We already know that Battlefield 3 will run at a lower resolution and frame rate on consoles compared to the PC (no offense to console players): the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will run at 30fps and 720p. But not quite.
DICE has revealed that Battlefield 3 runs at 1280 x 704 resolution on consoles, which is just 16 horizontal lines short of true 720p. But unlike other games that run at a lower resolution, Battlefield 3 won’t be upscaled, instead, there will be two small black bars (just 8px high) at the top and bottom of the screen. If the image was scaled, it would “just ruin the picture”, as DICE rendering architect Johan Andersson revealed via Twitter. According to Anderson, removing the 16 lines of resolution increases performance and saves memory.
While both Microsoft and Sony stipulate that games support at least 720p resolution, many games, including Halo and Call of Duty, actually run at a lower resolution and are then upscaled, for performance issues. For instance, Call of Duty Black Ops ran at 1040 x 608, while the last few Halo games ran at 1152 x 640. Both were upscaled to 720p (1280 x 720).