One of the biggest factors that gamers consider while purchasing their gaming consoles and the overall setup is the graphics and display quality. Indeed, it is something that can either make or break the whole gaming experience for somebody.
The most crucial aspect the determines the performance of the graphics of any setup is the frame rate per second (FPS). While most people are wary of the technical intricacies, the FPS is what ensures that the user experience is smooth and runs without any glitches.
What is Frame Rate?
Simply put, the frame rate is the number of fresh images that are displayed every second on your screen. This technology applies not only to gaming but to every single visual experience that depends on moving images like movies, television, and videos. In these, the number of frames ranges from the basic 24 at which the human eye perceives the smooth movement of an object to 30 per second.
In gaming, the frame rate takes on an interesting turn since the average number of frames for video games should at least be 30 fps and ideally 60 per second, with dynamic variations at every possible moment, since the graphics are not usually pre-rendered. For those who don’t know what rendering is, it is the automatic process by which a computer program synthesizes images from a 2D or 3D models.
The frame rate of a console determines the visual smoothness of a particular game; this is one of the primary reasons why the same game looks and feels different when played on different types of consoles. The general consensus is that 60 fps is the bare minimum for fast-playing titles that depend chiefly on player reflex, like Fortnite or Call of Duty, for example.
With the onset of a newer generation of consoles every passing couple of years, the expectations from and promises of the hardware keep climbing. Right now, the PS5 and Xbox Series X claim to be able to play scenes at 120 fps. However, it is important to note that most consoles set an upper limit cap of 30-60 fps. This creates a stable and consistent user experience through both phases of the in-game demand- the relatively calm scenes and the action, even though the console might be capable of much more.
Frame Rate in PS4
With the Sony PS4, you can expect any game on the console to run at anywhere between 30 frames per second and 60 frames per second. Although there have been claims that the hardware can support the running of video games at around 100 fps too, as mentioned before, the developers laid the cap at 60 fps.
For individual games, the fps depends on two main things- the graphics required and the native resolution of the particular video game. As a rule of thumb, games that have higher graphics and native resolution usually run at a lower frame rate than their less complex counterparts. This is why changing the display resolution on certain games when available leads to differences in the number of frames per second.
Frame Rate in Xbox
By and large, the Xbox is comparable in graphics performance to the PS4 on almost all fronts. The story about the frames per second is almost identical too since the maximum output that you can get from the Xbox is limited to 60 frames per second. Also, games that are released on multiple platforms work at the same frame rate across the different consoles.
The frame rate of the Xbox One S has been capped at 30fps with a resolution of 1080p for a couple of reasons, the most important one being that it is meant to be connected to the TV for playing, which makes it susceptible to more noticeable quality differences. On the other hand, the Xbox One X has 4k resolution at 60fps.
Frame Rate in Switch
The Nintendo Switch, with all of its versatility, generally doesn’t perform as well as the PS4 and Xbox One when it comes to the frame rate and graphic experience. The in-built 720p screen maxes out at 1080p when connected to a TV screen, but most games on Switch run at 60 frames per second when docked. However, in the handheld mode, most developers lower both the frame rate and the resolution to 30 fps and 720p, respectively.
Frame Rate in PC
It is in PC gaming that most gamers will notice that the frame rate makes a significant difference. Usually, the number of frames per second will vary with the configuration of the hardware, and theoretically, most computers are powerful enough to display hundred of images per second.
But the reality is a little bit different because just like the developer’s upper limit cap on consoles, the fps in PCs is limited by the refresh rate of the monitor. The refresh rate of most available monitors these days is around 144 Hertz, so you should ideally be able to run games at 144 fps too.
If you use the V-sync option in the settings, however, computer games limit the number of frames per second between 30 fps and 60 fps to ensure a smoother, more consistent, and glitch-free gaming experience without overloading the CPU. Unlike in gaming consoles, these limits are pretty easy to remove. This means that your PC might allow you to play video games at above 100 fps too, which is why the PC experience for a game is considered far superior to consoles.