When it comes to gaming, there are all sorts of things to consider. But one of the most important things is frame rate. A choppy or low frame rate will impair one’s video game enjoyment more than almost anything else. So, what is a reasonable frame rate to shoot for when it comes to gaming?
Ideally, you would want to shoot for at least 60 FPS when gaming. This is the best frame rate. This does not mean you have to have 60 FPS to play a game, but the frame rate will provide you with the smoothest and most enjoyable experience. We’ll explain why this is the case down below.
What is FPS?
You probably already know this if you are looking into gaming, but understanding what frame rate means helps explain why you should shoot for 60. FPS stands for “frames per second.” It denotes how many images can be displayed on your screen in a single second. How it plays into your perception of a game depends on how many frames a second you’re getting.
Years ago, it was widely believed that the human eye could only perceive 30 FPS maximum. But in reality, the human eye can only perceive 10 to 12 frames. But all of those extra frames are perceived as motion, so there’s still a big difference between 15 FPS and 60 FPS.
Technically, the frame rate does not affect how fast things move. It only affects how smoothly things appear to move. There’s an excellent video here that showcases the difference in 15, 30, 60, and 120 FPS.
If you watch it, you will see that the balls in the video are all moving at different frame rates. Even though the movement of the lower FPS balls is choppier, the balls are moving at the same speed and hitting the edges of the screen at the same time.
Watching this video, we can understand why you may assume that 120 FPS is the ideal frame rate for gaming. But there are some excellent reasons why this is not necessarily the case.
When is a Difference Noticeable?
Games were played at 30 FPS for years, and it’s a perfectly viable frame rate to play games at even today. Believe it or not, most movies and animation are only delivered to your eyes at 24 FPS. However, it’s worth noting that a lack of human participation makes it easier to consider such a frame rate “acceptable.”
Below 30 FPS would strike most players as choppy and difficult to enjoy. But what about gaming at 60 FPS? There is a noticeable difference in smoothness between 30 and 60 FPS that would make 60 FPS significantly more enjoyable.
But then, 120 FPS should be even smoother and more enjoyable, right? The thing is, once you hit a certain degree of smoothness, going beyond it yields nearly imperceptible improvements. The truth is that most players can barely notice a difference between 60 FPS and 120 FPS. But then, why not just game at 120 FPS anyway?
Why is 60 FPS Better Than 120 FPS?
To say that 60 FPS is better than 120 FPS is not necessarily accurate. Technically, 120 FPS is better. But 60 FPS is more feasible and accessible to gamers at large. Considering the almost imperceptible advantage of 120 FPS compared to 60, the effort required to produce 120 FPS is rarely worth it.
The first thing to consider is that you only need a 60Hz monitor or TV to play games at 60 FPS, but you need a 120Hz monitor or TV to play games at 120 FPS. A 60Hz monitor is much cheaper and more accessible to your average gamer.
On top of that, it requires more powerful, more expensive hardware to produce 120 FPS, especially if you are playing games with extremely good graphics. On the other hand, the hardware required to produce 60 FPS is much cheaper.
Producing 120 FPS for a graphically demanding game requires a powerful GPU, a 120Hz monitor, and a 120Hz monitor capable of vertical synchronization technology in some cases.
Overall, 60 FPS provides performance that will be mostly the same as 120 FPS as far as the average gamer is concerned and with much lower hardware requirements, which is much less expensive.
Is There a Reason to Go 120 FPS or Higher?
So, let’s assume that money is no object, and you could get any hardware you want. Is there an actual advantage to playing games at 120 FPS or higher? Well, technically speaking, there is some slight advantage to take into consideration.
Suppose you are playing a game that is dependent on a high frame rate (usually a competitive multiplayer shooter). In that case, the difference between 120 FPS and 60 FPS will give you a very slight edge over players with a lower frame rate than you.
Believe it or not, some E-sports competitive players operate at insane framerates like 240 or even 360 FPS. But the competitive edge that would provide to a player would be literal milliseconds, something your average gamer would have almost no chance to even take advantage of or notice at all.
That being said, is there a benefit to playing at 120 FPS? Sure, technically. But is that benefit worth the cost of getting 120 FPS or higher capable hardware? For 99% of gamers, not really.
60 FPS is the ideal middle ground of frame rates for playing a game. It’s noticeably smoother than 30 FPS but not noticeably inferior to 120 FPS. The hardware required to produce 60 FPS for most games is affordable and accessible to most gamers.
There is some very slight competitive edge from 120 FPS or higher, but it is almost entirely negligible for all but the most hardcore competitive gamers.