With the advent of next gen consoles i.e. the PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox, one term that has gained a lot of traction in the last few months is 4K gaming. Sony have earlier spoken about 4K gaming and while it wonâ€™t be hitting the PlayStation 4 at launch, it is in the pipeline for a few years later.
On the other hand Microsoft has revealed basically nothing about the next Xbox. Considering that the PS3 had the advantage over the Xbox 360 in being able to render 720p and 1080p outputs with video games, obviously it would help if the Big M somehow caught up.
So, how does 4K gaming actually looks like? Is it really different from the 720p/1080p games we play on our PC and consoles? And most importantly do we actually need 4K resolution gaming ?
The above gallery illustrates just how 4K games look. Just as 1080p is meant to represent a 1920 - 1080 resolution, 4K essentially means an image or video with a resolution of 4096 pixels wide and 2160 pixels high. It can be typically seen in theatres like iMax for projecting an Ultra HD picture. Of course, the sharpness depends on the amount of pixels per inch or pixel density present. For example, most smartphones these days come with 1080p resolution but on a small 5 inch screen, the human eye is unable to tell the difference between these a regular 720p resolution after a point.
This is why iMax screens are bigger than typical movie theatre displays.
But here's the thing: even if a game is capable of running at a 4K resolution, and has been optimized for the same, one with will need an Ultra HD TV display to take full advantage of it. Sure, you can make out an incredible amount of detail already, if the above screens are any indication. But regular TVs that output to 1080p won't be able to output ALL of that detail heck, processing it is another thing altogether and the current crop of Ultra HD screens are expensive. Like tens-of-thousands-of-dollars expensive.
We're still in an era where 3D TVs cost a bomb. So while the next logical step to improving graphical performance is to move to a higher resolution, it'll take a good long while before the manufacturing costs drop.