Final Fantasy XIII: massive screen tearing for PS3 SDTV gamers

Final Fantasy XIII has been the source of much sniping between Sony and Microsoft fanboys, long before the English language release. Those in the Sony camp may have recently thought that they had ‘won’, now that it is generally accepted that the Xbox 360 version is inferior on a technical level. This includes the fact that the PS3 version runs at a higher resolution; but this seems to have turned out to be a poisoned chalice.

There have been numerous complaints – including on the official US PlayStation forum – of major screen tearing on the PS3 version of Final Fantasy XIII. This only happens when playing the game in standard definition (ie. Via a Scart lead or SD composite), but there is every reason to believe that this happens on every TV – HDTV or SDTV – and that the screen tearing occurs at completely unacceptable levels.

We have tested the issue ourselves, and found that it is indeed present when playing the game in standard definition on both HDTVs and SDTVs. For now, we are only able to confirm that the issue is present on the PS3 version.

At time of writing, Sony and Square Enix have declined to comment on the issue.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.


  1. The fact that neither company will comment means that they either don’t care or are to embarrassed to talk about it until they can sort it out which is not very likely as they will probly perceive this problem as a minor incovenince and to trivial to care about because all of thoes spoilt brats and otakus out there who get mommy or daddy to buy them a tv of they use there dole money and people who work for a living and don’t own a hd tv have to suffer unless they buy the craper 360 version

    • I wouldn’t be too quick to assume the worst if the company declines comment – more than likely, they don’t want to be the source of any legal trouble. Deny the problem, and you infuriate those that are experiencing problems (which could turn out badly if there is, indeed, a problem); Accept responsibility, and you are then legally obligated to fix things (and who fixes it? Is it a problem with Sony Hardware, or this a result of poor programming by Square?) There are a lot of legal loopholes involved in these kinds of issues … expect both companies to remain silent , and then all of a sudden make a lot of noise about it. What I don’t think is likely is that both Sony and Square will brush this off as a minor inconvenience … this is a big deal for both companies, and they should (and most likely are) taking this very seriously.

  2. It’s amazing how much time and money was spent on Final Fantasy XIII and yet Square-Enix can’t even be bothered to tick the v-sync box for every display resolution?

    The more I read about the sloppiness of the 360 port, the gutted game content, and the general technical issues on both platforms the more I come to the realization that Square-Enix is struggling, terribly, with this generation of hardware.

    This isn’t about poorly configured TVs or using a SDTV in the era of HD but rather about Square-Enix not doing what is equivalent to modifying one value in one *.ini file. It’s lazy, it’s pathetic, and it’s telling of their current place in the industry.

    • zazibarlegend /

      Ian, you’re being very HARSH….. but you’re also speaking the TRUTH.
      i guess the truth hurts.

    • @ Ian:
      1. It is NOT simple to add VSync into a game and there is definitely no “check box”. If you don’t believe me, and think it’s so easy to include VSync, then why don’t you try programming?

      2. As I said above, it’s not a simple process to fix these bugs. If there was an “ini” file (which there obviously isn’t), it wouldn’t be as simple as changing a value. A programmer has to implement it into the game.

      3. This is the only issue I’ve heard of for PS3, so it would seem that the 360 PORT (port is an important word) has all the issues. The reason is because it’s a damn PORT.

    • dermoptera /

      I find it funny that this thread is about the issue on the PS3 and says nothing of any issue of the kind having to do with the XBOX version and that you bring up “The more I read about the sloppiness of the 360 port” which has nothing to do with this thread. I am personally playing the XBOX version and have a friend playing on the PS3 and in all honesty the PS# version by comparison to the XBOX “PORT” (which it can’t be since it was never masde exclusively tor one the “ported” to the other) hs no graphical issues and looks almost identical.

    • The fact that its ONLY been reported on the PS3 is telling of a possible hardware malfunction on the PS3 … and it may not necessarily be Square-Enix’s fault in poor programming.

    • this is sickening 39 squid for this shody efort they should be hauled up before trading standards for selling faulty goods do sony want us to upgrade are tvs ??? and thow out perfectly good and (a couple of years ago expencive ) TV,s also they should burn in hell for spoiling my enjoyment of final fantasy 13 .

  3. Nemesis /

    I’m more than 50% through Final Fantasy 13 and I have not seen any screen tearing at all. maybe it has to do more with the PS3 system than the game itself. I have the Uncharted (fat)PS3 and I have a 42″ HDTV from Samsung thats over a year old. Just posting my experiences. Hope square-enix or sony can fix those with problem PS3’s.

  4. ppisanidiot /

    I’ve completed the game on on SD television, playing the PS3 version.

    I had absolutely no screen-tearing. This just isn’t true.

    With that said, the PS3 has more than just a higher resolution. The 360 version isn’t HD, all the textures are compressed and look terrible, the loading is wretched, the frame rate is terrible. It is worse in all aspects.

    • Dude i have bought the 360 version and it looks great..and there are comparison vids where it does show it worse then ps3 version but still kooks good… God don’t bash a game if you haven’t played that sony fanboy…

      • you are referring to the comparison vids you watched on your computer screen in a 2in x 2in or smaller window via a stream(most likely an sd stream at that) that doesn’t match the resolution of either system(meaning the original feeds have been converted, which further means loss of quality)…. Based on that, you are saying there is no difference…. Ok, who isn’t making alot of sense???

        You do realize that when you shrink these videos down, it becomes increasingly harder to notice details. Clos, unless you have seen a comparison video between the two systems on two large tv screens(being at least 37 inches) then you shouldn’t have noticed much, and if you noticed anything on those little streamed video comparisons, that is really saying something about the quality difference. The deal is that the 360 version is just BARELY a step up from wii resolution. And yes There is a marked difference between something that is just barely above 480p and something that is 720p. That difference is hidden considerably when you shrink the picture down to almost nothing though.

    • Even if you haven’t “reproduced” the screen-tearing issue doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

      Based on the current reports, I am more inclined to believe that this is a “hardware” issue … meaning, it has nothing to do with the game, and everything to do with your player and output: the version of PS3 you own, what is your TV’s aspect ratio, what cables you are using to connect, what TV model are you using, what resolution is the PS3 transmitting, etc.

      I bet Sony is watching this play out very carefully.

  5. ThisIsFate /

    ^ You da man! ^

  6. valleyshrew /

    I completed the game in HD on the ps3, with component cables (I have hdmi, but you can only record HD with component) and I experienced plenty of screen tearing. A lot of the people denying it probably don’t know what screen tearing is. I have recorded the entire game, 120gb of video files on my hard-drive, and there is plenty of screen tearing. I can upload a video if you want, but here’s an unaltered screenshot:



      why isn’t your screen at the correct resolution then ?
      you claim to have recordfed it in HD yet the screen is in SD …

      i call BS on this

      • valleyshrew /

        Have you used photobucket before? They automatically drop any image you upload to 800 pixels. It might have been a clue that 800×446 isn’t any known SD resolution. I told you I had a 720p video didn’t I?

        Around 28-30 seconds is where the screenshot is from, and there is more of it in that clip. Ignore the spoiler at the end, it’s fake.

        Here’s a slowed down video of it:

        It’s nothing to do with the capture device as it only happens on ffxiii and heavy rain, not the other games that I play.

    • Mystery /

      That’s not screen tearing. Your capture isn’t in HD resolution, so I imagine you’re capturing with a device that encodes on the fly (like a HAVA). The result is a blending of frames often seen when taking a 30fps source and encoding it to 29.97 fps (NTSC standard). FFXIII is vsyncd for the PS3 in HD, so it will drop frames before it tears a frame. I’ve noticed a few framerate dips especially when there are multiple close up shots of faces in a scene, but certainly nothing that is gamebreaking.

  7. half_empty80 /

    I have two thoughts about this subject, both of which would see people chuck stuff at me, so I’m staying quiet.

  8. Brian /

    Anyone crying about this should stop being cheap and buy an HDTV. You can get a decent one for cheap and that’s with 1080p. No excuses.

    • Shouldn’t matter … Unless it is explicitly stated on the hardware requirements for the PS3 manual that SDTV is NOT SUPPORTED for all platforms and software, then Sony And/Or Sqaure-Enix has an obligation to hear the people’s complaints, and resolve them as soon as possible.

  9. Foocr /

    Err… who’s still using an SDTV? Just shut up, go and upgrade, it’s worth it. FFXIII plays at 1080p

    • I do have a 24 inch 1089p TV but to be honest here i should go spend 300 Dollars on a TV cause its better.. dude there is more important things to use your money for then a TV like Bills, Food, Rent, Child care….

  10. I thought Final Fantasy XIII only ran at 576p, thus for not even making it HD in the first place? The case states it plays at 1080p though this was the case with Halo 3 too and that also only ran at 576p. So the game isn’t even HD on the 360.Correct me if I’m wrong?

    • That’s on the 360. If I’m not mistaken, it runs at a higher resolution on the PS3.

  11. cloud /

    pathetic & waste of time article obviously
    another one on the payroll

  12. AlphaOmega /

    To comment to mc, not everyone who has an hdtv is a spoiled brat as i work for a living and support a family of 4 and just happen to have 2 hdtv’s ( a 32 and a 46) and while it IS unfortunate that there is tearing on sdtv’s it should be noted that the PS3 and especially Final Fantasy XIII were designed to be played in High Definition. To me it is the equivalent of buying an F1 race car to drive in your neighborhood to work and the store. I mean, come on people. If you have an sdtv, then you should stick to the cheaper and less technologically advanced XBOX 360, or keep playing on your ps2. as far as square enix goes, I resent the fact that people (Ian) think that square is struggling with this generation of hardware when in fact, they are ignoring old technology (sdtv’s) to offer a quality game (best i have ever played) to a generation of gamers who have advanced to the next level of technology and want a product that takes advantage of the best hardware setups. To all who would complain i suggest going to the closest place you can find a straw and suck it up and buy an HDTV. Your PS3 and FFXIII deserve it. Or you can just stick to your last-gen xbox 360 and sdtv and quit complaining. I realize that there will be a flame war started over this post but the only complainers will be the poor(cheap) who obviously shouldnt be playing current gen video games anyways, or the Microsoft fanboys. If you cant afford next gen gaming, get a better job and pay our bills. learn to save. HDTV`s are cheap these days. if you can afford a 400 dollar gaming system and a 100 dollar game, you can surely afford 500 dollar hdtv. unless your parents bought your system for you… which case, you have no reason to complain.

    • Last Gen xbox 360? Considering all the power the ps3 has and so far only 2 great looking games came out for the system : Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2.. seems to me the xbox 360 is on par with the ps3… and will always be for miltiplatform gamesdude the xbox upscales all games to the resolution that you want..unlike the ps3…. I have a 1080p set and for some reason ps3 games won’t go to 180p unless i force it to.

  13. tarbis /

    Troll article, it’s obvious there would be some screen tearing on SDTV. HELLO!! IT’S NATIVE 720P!!!, and obviously you’re using a crappy HDTV. Get a new one. Not once did I even experienced screen tearing from playing FF in the PS3.

  14. To Alpha Omega fair coment but if companys only cater for the small percentage of ps3 ownefs who statistically own a hd tv then they are being silly and ignorant as you have worked for you tv which is fair enough but i haven’t the money and don’t intend to buy one just because ps3 puts out 1080p res as that is a trivial reason to by a console as i bought the ps3 as it is the superior machine and the games on ps3 are better.

    also take into account the fact that gaming stores are making it easier to purchase the ps3 so companys should jump on the band waggon and at the very least release a patch for sd gamers and then we would have nothing to discuss.

    Now you have to agree that what i have suggested is the easiest and fairest way to deal with issues like this instead of ignoring it as square enix and sony have done at this moment in time.

  15. I confirm this screen tearing on SD, as do many others on forums around the net. During action scenes the image becomes completely unwatchable.

    This is NOT a case of just “GET A HD TV”. It’s a case of Square-Enix standing up for their mistake of fuc*ing up the v-sync, thus rendering FF13 shitty in terms of enjoyment value for all the hundreds of thousands SD owners around the world. There will be heads rolling of this doesn’t get patched.

  16. Kratos /

    I can confirm this screen tearing on SD, as do many others on forums around the net. During action scenes the image becomes completely unwatchable.

    This is NOT a case of just “GET A HD TV”. It’s a case of Square-Enix standing up for their mistake of fuc*ing up the v-sync, thus rendering FF13 shitty in terms of enjoyment value for all the hundreds of thousands SD owners around the world. There will be heads rolling of this doesn’t get patched.


    Come on, I’m sure it’s not that bad. Screen tearing (for me) is definitely not a game ruining experience, especially for a game that is (supposedly) really good.

    • Kratos /

      How can it not be game ruining when key scenes become indecipherable? Why should any SD owner accept this, having payed ~$50 for the game? Why should ANY GAMER accept a shitty flaw like this, considering how long the game was in development, and standard testing among devs should eliminate cross resolution problems before a game is released? Admittedly the future is HD, but not yet. Just stop and think. THINK about it before getting cocky.

  18. ive been playin the game just fine and im pretty well into it…… looks nice as hell on my tv……not sure about sd…….but i can tell u this doesnt happen on a hdtv

  19. braveheart /

    Im playing it on an SD TV and am experiencing a lot of screen tearing, but its only on the CGI sequences and only when there is a lot going on on the screen, mainly bright flashing lights such as gun fire and explosions. Is it game ruining? No, but it does ruin that particular scene as it makes it unwatchable. It really shouldnt be allowed to happen when they’ve spent so long developing the game.

    As for those who say “suck it up and buy a HDTV”, seriously some of us work hard and have a life outside of gaming. I have a family to think of and Im moving home in a couple of months and shelling out £300 on a HD TV the size of my SD TV is just money I cant afford to be spending. The bottom line is this sort of sloppy development isnt acceptable and me having to pay £300 on top of a £40 game in order to enjoy it fully is just plain wrong.

  20. imsoforkingbeds /

    The PS3 is geared toward the next generation of gamers and the game looks great on an HD tv, Im loving it with no screen tearing. My only comment is to all the people saying upgrade, and PS3 wasn’t meant for SDTV, uummmm why is it packaged with AV cables then and no HD cables? just food for thought.And when games are testd they are tested in all resolutions so screen tearing to a large degree is unacceptable trust me, been there, ran the test plans. lmao

  21. waty123 /

    Contacted Square Enix EU support about this and these are the replies.

    “Dear customer,
    Thank you for contacting the Square Enix Support Centre,
    Unfortunatly, the minimal definition necessary to run the game is 720p, it cannot properly displayed in SD.
    Thank you again for contacting us and for you interest in Square Enix products!”

    “Dear customer,
    Thank you for contacting the Square Enix Support Centre,
    As the software doesn’t need to be installed on HD, there is no possibility to implement a patch on the game.
    Thank you again for contacting us and for you interest in Square Enix products!”

  22. I run FF13 on A 32″ 1080i and have no problems, but if you have a HDTV you should use a HDMI cable!!! They can be very cheep you don’t need a top all singing and dancing one.

  23. Solid Snake /

    It sucks I have only SD tv home and I am always moving so I can t buy a HDTV and bring it up with me wherever I go with my PS3!And there are games like killzone 2 and Uncharted 2 that have amazing graphics but still they run on SD perfectly!ok FFXIII has the best graphics I ve ever seen but isn t an excuse for this issue.

  24. elveter /

    uaheuhaeuhaeu..I can believe Im reading this S***HIT…

    If you whanto to play games whit SD graphics…buy one XPLODE360…

    PS3 is a HD console…

  25. Get off the damage control already. FFXIII is a PS3 game and there are so many 360 apologists trying to deny that fact. Aww you got a crap version of a game? Poor baby, and the PS3 version is outselling it 2 to 1? Cry me a river. I swear the only thing worse then the American 360 fanboys are you UK ones, the 360 is a good system, not a great one and certainly is not good enough to be the be all end all of game consoles. FFXIII was developed for 3 years as a PS3 exclusive and the 360 is just not capable of running a game specifically tailored towards the PS3. As for this SDTV issue while I feel for those with an SDTV this is an HD console, most companies dont even test a game made for PS3/360 in SD resolutions because the logic is that most of the owners bought an HD console to play in HD. (360 fanboys would be saying the same thing if it only affected 360’s).

  26. I have been playing the Ps3 version on and sdtv and yes I have had terrible screen tearing and jumpyness I was disgusted! I could’nt give a shit which is better xbox or ps3 but it takes the piss! someones to blame

    • Will H /

      Square Enix is to blame. I mailed them about it and they just replied that 720p is the minimun resolution for this game to display properly. Basically what they’re saying, although masked with a humble tone and lots of apologies, is that they don’t give a shit about all the massive amounts of SD owners who buy their game world wide. Apparently it’s our own fault for still owning SDTVs and now we got to accept a faulty gaming experience.

  27. Alkar /

    Well I guess SE messed up something. I’ve been playing the Japanese version of the game since December on my SDTV and I’ve never had any issue regarding screen tearing. Now I do with the English version.
    It’s not the PS3 to blame… SE just didn’t bother to check if changing something caused this issue.

  28. Myrmonden /

    Yeah I got this problem to on a 42 inch SDTV one of the reason I dont want to buy a hdtv sure they are “better” but the money to get the same inch says agian..size matters anyway.

    my screen tearing is useally when its white bright scene like the starting scene other wise it happens sometimes in the cut scene it dont make the game directly unplayable and after a while I got just to it, Stil its poor that they cant do any kind of update taht take care of the resolation problem

  29. HurpaDurpa /

    I don’t actually own a FF13 or pretend to play that game but doesn’t the “issue” resolve itself it you play it with a HDMi cable?

  30. I have a brand new PS3 slim bought it in febuary and im playing it on a HDTV Toshiba Regza with a HDMI cable which i bought brand new in october and it is still tearing have tried to copies of the game ITS A FUCKING DISGRACE! What can be done?

    • pidgeridoo /

      I know what you mean I’ve been playing in HD and noticed some screen tearing, it’s bad but not as bad as it is in SD. I wish they patch FF 13 but doesn’t look likely

  31. Played it on a 52″ samsung LCD Tv with and HDMI cable, 1080p ZERO screen tearing. The author is full of poop.

  32. ~NIN-com-poof~ /

    The unfinished war between ps3 and 360
    Has continued, but this time between console owners….
    who to believe in this VAST world of gaming……

  33. Teddy Triola /

    I m o arsenal should play 442 using d wings . Arteta is not fabregas

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