So…Why is 4K Gaming Such a Big Deal?

The Xbox One X launch has finally arrived, and it seems that the console is a massive success. I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to fail, but I find myself struggling to understand the demand for a console whose major selling point is that it can display games at 4K resolutions. The same goes for the PS4 Pro. It’s major selling point is that it can display games at a higher resolution than the standard PS4. The demand is definitely there since these systems are selling. I just don’t really get it is all.

I’ve heard that the Xbox One X can run many high-end games at a steady 60fps instead of the normal 30fps. That’s something I can recognize as appealing since the difference in quality is immediately noticeable and better. That’s not the main selling point of these upgraded consoles though; instead, it’s the 4K resolution. I’ve seen 4K content running on 4K screens before, and I honestly couldn’t see much of a difference from normal HD unless I got uncomfortably close to the screen. I could definitely see this as a selling point for a PC. Using a PC puts you pretty close to the screen to begin with, so you’d actually be able to appreciate the difference 4K offers. On a console though, I’m just not seeing why so much of the focus is on that over the ability to run games at 60fps. Then there’s the triple-A sector’s own pushing of 4K resolution. In a word: it’s puzzling.

We’ve been hearing publishers like EA and Activision complaining about the rising costs of development for awhile now. They used this reason to excuse everything from the lack of features in major games, to buggy launches, to the extreme proliferation of microtransactions and loot boxes in games that they don’t have any business being in. Yet, here is that same crowd of publishers and hardware makers pushing yet another jump in visual quality and processing power. Why? Why would they want this? Why are Sony and Microsoft so eager to have to market yet another device to replace their established and popular game machines so quickly. Why are publishers who have already been pleading poverty so eager to scale up production times and costs when their consumers haven’t really been pushing for it at all? One would think that they’d welcome the chance for development tools to catch up to the current standards and make it possible to reduce the amount of time and energy required to produce modern games. Instead it’s the opposite. As I’ve said several times already, it’s all really quite puzzling. I dunno, maybe it’s just me.

What’s your take on the push for 4K? Does it appeal to you or do you find it puzzling too?

Lede image by Flickr user: Marco Verch (cc)


  1. I think it’s just the evolution of the industry. Not long ago we were playing 2D side-scrollers. Now we have near life-like NPCs. 4K is just an evolution in technology, and Sony/Microsoft are jumping on because sooner or later 4K will be the norm. Just like Blu Ray took over DVD, so will 4K take over Blu Ray. It’s called risk of substitution, a business term, like for digital took over film for pictures.

    At the same time, they’re going with these new systems because they’ve seen the cellphone model work, people buy new tech.
    If it exists, someone somewhere will buy it. In this case, more and more people are buying it. Obviously they don’t need it, but it being marketed as the next big thing, and you know how people are about big things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hatm0nster says:

      Now that you’ve said it, trying to follow the phone market and create the “next big thing” do make business sense.

      Hmm…you know I really can’t refute anything stated in your comment. It’s very well put. Thanks for writing it!


  2. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

    4K doesn’t appeal to me at all. I got a TV earlier this year, not for 4K, but simply because the size I wanted does not come in 1080p anymore. After running some PC games in 4K, like you said, I only noticed the difference when I was maybe 5 feet away from the TV at best. Even then, it was so minimal that I can’t fathom why I’d take the huge performance hit to do this. It’s not as ground breaking as the jump to 1080p was. For me that was like looking as a crustal clear wine glass vs a broken piece of glass covered in dry mud. For 4K, you have to be extremely close, and there’s some articles talking about the science of the human eye relative of distance to notice such minor details between 4K vs 1080p.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. duckofindeed says:

      I don’t understand this whole 4K thing, either. I’m starting to see Youtube videos labelled as 4K, and they look the same as the HD videos. My movie editing program has 4K as an option…all it does, I’m sure, is make my file sizes way bigger.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Imtiaz Ahmed says:

        Yea i noticed that to when trying to test 4K from youtube. Not sure what the deal is. There was one movie I watched on my TV using chromecast youtube over my wifi, and the small occasions that my wifi was able to keep up with the bandwidth requirement, I did see a difference and it looked quite nice, but still, I have to be close.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Drakulus says:

    I can understand the 4K thing, but I’m in no rush to be a part of it. I’m a PC gamer and if I wanted to game in 4K I could, but I choose not to because it’s expensive and I’m perfectly happy being a 1080p gamer.


    1. Hatm0nster says:

      PC gamers are probably in the best position to enjoy 4K. I’m told that the difference between standard HD and 4K is negligible unless one is sitting 3-4 feet away from their screen. Hard to do that with a TV, easy with a monitor.

      Liked by 1 person

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