The Witcher 3 PS4 vs Xbox One Performance Analysis Gives Slight Edge to PS4, Both Have Heavy Texture Pop-In

May 20, 2015 Written by Jason Dunning

To address some of the PlayStation 4 frame-rate and performance issues early reviewers experienced in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CD Projekt Red brought out update 1.01 last week. Even with that patch installed, Digital Foundry’s report on the game notes some inconsistencies in the frame-rate.

Comparing the PS4 and Xbox One versions (see video above), Digital Foundry found that the game featured similar world detail, shadows, lighting, and alpha effects on both platforms, but when it comes to frame-rate, things are quite different. On PS4, The Witcher 3’s frame-rate is capped at 30fps (with v-sync), while it’s uncapped on Xbox One and can go from 30-40fps.

Solely looking at cut-scenes, the PS4 version was able to deliver 30fps during an early scene featuring a griffin, but any drops below that lock it at 20fps, as Digital Foundry explains:

However, the problem here is that if the PS4’s frame-rate drops below this number, it instantly locks to 20fps. It’s an instant switch, much like the double-buffer method of v-sync seen in Metal Gear Solid 4 on PS3. In one later scene involving heavy ice effects, it’s notable that Xbox One does glance this 20fps figure at a similar moment, but unlike PS4 it’s able to waver up and down the scale more freely. Meanwhile, Sony’s platform is stuck at this value for long stretches of a scene.

Switching to gameplay, going through Novigrad sees the game fall down to 29-31fps on Xbox One, while PS4 gameplay can reach 25fps. They believe this is due to the background streaming, which results in “heavy texture pop-in for each console.”

With running through forests producing motion-disruption single-frame drops on PS4, and alpha-spells during a griffin fight dropping the fps on both platforms, “neither console version feels as smooth as it should, and each is prone to big dips during gameplay.”

Summing up, Digital Foundry says the higher Xbox One frame-rate is misleading in terms of quality, as “a capped 30fps is by far the preferred option in this case.” Unfortunately, the PS4 version is hampered by its inability to run at a perfect 30fps, but thanks to its higher 1080p resolution, “Sony’s hardware is a preference” in terms of performance. “But it’s not the clear choice we had expected,” they conclude.

You can check out our review of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt over here.

How have you found the game’s performance so far?

[Source: Digital Foundry]