With Sony’s PlayStation 5 looking to raise the bar above and beyond the current-gen PS4, one of the things people will have their eagle eye on is the new machine’s Frames Per Second capabilities. But is there reason to be worried, with all this talk about 30 FPS being commonplace on PS5?
Alongside image resolution, one of the biggest indicators of the new Sony console's power will be how the PS5 fares in terms of frame rate capability.
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The current baseline for a game’s frame rate – basically, how smoothly the graphics run – is 30 Frames Per Second. Many were expecting that with next-generation power comes next-generation visual splendour, but now there's a lot of chat going on about 30 FPS continuing to be common even after the PS5 and Xbox Series X join the marketplace.
Here's what 30 FPS could mean for next-gen, and some thoughts on whether or not you need to be worried about the PS5 and Xbox Series X in terms of FPS...
Why is 30 FPS going to be common on PS5 and Xbox Series X?
As Eurogamer explained in a brilliant article on the matter (which also has a great video attached to it), "Sony kicked off its PS5 reveal with a short teaser for Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales - and the evidence suggests that developer Insomniac is sticking with the 30fps performance of the original game, even though the horsepower exists to double frame-rate to 60fps."
Although some gamers are worried about the idea of games sticking to 30 FPS rather than chasing the smoothness of 60 FPS, it's also possible to argue that there's more going on here. Historically, there's been something of a toss-up between great graphics and high frame rates, and different people will have different opinions on which of those they think is a higher priority.
On a game by game basis, this is something we should trust the professionals to decide upon. If developers are still happy working at 30FPS - perhaps because they want to use the PS5 or Xbox Series X's extra power for something other than increasing the frame rate - who are we to argue?
This certainly isn't the first we've heard of 30 FPS on next-gen. It has been suggested that Microsoft would like to see games running in 60FPS, but at the same time, we've already heard that Assassin's Creed Valhalla is going to be running at 30FPS when it launches on the Xbox Series X.
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Spider-Man: Miles Morales runs at 60 FPS in Performance Mode
While Miles Morales will run at 30 FPS, Insomniac has announced that the sequel can run at 60 FPS in 4K when played in the 'optional Performance Mode'.
Insomniac is yet to give any further clarification of when this Performance Mode can be activated, or what the downsides are, but given how impressive Miles Morales already looks, this can only be good news.
No other developers have announced their intentions to use a Performance Mode for 60 FPS, but we'll update this page if they do!
Is 30 FPS a good or bad thing for next-gen gaming?
If some developers want to stick with 30FPS for now, that could be a good thing: instead of spending lots of time and effort on frame rate, they could work on improving facial graphics or creating more complicated environments with more things going on.
Adjusting to a new generation of hardware will be a challenge for developers, and it should be interesting to see how different companies approach the possibilities of what next-gen consoles can do.
There are sure to be some developers that chase higher frame rates, while others push the capabilities of PS5 and Xbox Series X in other ways. And there will surely be developers that try a bit of both, perhaps offering a 'high-performance mode' on games where higher FPS is possible but not essential to the gameplay.
There's some hunger among gamers to be able to choose between high-performance FPS and high-quality graphics, especially if the new consoles aren't capable of delivering both at the same time (which only time will really tell).
Either way, the definition of a 'normal' next-gen game has not yet been decided, and it could be a real treat for gamers to play all the different upcoming games while developers get to grips with the new hardware.
After all, Frames Per Second is not the be all and end all. What we want is good games, and those come in lots of different shapes and sizes.
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