What Does “FPS” Stand for in Games?

Gaming On Pc
Quick Answer

The acronym “FPS” can refer to “first-person shooter” games (a video game genre) or the “frames per second” a GPU is capable of producing.

While both are valid, FPS is more commonly used as the general term relating to frame rate.

Keep reading as we explore these subjects and how they relate to gaming.

First-Person Shooter (Genre)

First-person shooter games are one of the most common genres for gaming. This genre has players go through the game, seeing what the character would see from a first-person perspective.

While there are several first-person games out there (such as Portal), first-person shooter games focus heavily on shooting, and players need to master that skill to progress.

First-person shooter games are popular with eSports, and some of the most popular titles include:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Call of Duty
  • Battlefield

This is one of the most extensive genres, and there are thousands of FPS titles for all game systems.

Frames Per Second (Graphics Performance)

FPS can also refer to frames per second, and it is a measurement of the number of images a GPU can produce in one second.

Generally ‌, a higher FPS is contingent with smoother movement and a more enjoyable gaming experience. Most movies are filmed at 24 FPS, but games require higher FPS to allow more accurate reactions and a more immersive experience.

FPS Ratings

While it is impossible to maintain a specific frame rate with complete stability, there are rating brackets that most systems fall into. These depend on the number of frames that graphics cards can render in a single second, but they also rely on a monitor that can display that information.

Each tier has its uses, ranging from casual to professional gaming, and you will find that bigger is not necessarily better.

30 FPS

Most console games have a frame rate of around 30 FPS, and you are likely to see this with PCs of lower quality.

This is considered the bare minimum for gaming, but you should not notice a drop in performance until you fall below 20 FPS.

60 FPS

For most games, 60 FPS is all you need. While some well-optimized console games achieve this rate, you usually need a decent gaming PC to get 60 FPS consistently.

Regular monitors and televisions also max out at 60 FPS, and a higher-end GPU will be limited to this frame rate if the monitor is not up to par.

120 FPS

While you can achieve 120 FPS, this frame rate requires a high-end gaming PC connected to a 144Hz refresh rate monitor.

The most immediate difference between 60 and 120 FPS is that the higher frame rate runs much smoother. Gaming enthusiasts prefer this, but the required hardware comes at a price.

240 FPS

The differences between 240 FPS and 120 FPS are challenging to detect, but gamers at this level benefit from better reaction times and have the slightest edge over the competition. In games that come down to a fraction of a second, 240 FPS can be the difference between victory and loss.

Because 240 FPS capable components are much more expensive, it is uncommon to see this frame rate outside professional gaming.

Benefits of Higher FPS

There are many reasons you would want a higher FPS. This allows for a smoother view of the game, and it allows you proper time to react to situations and signals.

Most players can get by with 60 FPS, but pros know the difference.

Higher FPS allows you to:

  • See more frames,
  • React swiftly,
  • Observe and analyze with clarity.

Higher FPS is also preferred for single-player games because it creates a smoother and visually appealing experience.

When Lower FPS is Better

If you find that your system is struggling to maintain a specific frame rate, regardless of the reason, you can cap the FPS to create a more manageable situation. This lets you move through the game smoothly, and your experience will not be interrupted by sudden frame rate drops.

Immersion is another main reason to lower your FPS. Because most films are at 24 FPS, dropping to 30 can provide a more cinematic feel. It also works better for older games that do not use motion capture technology.

How to Test Your FPS

Using Steam, you can check the frame rate counter overlay ‌in the bottom right-hand corner to check the frame rate outside of a game.

NVIDIA GeForce™ users can go to “Settings” – “Share” – “Overlays” and find the FPS counter. You can also set the frame rate for optimizing certain games.

How to Increase Your FPS

Before you run out and purchase a new monitor, try these tips:

  • Drop resolution display settings to lower contrast
  • Overlock your hardware
  • Use PC optimization software to adjust FPS

If these do not help, a monitor with a faster Hz can only help if your graphics card is up to par. If not, the journey to higher FPS can be quite a costly one. Make sure it is worth the price before investing.

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