Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

Summary: Sony's PlayStation 3 is a marvel of technology, while the Xbox 360 has been out for over 12 months. But which games console outputs the best graphics? Gamespot carried out some checks and found that the graphics of most of the Xbox 360 games were superior to those of the PS3.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Sony's PlayStation 3 is a marvel of technology, while the Xbox 360 has been out for over 12 months.  But which games console outputs the best graphics?  Gamespot carried out some checks and found that the graphics of most of the Xbox 360 games were superior to those of the PS3.

[poll id=48]

The Gamespot examined a large number of games before coming to their conclusion.  These included:

  • Need for Speed Carbon
  • Call of Duty 3
  • Madden 07
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance
  • NBA 2K7
  • Fight Night Round 3
  • Tony Hawk's Project 8
  • Tiger Woods PGA 07


We expected the PlayStation 3 to ship with several games that first appeared on the Xbox 360, similar to how the Xbox 360 had a lot of Xbox ports at launch. And the PS3 did indeed arrive with a good number of games that originally shipped for the Xbox 360. This gave us the perfect opportunity to compare the graphics on both systems with several cross-platform games. You'd think that the PS3 versions would be exactly the same or slightly superior to the Xbox 360 versions, since many of these games appeared on the 360 months ago, but it seems like developers didn't use the extra time to polish up the graphics for the PS3. We found that the Xbox 360 actually had better graphics in the majority of the games we compared.

To my eye, the Xbox 360 graphics do look better for most of the games.  My advice is unchanged - unless you absolutely need to be at the cutting edge, wait 6 - 12 months for the PS3.  By then the bugs will have been ironed out (such as the scaling issue, which still remains unfixed, despite the version 1.3 firmware patch) of the system.

What do you think?  Check it out for yourself.  The mouseover graphics comparison on Gamespot is amazing.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • The Debate

    No study which compares still images or screenshots between systems should be taken seriously. Graphics, these days, rely heavily on the action and the motion, which requires video-comparisons. Unless the games are mostly still-image games (like, perhaps, Lemmings), comparisons of still images shouldn't be trusted.

    Also, if these games were originally developed for the XBOX 360, then ported to the PS3 in a rushed fashion, there is no doubt the graphics could be sub-par. It would be no different than if a game were first made for the PS3 and then ported for the XBOX 360 in a rushed fashion. The fact that the PS3 came out AFTER the XBOX 360 (and developers had the dev-kits for a limited amount of time) means that any comparisons made during the next 6 months to a year are going to be hit-and-miss.

    On another note, while graphics are absolutely great... at some point, it will barely matter, which is why I believe the Wii is doing so well in sales. Having super-realistic graphics will only get you so far if the game otherwise sucks. Sometimes you can have a game with terrible graphics, but if the game-play is highly enjoyable, it'll catch on. Think about how popular Tetris was, yet how simplistic it was graphic-wise. The XBOX 360 is always going to have an advantage due to the fact that it has had a one year head-start on games, and developers have had the dev-kits for quite a long time.

    Also, anyone who spends $400 or more on something that can only play games is, in my opinion, a little misguided. No offense... it's only my opinion. In fact, anything past $300 better be more of a home entertainment system than just a game machine. Even the PS2 was pushing things at the $250 price-tag, but it at least played DVDs during a time when cheap DVD players were still $100+. The PS3 will at least play high-def movies out of the box (there's no point in dragging the Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD into this mess, it just clouds the issue.) If HD-DVD wins, it seems simple to think there will be an "add-on" drive to the PS3 (via the USB ports) to be able to play HD-DVD movies in addition to the Blu-Ray. If Blu-Ray wins, the XBOX 360 will just get a Blu-Ray drive add-on (similar to the HD-DVD drive add-on) and everything will be squared away.

    When taking these two comparisons, the XBOX 360 and PS3 are virtually equal investments both in cost (if you compare features or the cost of add-ons to match the feature-set) and power (whether one is better with graphics than the other will be a debate which will never be won... this is more of a battle between game makers than console makers at this point.)

    In the end, it's going to be about support and selection. The PS3 already has a huge selection of PSone, PS2, and PS3 games combined. The XBOX already has a huge selection of XBOX and XBOX 360 games. The Wii has a decent amount of games and is quite enjoyable for those who prefer unique and fun games over super-graphics or media center features.

    So, rather than everyone wanting one console to beat the others, or for the other consoles to die out... let's all hope the three big consoles continue to win together, giving us the huge selection and the various options and the competition that is needed to continue to keep the market moving at a fast pace!
  • PS3 requires whole new programming paradigm

    It requires the programmer to divy up tasks between the eight SPE cores, all the while keeping track of things in the central PPC core. Check out this month's cover story, "The Insomniacs:" in IEEE Spectrum magazine (

    It will take a while before programmers become proficient - or for the compilers to be able to assume some of this work. We'll see how games look 6 months from now...
  • A Pointless Exercise at this Stage

    Articles such as this one are completely pointless and just give more useless fodder for fanboy debates. Does anyone really expect rushed launch ports of XBox 360 games onto the PS3 to look the same or better just because they're on the PS3? C'mon, be real people!

    Garbage in, garbage out. That's a basic rule of programming. If code is not optimized for the system it's running on, it will look no better than it's source material, and in all likelyhood it will look and perform worse. Final PS3 development kits have been in programmers hands for just about 6 months now. 360 developers have been familiarizing themselves with the 360 and development tools for over a year and a half now. It's irresonsible to make comparisons like this this right now. Besides, graphics do not make a game great. Gameplay mechanics, smart AI, compelling storylines - games are destined to be crap without those elements. However, excellent graphics do help immerse the gamer in the experience. I think the Wii will have difficulty with that aspect sooner than the PS3 or Xbox360.

    The point is this - comparisons like this, especially at this stage, are completely useless. All it will do is fuel the fire of fanboys of either system. The PS3, XBox360, and Wii all seem to be great machines, but that doesn't mean a thing without great content. It's up to developers to deliver on that point. The 360 is benefiting from having a year head start, but that doesn't guarantee anything (my poor Dreamcast).

    The PS3 and Wii are just getting started, so game selection currently weighs in the 360's favor. However, that will quickly change as developers become accustomed to all three platforms. The PS3 has a bunch of promising titles coming out this coming year, including Motorstorm, Lair, and Metal Gear Solid 4, so that could help make up some ground in a hurry.

    Just pick your system of choice based on what features suit your needs. Lay off the lame comparisons that are useless.
  • Still frames...

    I agree that there isn't much point comparing graphics between the two systems at this stage or possibly ever. I don't see game developers maxing out the power of either system for a couple years. Look at how graphics were constantly being improved in the original xbox up to the release of the 360. Call of Duty 2 for 360 was only slightly better than Big Red One or the original system. Makes you wonder about all the people reporting on how realistic the graphics looked. Maybe they thought SegaCD was a next-gen system. I think you'll see a similar slow progression of next-gen graphics that aren't going to reach their full potential for quite a while. I don't even think that another developer will match Gears of War until at least next fall.

    In regards to your still frame comment, I'd say the only reason they posted the still frames was so that people could sort of see what they're talking about in terms of detail. They mentioned frame-rate a number of times in the article so it's not like their comparison was based on a still-frame comparison. I'd be surprised if they were expecting anyone to think they could draw any real conclusions from looking at the still frames alone but rather used them to illustrate differences in certain details mentioned in their comparisons.
    For example, they say the trees look fuller in the PS3 version of Tiger Woods and have a few shots in which the trees look fuller.
  • Irrelevant, they both use a TV

    If superior graphics are what you want, then buy a Gaming PC. Be prepared to spend at least $2000 or for the best. You can sacrafice a bit by going with last years video card, less ram, and cheaper MOBO yet still get better graphics than any console can produce.

    The fact that consoles use a TV means the TV is the limiting factor for the games. HDTV will go a long ways to reducing the differences though.

    Off the graphics bit though. Great graphics is purely eye candy. Game play makes all the difference. Have game with great game play then work on the graphics. No amount of graphics will make a boring game fun.
  • RE: Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

    Gamespot and Cnet (Aka cnet reviews) is owned by mircosoft there for i dont belive anything they have to say about compairing the ps3 vs. the xbox 360. The ps3 is still relitivly new so a real compairison would be to compair games that came out 1 year after the 360 was made to games that are coming out now for ps3. Plus as CNET always says for pay for what you get. more expensive means a better product. ussualy..
  • RE: Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

    okay first of all, you are crazy to think that 360 has better graphics than the ps3. It is almost universally accepted that ps3 has better. How dare you take it upon yourself to go back on that! You're a fool. TO prove this I have both systems and can honestly say that on my 1080p tv, my ps3 dogs out my 360 by a long shot (especially due to the fact that my games on the ps3 are scaled to 1080p) 360 games aren't ugly but don't say they're better than ps3's. And also that is a biased poll. Most people right now have 360s so how can you expect an accurate answer. Of course people are going to defend the system they have! Wise up. With a stupid poll like this I'm surprised the wii isn't up here! I guarantee a few people would vote for it. Hell you're probably one of those people you maniacal reject!
    • XBOX 360 POWER

      • RE: Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

        The reason you think this is becasue you play that shity call of duty franchize. 360 does not have better graphics if you want to comare then compare the game battlefield bad company 2 you can tell why im telling you xbox sucks and another would have to delayed button reaction time on the xbox controller compared to ps3 dualshock 3 controllers the controls to a ps3 just flow with the characters movement maken it the more superior console on the market. The xbox in my view does not perform better its like listening to a 60 year man who been smoking all his life its loud as shit but that is besides the point. Ps3 is more reliable than xbox 360 you dont have to fear the ps3 getting a red ring of death. but seriously if You compare Battlefield bad company 2 on the xbox and ps3 you will finally understand who is lacking graphic detail cause xbox 360 is like playing a ps2 the graphics are shity.
    • RE:

      First of all "Idiot".The 360` s gpu(Xenos).Is more revolutionary than the ps3`s crappy rsx...but at the end of the day, it all comes down to which console gets the higher framerates..and unless ur an "idiot" or noob or whtever.. like u...u would know tht the 360 performes better even if the ps3 is more powerful..its like all its power isnt doing anything..
      • sure ya

        i have both systems i realy like my xbox but ps3 has better graphics free online unlike xbox rips you off and ps3 is wireless is xbox no didnt thinks so ps3 is much better
  • RE: Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

    ps3 has better graphics xbox 360 cant compare graphics against the ps3.360 is trash!!!!!!!!!!.
  • RE: Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

    ps3 has the best graphics ever i have both systems and ps3 is way better graphics
    • ps3 owns

  • PS3 all the way

    i play X box alot at my friends house i like it but it cant stand a chance between ps3 and itself ps3 is way better in every way!!
    xxCJ13136996xx thts my acuall ps3 account add me
  • RE: Xbox 360 vs. PS3 - Which has the best graphics?

    I do think xbox rips you off there like most companies just trying to squiz as much money as possible out of you. That why people who dont want to wasit money on online buy a ps3 cause its more convieniant in the fact that it has free online.