The Witcher 3 achieves native 4K resolution on Xbox One X, features console-exclusive 60 FPS mode

The game achieves native 4K (3840 by 2160 pixels) on Xbox One X unlike the checkerboarded 4K approach the PlayStation 4 Pro version adopts. Apart from that, it also features better post-processing effects which smooth out jaggy edges when compared to the competition. However, the title also uses a dynamic resolution scaler on Xbox One X to maintain the frame rate at 30 FPS in "4K Mode". The PlayStation 4 Pro version runs at checkerboarded 4K all the time.

The resolution on Microsoft's console drops down to 1800p (3200 by 1800 pixels) at times, especially in areas like Crookback Bog, but the frame rate remains stable unlike on PlayStation 4 Pro. However, even when it drops down to 1800p, the image still appears to be sharper than the PlayStation 4 Pro version because checkerboarded 4K produces many visual artifacts. Digital Foundry gave the edge to Microsoft's console in their comparison mostly due to the fact that it maintains a stable frame rate even in demanding areas.

What's surprising is that currently the Xbox One X version features an exclusive "Performance Mode" which dynamically scales the resolution of the game between native 4K and 1080p (1920 by 1080 pixels) to maintain 60 FPS. This mode is only available on Xbox One X because there isn't an option like this available on PlayStation 4 Pro. We verified this ourselves by testing The Witcher 3 on Sony's console.

Additionally, the PlayStation 4 Pro version lacks HDR at the moment. CD Projekt RED has promised to update the title with HDR support but it's unclear if they'll add the 60 FPS Performance Mode to Sony's machine. Even though the Performance Mode isn't perfect, as the frame rate goes down to around 45 FPS in areas like Novigrad, it's still great when you're exploring outside of cities. Maybe the developer will introduce further optimizations which make it stick closely to 60 FPS in the future.

It's great to see developers taking advantage of the 1.8 teraflops advantage the Xbox One X has over the PlayStation 4 Pro to introduce native rendering and advanced effects. The Witcher 3 is probably one of the most significant examples of the power difference because it has a 60 FPS mode despite the fact that it achieves native 4K resolution on the console. Hopefully this trend will continue in the future and the difference will become even more substantial as developers become more familiar with the Xbox One X. Only time will tell.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

  • I dropped the twenty on this thanks to this update. Wish the developers.... I mean publishers of battlefield 1 took notice
  • It's well worth that drop if you like open world RPGs my friend. I can't wait to go back and do my hard run now that the patch came out.
  • Meanwhile the amazing PUBG can't hold 30 FPS in 1080p
  • It's in Xbox Game Preview, it'll get there eventually.
  • That's what we thought about Ark ...
  • out of preview Pubg PC version is ahead of that of Xbox obviously. if it ends up like that xbox will have a great game too. Ark is just one weird story where the unfinished part never seems to go away and Pubg aint like that.
  • But it's still horribly optimised on PC as well.
  • Ark is pretty good on Xbox One X now. I play it regularly.
  • That's not an excuse for it to run so badly especially how much advertising and overhype went for it from everywhere starting by Microsoft.
  • If being under active development isn't an excuse for poor performance... What is?
  • "achieves native 4K resolution" Mandan's way to hype MS's product and mislead readers/gamers...
  • Umm it does achieve native 4k, it just scales when things get busy, but hits native nontheless. Anyway, even though I don't like this game, it's cool to see the developers give the game options for performance
  • When you're putting "native 4K" in the title without mentionning dynamic resolution, Asher is misleading people into thinking the game is at native 4K or true 4K. It's probably a way to make people think the X is more powerful than what it actually is. Î would expect MS to do stuff like that. Asher Madan doing it is not really a surprise though since he is a die hard "MS/XB" fan. His priority is MS/XB not the readers here...
  • it's powerful enough to achieve native 4k in Witcher 3.  that's it
  • I've played several hours now on both modes. I prefer the 4k 30 mode, game looks amazing and runs damn near locked 30. Performance mode is good too and I really didn't have any issues with performance, it holds close 60 a majority of the time. It drops in novigrad but I noticed no screen tearing so even though it was probably on the 40's, I wasn't getting studder or tearing. So what I'm trying to say is even with the drops, the feel and performance hold up well.
  • Performance mode is a great addition for people without 4K displays or streamers. I hope more developers implement this.