The Frame Rate Debate - A Pixelated View

Xbox One

The Frame Rate Debate

Thirty frames per second; that is the the framerate per second (FPS) that console gamers are accustomed to. On the PC on the other hand, framerates that dip to or below 30 are deemed unacceptable. Having a 30 FPS on the previous generation was something that most people were ok with. However, now with the release of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, many gamers are feeling a bit disappointed  that games on the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One  hardware are running at 30 FPS.

Is it still acceptable to be gaming in the year 2014 at 30 FPS? Should gamers pay hundreds of dollars for new hardware and play their games at 30 FPS instead of 60 FPS? While there are and will be more 60 FPS games on the next gen consoles, many of the first games released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One  came at a lock of 30 FPS. Many gamers want games to run at 1080p/60 FPS, but are not getting much of either.

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So why do some games not run at 60 FPS but others do? Often times developers want to increase the aesthetics of a game, and compromises are made. If a game is to look better and become a show piece for the hardware, framerate tends to be lowered. Since many gamers first experience swith a game tends to be an image posted at a gaming website or a trailer on Youtube (which is locked at 30 FPS), many publishers and journalist don’t spend much time letting gamers know how the game will run but instead focus on how the game will look; and there lies the problem.

Too often is the games aesthetics and the resolution it runs on is the main selling point. Take a look at news about upcoming games for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and often the resolution is mentioned first over the framerate or the framerate is ignored completely. Reviewers not talking about the technical  aspects of games is a disservice to the gamers and does not hold game publishers and developers accountable.

The main difference between framerates in video games and film is that in video games the player is not playing from a fixed perspective and a delay in feedback and response is noticeable. The input lag in a game that is running at 60 FPS is going to be lower that in a game that is running at 30 FPS, assuming that the game is coded correctly.  The higher the framerate, the lower the input lag. This reduction of input lag makes the game run better and is noticeable to gamers.

Games this day and age need to run as smooth as possible to increase the gaming experience. I would rather play a game at 720p and at 60 FPS rather than playing a game at 1080p but at 30 FPS. Unfortunately, being mainly a console gamer I do not get that choice. PC gamers can choice to play their games at lower setting to increase framerate. Of course if the pc gamer has a good gaming rig lowering the settings is not necessary. Console gamers don’t have that choice. Which is why I believe developers need to give console gamers the choice to lower the settings, such as having a lower resolution to increase the framerate.

Is it still acceptable to be gaming in the year 2014 at 30 FPS? That is a question only the individual can answer. For those who say “no”, there should be the choice to increase the framerate, PC gamers already have that choice, it is time for console gamers to have that choice too.'

About Jose Aranda