Gamers with a keen eye for detail and smooth gameplay visuals will no doubt have had their eyes on the fact the PS5 doesn’t offer support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). Fortunately, Sony has plans to shorten the gap between the PS5 and Xbox Series X by bringing VRR to the next-gen console in a future update.
Sony has officially confirmed the plan for VRR to be included on the PS5. HDMI 2.1 is a big component of the next-gen consoles, and with that comes support for advanced features like VRR.
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To understand why VRR is an important addition, users are going to need to understand exactly what it does. Basically, when playing a game, there are two frame rates at play. The game’s output frame rate and then the supported frame rate of the display that the console is connected to.
With most last-gen games, the targeted frame rate is usually 30FPS. This means that gamers with displays offering a 60Hz frame rate (which is the base of most TVs available in the past several years) don't need to worry about screen tearing, or any other visual bugs of that nature. Because the game’s output frame rate is lower than the display’s, the screen is able to render everything smoothly.
Now that many games are targeting higher frame rates—like the 120FPs that the PS5 and Xbox Series X tout—gamers with displays that max out at 60Hz frame rates will start to see screen tearing and other video issues as the game is outputting the frames faster than the screen can register them.
With VRR, the console will lower the amount of frames being output to match the display’s frame rate, which in turn will allow for a smoother experience without issues like artifacting, lag, or judder.
Support for VRR is one of the few things that has made the Xbox Series X stand out from the PS5 in some regard. Now that Sony has confirmed the inclusion of this feature in a later update, PlayStation fans can rest assured knowing that they will be able to play PS5 games with the smoothest possible frame rates supported by the console and their displays.
Of course, VRR is only a viable option if the display being used supports it; something that gamers will want to keep in mind when picking up a next-gen console in the future.