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Sony hit with class action suit over  Killzone  resolution
Sony hit with class action suit over Killzone resolution
August 6, 2014 | By Christian Nutt




As uncovered by Polygon, Sony has been named in a class action lawsuit thanks to the fact that PlayStation 4 launch title Killzone: Shadow Fall doesn't have "native" 1080p HD graphics -- at least according to one player, and his legal team.

According to the lawsuit, PS4 owner Douglas Ladore purchased the game under the impression he'd be getting a 1080p experience, but discovered the game was "blurry" when playing in multiplayer.

The game's producer, Poria Torkan, discussed the ins and outs of the game's resolution on its official blog back in March; the game uses a technique called "temporal reprojection" to "reconstruct a full 1080p image."

"If native means that every part of the pipeline is 1080p then this technique is not native," Torkan writes.

"Had Plaintiff known that Killzone's multiplayer mode was not running at a graphics resolution of 1080p, he would have not have purchased Killzone at all, or would have paid substantially less for it," the lawsuit states.

The class-action lawsuit brought by Ladore seeks to force Sony to compensate PS4 owners who purchased Killzone: Shadow Fall.

The suit was filed by law firm Edelson PC, which also filed suit against Sega and Gearbox over Aliens: Colonial Marines and against EA over a Battlefield promotion.


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Comments


Mike Kasprzak
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Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

Christian Nutt
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I'd actually like to hear a graphics engineer (not from Guerilla or Sony, necessarily, of course) respond to this one.

James Margaris
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What exactly it means to be "1080p" or "native 1080p" is debatable but calling KZ 1080p is quite a stretch.

This reminds me of when people counted pixels and discovered that Halo 3 was not 720 and the Bungie guys responded by saying that the game uses a bunch of intermediate buffers so it was arguably higher than 720. (http://www.videogamer.com/xbox360/halo_3/news/bungie_confirms_hal
o_3_is_not_720p.html)

KZ multiplayer uses a rendering trick where it renders at lower than 1080 res then uses pixels from previous frames to fill in the gaps. Using info from previous frames is not uncommon (for motion blur for example) but using that info in place of new info instead of supplementing it is uncommon.

For a game to run at "native 1080p" the understanding is that the main game image is rendered internally at 1080. Maybe alpha particles are lower res, or there are some resolution changes for bloom and such in the pipeline, but at some point somewhere in the process there was a 1080p buffer that the game rendered current data to.

KZ doesn't do that.

I'm a big fan of words having meaning. If a game is 1080 that should mean it internally renders at 1080. And no, rendering at 720 then adding black pixels to letterbox is not rendering at 1080. Rendering at 540 then adding pixels from previous frames is not rendering at 1080. Rendering only the HUD at 1080 is not rendering at 1080.

The fact that this is a lawsuit is a little crazy but at the same time it's silly to advertise using terms that have absolutely no meaning. 1080 should have a meaning and what KZ does isn't it.

Edit: As far as the icon on the back of the box that says "1080p output" - the game does output a 1080p signal so that's not misleading. But the signal being up to 1080p doesn't mean the game runs at 1080p. That may sound like a small distinction but it isn't.

nicolas mercier
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@James: A movie is compressed using similar techniques. Compression comes from temporal coherence: most of the frames look almost like the previous frame, so it takes less space to encode the difference than put the complete frame.

KZ does exactly that, they use temporal coherence to compress their image. They know what color is a pixel, and where it is going to be in the next frame, roughly. They just put it there. It does degrade quality a bit because of approximation, but it's not just an upscaling technique.

James Margaris
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"A movie is compressed using similar techniques.
...
KZ does exactly that, they use temporal coherence to compress their image. "

Not even close. Compression is when you have a set of data you reduce. That's not what KZ does - at no point does it have a full set of 1920x1080 data. Nothing is being compressed.

It is an upscaling technique. It literally upscales - going from a half-res image.

Compression is when you have more data than you can handle and reduce it. Upscaling / interpolation is when you have less data than you need and fudge it. Killzone does the latter.

Benjamin Quintero
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https://www.killzone.com/en_GB/blog/news/2014-03-06_regarding-killzone-sh adow-fall-and-1080p.html

nicolas mercier
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@Christian: the article is a bit vague on where Sony claims that Killzone is 1080p. The wording would make a lot of difference.

Killzone does output a 1080p image, precisely a 1920x1080 image, to the TV, so there is no scaling necessary. How that 1920x1080 image is generated is the problem.

So if Sony writes on the box that Killzone outputs 1080p signal, it's absolutely true.
Also, the technique that Sony describes is only used in Multiplayer. Singleplayer renders "normally" at 1080p I think.

Finally, the technique described here is NOT a single upscaling or interlacing. It is very common in computer graphics to use techniques that degrade quality to increase performance. Motion blur is also such a technique; turn it on and it makes 30FPS look like 60FPS so you get away with lower framerates. Proper lighting cannot (yet) be calculated perfectly on the GPU, it's an approximation, sometimes only loosely based on real physics. Or the most obvious example, is to simulate step by step what happens in a continuous world. the "real world" is not updated every 16 or 30 milliseconds, it's a continuous evolution. But for computers, we divided physics simulation in steps of 16ms. Can we get sued for that? Can we get sued because lighting is incorrect and not raytraced?

The "upscaling" technique used by Sony fits this description too. It's a shortcut that trades a bit of accuracy for speed. They render half the picture and they fill in the blank with an extrapolation of the previous picture. It's a per-pixel prediction, so it's quite accurate. It's not perfect, granted. But SSAO is also not perfect, it's an approximation of global lighting. HDR is an approximation. Toon shading is an approximation, we don't have a pen inside of the console drawing cartoons. Water shading is an approximation using sines and cosines. Few games generate actual waves.

We spent our day time at work making software approximating the world. Can we get sued over that? Erf.

Red Ferguson
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> I'd actually like to hear a graphics engineer (not from Guerilla or Sony, necessarily, of course) respond to this one.

1080p isn't a resolution, it's an HD output format. The "1080p" on the box means "compatible with TVs supporting 1080p display."

The TV and device have a gentleman's agreement to pass the image to be displayed as 1920x1080, but there is no guarantee at any point that the image has always been that resolution. Such an expectation across all content would be quite ridiculous really. Anamorphic DVDs should have clued us in to that long before it became an issue for games.

Marvin Papin
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It's all relative. In fact the game uses interpolation to render 1080p but what is native. As said above, it's all about the engine base rendering at 1080p but once more it's about the way the engine works. If you take the example of a path tracing engine, for the moment, when you're fixed or moving you do not calculate the same amount of rays and so the number of pixels differs largely. Even if it as the same output resolution, you're not really in 1080p and to have a good rendering, you'll have to do interpolations since this technique is really costly.

Now if it's about having a simili-1080p where the difference between a "real rastered 1080p" is nearly invisible it probably worth much more than having textures and AA downgrades. So finally, you make concessions about the experience while design the MP.

That solution is probably the best to choose or they'd have chosen the other one. But in that case, how the guy would have noticed the blurry aspect, since the game employs much MOTION BLUR, DOF, IMAGE EFFECTS and ALPHA SPRITES just at the extremity of the barrel ? Maybe he enjoyed the game much more while staying fixed, in MP ?

Tanner Mickelson
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I think this is kind of stupid that it turned into a lawsuit. I for one have had lots of fun with my copy of Killzone, and the game looked pretty nice to me. I'd rather have it be 1920x1080 to avoid upscaling, than have it render at a native resolution of 1280x720 like most other games when they can't support all the graphics techniques they want in full res.

And the temporal reprojection technique is actually a really cool idea in my opinion. Especially for a game like Killzone. You're not running around at super high speed in Killzone, your characters are "heavier" feeling than most other shooters, so the reprojection artifacts don't seem to be as noticeable as I imagine they could be in a faster game like Call of Duty or TitanFall.

Christian Nutt
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"1080p isn't a resolution, it's an HD output format."

That's the most salient quote, I think. Thanks for the info, everybody.

Thiago Conceicao
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If such an expectation is ridiculous, then why Sony is marketing it as such?

Christian Nutt
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Probably also depends on whether you consider it "marketing" or not -- I didn't closely read the entire case when I wrote the report, but the "smoking gun" seemed to be the box for the game, which you can see here: http://i.imgur.com/lFw7tGk.jpg

The "1080p video output" icon on the back of the box in particular. Now, it DOES output video at 1080p. That's why I said that quote above was so salient.

The case basically says "dude went into Best Buy, verified the box said 1080p, bought the game, it was BLURRY OMG, he found out from Eurogamer's story that it wasn't really 1080p, later confirmed by Guerilla on their blog."

If the distinction is video output mode vs. native resolution (if the box is deemed accurate) then there seems to no case, right?

In the Aliens case (filed by the same law firm) there's a lot of data about how the plaintiffs watched EXTENSIVE marketing videos about the game prior to release and based their purchasing decision on those. This one is about him checking the back of the box.

Thiago Conceicao
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I am not a lawyer, but they specifically mention "social media" and I remember Sony employess boasting 1080p graphics and YouTube videos describing it as 1080p on Sony's channel.

This is marketing. There is no room for interpretation. Consumers were led to believe the game ran at 1080p.

nicolas mercier
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@James
Well, think of movie *de*compression in that case. You have a subset of data and want to recreate the full original set, from the subset. The missing parts are taken from somewhere.

It does not LITERALLY upscales. The facts are more complex than people report. Upscaling would be creating information from absent data. KZ gets that data from somewhere. It allows them to not render all pixels, but to use previously rendered pixels in the next frame. Like a movie *de*compression which uses the previous frames to create the next one.

The result is a full 1920x1080 frame where half the pixels were calculated using "regular" shading, and the other half were calculated using previous frames and motion vectors. It is technically a full 1920x1080 picture, in all aspects, and the box is correct. Signal output is 1080 and the final framebuffer is 1920x1080 without stretching.

Now, if the result looks GOOD, that is a different story. If I remember correctly, Sony released an uncompressed video of multiplayer gameplay for everybody to admire. I heard no complaint, did they disable that effect back then? That would qualify as false advertising. But on other aspects they are *technically* correct, it's a 1080p signal sending a 1920x1080 picture, that has not been simply stretched. If it does not look good, then please just say it does not look good (especially in front of a court), use the correct terms.

Alex Boccia
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It's about time consumers started fighting back at false promises from developers/publishers.

Jane Castle
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Sony Response: We use two off screen 540p buffers, adding them together results in the 1080p advertised on the box. Sorry for the confusion. That is all....

Marvin Papin
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and alternate between those 2 buffers give a 1080p image at barely 60fps which is not a 1080p rastered resolution but a 1080p resolution anyway. But I suppose that the 2 buffer are used alternately to calculate all the images which seem obvious. Now, if it's a part of the rendering process, it's in some cases 1080 native. But people shouldn't abuse of those terms.

As I said above, if it's to get better renders, it's still a futile lawsuit.

Curtis Turner - IceIYIaN
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On my PC games I just click 640x480, 800x600, or 1024x768... Sometimes I may use 1280x720, as that seems to be more common these days... What kind of weird resolutions are these console developers trying to force on me?! MY EYES! X_x

Marvin Papin
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Now, shouldn't the money be dispatch among all the players ?
That would breakdown future actions, but by the same prevent that kind of guys (voluntary evasive) to do that just to get millions. Moreover in that case it's a compromise to have better graphics. So WTF ?

Benjamin Quintero
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This is utter stupidity. Does the game look good aesthetically? Does it play good mechanically? Does it run to completion without crashing uncontrollably? None of these questions has anything to do with a fixed number. If you care about numbers, buy a PC... I hear dual Titan cards do just fine with numbers.

adam anthony
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Ya, but that's not the point. This person is seeing $$$ signs based on "false advertising". I don't think his lawsuit will get far.

Iain Howe
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Sour-grapes should never be the basis of a lawsuit. Whilst I'm as keen on 'truth in advertising' as anyone else, that isn't the spirit in which this frivolous, nuisance, lawsuit has been undertaken.

As Developers, some of those chuckling into their Schadenfreude shouldn't be quite so amused, either. This sort of thing could be the death of invention, if it was allowed to take over.

Thiago Conceicao
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How so? Please explain.

The problem is false advertising, and has nothing to do with invention. As a matter of fact, it would be positive for everyone if games were held to the same standards and laws as everything else.

If a car company claims their new model has a certain mileage and it does 5% less there would be an uproar. Why games should be different?

Thiago Conceicao
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This is not about the quality of the game. It is about false advertising. Sony promised 1080p and didn't deliver it. Not only on the game box, but also on social media (YouTube, Twitter, etc) and marketing materials.

Game developers are so entitled that they believe the rules don't apply to them. In any other industry false advertising would lead to lawsuits and an uproar. Here people act as if they had the right to lie to everyone's faces, take their money and walk.

Do you know what is good for business? How about not being a liar?

And BTW, Killzone Shadowfall is utter garbage.

adam anthony
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The game, technically, does run at 1080p. And no, suing those big names that write some of our paychecks doesn't always help.

Thiago Conceicao
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No, it doesn't. 1080p means 1920x1080. No further explanation is necessary.

They used the term "1080p" with the specific intention of deceiving consumers.

People noticed the MP didn't look as good, but weren't sure why.

James Margaris
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" The game, technically, does run at 1080p"

No. It outputs a 1080p signal. That's not the same thing. An SNES hooked up to an XRGB puts out a 1080p signal.

If you think the game runs at 1080p then a game that renders a 16x16 square also "technically" runs at 1080p, making the term 100% meaningless.

If you believe that "running at 1080p" means literally nothing then yes, it runs at 1080p. If you believe that running at 1080p means something then what KZ does doesn't fit any reasonable definition of that.

The whole point of advertising that a game is 1080p is that a 1920x1080 game puts out 1920x1080 new rendered pixels a frame, which gives it high image quality. KZ doesn't do that. KZ uses interlacing that they've rebranded with a new term because interlacing has negative connotations, like how "high fructose corn syrup" is now "corn sugar." It is interlacing - old pixels are interlaced with new ones. It is literally interlaced. It's not exactly the same as an interlaced signal, but it's a hell of a lot closer to interlacing than it is to "native 1080p rendering."

The intent was to get consumers to believe that the multiplayer hums along at 1080x60. It doesn't.

If you bought a game that was advertised to render at 1080 and it rendered a 16x16 square upscaled you'd probably be pissed no? Even if the signal output was 1080p.


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