How Much Do PS4 & Xbox One's New Graphics Matter? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios


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So, there’s been a ton of debate recently about the resolution disparities of certain games on PlayStation4 and Xbox One, aka RESOLUTION GATE. And this of course follows a long tradition of gamers and marketers obsessing over next-gen graphics. But after taking a look, we began to wonder do great graphics make for a great game? Sure, graphics allow game designers to do amazing things, but what most gamers truly want is IMMERSION – that feeling of being fully sucked into a game. And when we looked at the psychology of immersion, we found that graphics might not be that important :/. In fact, our obsession with graphics might be holding us back from spreading games into other more artistic avenues. So we had to ask how much do graphics really matter? Watch the episode and find out!

Links to include:

Psychology of Immersion

Extra Credits: Graphic vs. Aesthetics

David Merrett Response Blog Post:

“Passionate Video Game Hero” by Leokuon

“3170 Lakes” by Chooga

“Let’s go back to the rock” by Outsider

“Dreams Part 1- Fame” by StatueOfDiveo

“Run” by Outsider

“Freedom Weekends” by StatueofDiveo

“Final Days” by StatueofDiveo

“KDR Assault” by Binarpilot

“Dangerous Groups” by Outsider

“Explore” by Outsider

And thanks to Iain Andrews for the use of his photos in the background:

What do you think about the show? We’re dying for feedback.
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  1. ALL HAIL 8 bits technology! ALL HAIL THE 8 bit technology! I WILL BUILD THEM MYSELF! I! WILL! BUILD! THEEEEMMMM!!

  2. Sorry but art needs no knowledge. Art is subjective. I look at that "mona lisa" painting and I feel nothing. It's just ugly looking. As far as I'm concerned, it's worth less than 1 cent. Yet people has tried to "teach" me for years how I'm somwhoe "wrong". See, people actually think some pieces of art are objectively valuable/important and THEREFOR you cannot dislike them subjectively. If a painting needs certain knowledge to be understood, then it's not art. It's a piece of information. Art is subjective, not a piece of information. Because otherwise, I would dislike a painting when I'm unknowledgeable about its history (or art history in general) but if I learned said history, I suddenly would be able to somehow like it? Nah. I believe in gut opinions. You show me a painting and I don't need to look at it for hours to "appreciate" it. I pretty much decide whether I like it immediately.

  3. I think its false to say that graphics = resolution and not aesthetics at all. If you google the word "graphic" the first definition is: "of or relating to visual art, especially involving drawing… etc"
    This definition more closely corresponds to the aesthetic aspect of games, and that's a definition most people naturally associate with the word, given the existence of fields like "graphic design". So it's more accurate to say that "graphics" can be broken down into resolution and aesthetic aspects, rather than saying aesthetics are different from graphics.

  4. I am still a PS3 generation gamer. on Black Friday weekend I got Dragon Age Inquisition at Gamestop for a great price. The first time I started playing the game and I created my character and went into the storyline. The first time I had control of the character, it seemed almost impossible to read the text and understand the controls to continue the story. I looked up the game and apparently a lot of other people were having that same problem as I. It seems like now game designers and companies aren t worried about the older console when it comes to games that will be made for both generations.

  5. 1:40 If your pupils are dilating in sunlight you really badly need to see a doctor. Call an ambulance or have someone drive you to the ER right now. In fact if you are having that problem how are you even reading this?

  6. i dont think that story is that important because for me imersion works perfektly by strategic games like civilisation or games like dwarf fortes

  7. pretty sure that although this isnt graphics per se and I am definitely going to be that guy. But the consoles are already holding us back. BF4 and night mode is a good example. Cant remember where I heard that but pretty sure its true

  8. Gameplay first. Graphics come after you have a fun game, a good art style, a plot that could not be surpassed by the works of a 4 year old and a reason to buy it other than graphics. I would take a fun game in 480p over one that makes no sense in 1080p or even 4k any day.

  9. I'm thinking of Skyrim – amazing visually and sonically, especially with mods; huge living open-world environment with varied weather; complex cultural and political arena – and effing terrible NPCs and voice acting. 😛

  10. I do care about graphics, I like to see techniques that I don't know how they did it. It makes me think. I really liked the sand in Journey, I think that it had sub-pixel specularity for sand, it amazed me.

  11. Call of duty sucks.
    So limited.
    Battlefield fool.
    8 bit games and cartoony crap
    Lack the deep and realism for me to be immersed.
    i have long grown passed those games; i don't want to go backwards.

  12. A good game is fun to plat.  Great graphics or not.  I enjoyed many, many C64 and Amiga games because they had good game theory.  I think the advancement with photo realistic graphics are often used to mask a crap game..

  13. I think for some games better graphics will definitely help. But for all games better mechanism will help. It is what's been "played with" after all. The reason I suppose is we are very visual, and it's easy to compare graphics to see whether they are real-er or not.

  14. Graphics usually aren't important to me (I never bought anything sony after PS2 or Microsoft after original Xbox) But dang, Final Fantasy VII remake looks fantastic.


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