August 3, 2021

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Call of Duty: Warzone – what’s really happening on PS5 and Xbox Series consoles?

Activision made headlines at the next generation console launch by adding 120fps support To Call of Duty: Warzone on Xbox Series X – an extra that was not mirrored on PlayStation 5, which continues to top out at 60Hz. Confusion followed, but clarifications came when Rocket League developer Psyonix revealed that Sony does not allow 120Hz support on legacy PS4 apps running on PlayStation 5. It’s a shame to not see it yet, especially since other enhancements have been delivered to PS4 games through back-compat (most notably on Days Gone and Ghost of Tsushima, which both now run at 60fps on PS5). And so, we wondered to what extent Warzone has been improved when running on both next-gen machines. 120fps support is allowed on Series X, but is there any other advantage here? The answer? Absolutely yes.

To get the comparison data we needed, we leaned into Warzone’s crossplay functionality, which allows up to four different gamers using any supported console or PC to play together on the same server. Not only that, but we can actually get precise, lined up shots of gameplay from all systems by allowing all members of the squad to perish, then sync capture in spectator mode. Four consoles, four gamers all recording footage of the same player. From there, the analysis can begin proper.

First things first, we can confirm that Warzone is indeed a backwards compatibility title, even though Xbox Series X and S versions receive ‘optimised’ status, presumably owing to their 120Hz support. However, running matched feeds of Xbox One X and Series X side-by-side, it’s pretty clear that this is effectively the same game – though there are some interesting improvements, mostly delivered by the efforts of the Xbox compatibility team. First of all, the Series X hardware essentially eliminates the dynamic resolution sub-4K rendering seen on Xbox One X, which scales between 1920×2160 all the way up to 3840×2160. In every pixel count we carried out, Series X delivers full ultra HD resolution – even in scenarios where Xbox One X drops well beneath 60 frames per second. In essence, Warzone fully taps out back-compat support, with a 2x resolution multiplier – impressive stuff.

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