entertaining build up to the console launches, buzzwords galore!

One thing I don't like is this "4K" meme. I've noticed the fallout of this unfortunate marketing ploy in Call Of Duty: Cold War, the game literally looks like a pimped out 360 game thanks to ridiculous "4K 60FPS" targets they're setting for these poor next gen consoles. Do marketing departments not understand the sacrifice in graphical fidelity required to actually hit 4k 60fps, do they even talk to their developers before touting this epic hamstring as a "feature" for their games?

I was hoping the next generation of consoles would usher in extreme graphical fidelity, which would be passed on to PC gaming, but the more I hear this 4k 60fps meme, the more I think we're marching backwards! Why is 4k so important anyway? Does everyone have 200" TVs, am I living under a rock?
 
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Jun 12, 2020
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I know a lot of people think of console advances when 4K is mentioned, but in reality, it's something only those whom can afford the best of the big boy toys can truly enjoy. It's still more applicable to PC, but even in the Home Theater realm where it first made the most sense, it's still suffering from lack of content, especially in Television broadcasts and streaming.

In fact, since I use my display for everything, I ended up sending back the Sony E900X I bought a while back largely due to horrible picture quality with television broadcasts. I'm convinced this is not all on Sony's upconverting, but also broadcasters. One particular show, one I never watch called Lucifer, looked pristine on the 4K set, but everything else looked horrible.

Give it time, it's a standard that takes a while to adjust to. It wasn't a problem when 1080p hit because there was a mandatory roll over to digital broadcasts, most of which look fine on a 1080p display. This time it will be voluntary though, and despite ATSC 3 being far superior to ATSC 1, including being operable at half the bandwidth with MUCH better reception, COVID may very well have extended the 5 yr introductory period.

As far as consoles go though, we all know those whom manufacture them take a loss on them just to get you hooked on their exclusives, which is where they make most of their money, but expect only a handful of exclusives for the most part to really run at 4K. I really don't care about consoles though, not just because they're an inferior platform, but because they lower the bar for those of us on PC. We still get a lot of crappy ports now and then.

This isn't really even the best place to discuss consoles anyway, did you forget it's a PC Gaming forum?
 
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Zloth

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Jan 13, 2020
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Yeah, but consoles affect us (and we affect them).

I'm really not interested in 4K, either, but I am very interested in VR and AR. Those techs need to show a lot of pixels at a fast framerate, too. 4K may not blaze a trail directly to the headsets but its close enough that I'm happy to see it happen.

And yeah, visual fidelity does seem to be going backwards. There's a lot fewer games trying for photo-realism and a lot more going for that cell-shade, mobile phone look. That isn't a happy thing, IMHO.
 
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Jan 14, 2020
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And yeah, visual fidelity does seem to be going backwards. There's a lot fewer games trying for photo-realism and a lot more going for that cell-shade, mobile phone look. That isn't a happy thing, IMHO.
I think you're hitting the nail right on the head. The race to 4K isn't the issue and neither are consoles, in my opinion. AI-assisted upscaling techniques such as DLSS have proven that games don't need to hit actual 4K to look as good as (or in Death Stranding's case, better than) the real deal. There's support for that in the next-gen boxes, just as there is support for variable rate shading, which should help with hitting higher resolutions without sacrificing framerate or overall visual fidelity.

I think both the new batch of graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD as well as the next-gen consoles are all perfectly capable of running 4K games at 60+ FPS without sacrificing visual fidelity. Just look at that footage of Doom Eternal running on the RTX 3080 and tell me that looks like a pimped-out 360 game. It doesn't, it looks fantastic. The hardware is finally becoming capable, now it's up to developers to optimise their game engines and put in the work to make their games sing at 4K.

If there is a problem to begin with, it's probably the industry-wide trend towards multiplatform online games that need to be accessible to as many people as possible, through whichever device they happen to own. Fortnite is the clearest example, of course. If a developer wants that game to work on every kind of device from an iPhone to a Chromebook to a beastly gaming PC, it can't look photorealistic and support a ridiculous amount of high-end features or it simply wouldn't work on a lot of those devices. It's a testament to the flexibility of UE4 that it looks and runs as smoothly as it does on phones.

It's games like that which rake in the big cash and people are eating that stuff up. Call of Duty: Warzone. Fortnite, PUBG, Hearthstone, Dauntless, Rocket League, Realm Royale, Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege, the list goes on. Tons of games that have to sacrifice some visual fidelity just so they can run on a toaster.

I actually appreciate Microsoft's approach to next-gen gaming with their two consoles: Series X is the heavy hitter that supports full 4K at up to 120hz and the Series S is targeting 1080p up to 1440p at up to 120hz. That's great for people like (presumably) yourself, who haven't upgraded their TV to a 4K model yet. If visual fidelity is what you care about rather than raw resolution numbers, the Series S is fantastic and relatively cheap. Just think of the amount of hardware you're getting for $299. You'd need to spend at least double that to build yourself a comparable gaming PC.

Now all we need is for good 4K PC monitors to become cheap(er). If you can get a 55" 4K LG OLED that will do 120hz over HDMI 2.1 for little more than a €1000,- on sale (I bought mine for €1150,- and that was a year ago), why am I still spending between €900-€2000,- for a similarly specced PC monitor that needs display stream compression to hit those numbers? That's some old bull****.
 

Zloth

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Bah - I'm ready to switch over to virtual. Give me transparent A/R screens I can put over my glasses and I'll pop a monitor up anywhere I like, any size I like. Then, when it's game time, I'll switch the screens so they aren't transparent any longer and enjoy a complete, virtual world! I want it now!
 
Jun 12, 2020
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Ill only upgrade to a 4k monitor when the one im using ceases to impress me, but ultrawide and refresh rates come waaaaaay first.
I've been drooling over the LG 48: CX OLED ever since I saw it on display. Truly the best looking picture on a TV I've ever seen, but only if it's fed 4K content. It doesn't upconvert UH broadcasts nearly well enough (I'm not entirely sure it was adjusted to in the settings though), and though it comes with a lot of nice gaming features, including G-Sync, some of those features are buggy and it's yet to get a firmware update to address the problems. It also doesn't have an ATSC 3 4K tuner like the GX models have. So I think realistically, despite my anxieties over how good it CAN look with appropriate content, I'll probably have to wait at least a couple model years. I'm sure by then though it might be possible to pick one up for under $1000 at holiday sale prices.
 
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Jan 17, 2020
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It's games like that which rake in the big cash and people are eating that stuff up. Call of Duty: Warzone. Fortnite, PUBG, Hearthstone, Dauntless, Rocket League, Realm Royale, Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege, the list goes on. Tons of games that have to sacrifice some visual fidelity just so they can run on a toaster.
As someone who can barely afford a toaster, I do appreciate developers making sure I can still play their games.
 
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