Wouldn't it be great if you could get a pre-launch taste of the next-gen visual experience using nothing more than your PlayStation 3 or PC? That's exactly what we aim to achieve with this new Digital Foundry series, Next-Gen Now. As 1080p60 captures finally start to roll in, we aim to deliver a selection of them to you in h.264 MP4 format, using an encoding profile designed to balance bandwidth with quality, allowing for smooth, high-quality playback of next-gen gameplay on a range of devices.
We kick off with the game that has dominated our coverage this week: DICE's Battlefield 4, sharing a selection of our 1080p60 captures acquired during our three-day stay in Stockholm. First up, we have an edited run-through of the initial Fishing in Baku level on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (clipped in places to remove player deaths and pauses in the action where we gawped at edges in order to judge resolution) followed by a selection of multiplayer clips on the new Sony console.
These videos aren't exactly light downloads. To retain detail at 1080p60, we've had to allocate bandwidth in the region of 18 megabits per second for PS4, while 15mbps appears to do the job on the Xbox One edit owing to the lower video range of the captures (see our Q+A for more on that) and reduced resolution. In terms of Xbox One, despite the heavy blacks, there's still plenty of bright outdoors gameplay in the edit, giving you some idea of how the 720p native resolution looks when upscaled to 1080p and to what extent it may be an issue for you. To our eyes, post-processed scenes look quite impressive, but high contrast outdoors areas can show up some brutal aliasing. PS4 is not exempt from the effect, but an extra 50 per cent of resolution clearly makes a difference.
To get an idea of what you're investing gigabytes of bandwidth in downloading, we've also prepared standard def 60fps encodes of each edit too, streamable via the Eurogamer player. If you've only seen BF4 on next-gen console running via YouTube videos, these vids are far more representative of the Battlefield experience.
More streaming 60fps video:
So how do you get your hands on the downloadable goodies? We've prepared a couple of direct download links for each video, but certainly in the initial rush, the bittorrent links are worth checking out first.
PlayStation 4: Fishing in Baku (2.15GB)
PlayStation 4: Multiplayer (903MB)
Xbox One: Fishing in Baku (1.98GB)
This video was acquired on a press trip to Stockholm, Sweden. EA paid travel and accommodation costs.