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Digital Foundry: Why the return of 30fps console games is inevitable

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Get used to it, buy a monster PC or miss out on some of the best games. Those are the options. Fast paced genres that benefit more from a smoother framerate will obviously get 60fps options as they generally have.

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I've been gaming for a long time and when I grew up, 30fps was the standard and I've grown very accustomed to 30fps in video games and I think it's perfectly acceptable to have a game at 30fps in this day and age as the benchmark. Almost all the best games I've ever played were only 30fps and that's totally fine by me. 

 

60fps, while being a nice thing to have, I don't see it as something that's absolutely necessary to have for most games. For faster paced games like high-action FPS's and racing games, 60fps would definitely improve the gameplay and experience but for most other games like Gotham Knights or God of War even that are more moderately paced, I just don't see how 60fps would directly improve those games anything beyond slightly. Gotham Knights is not the greatest game in the world and it's not because it's only 30fps, nor would it being 60fps magically make it a better game. Ragnarok will give players the option to play at a multitude of different performance settings and whether you play it at the 30fps mode or 60fps mode or 120fps mode, it's going to be a good experience regardless of what mode you play it in because the game itself, safe to assume, is going to be extremely good. 

 

When it comes to performance and graphics, I think we're at the point where we're really pulling hairs. Minor discrepancies are now viewed as much bigger issues. How blades of grass move when your character walks in it and how well the water looks are now actual topics being discussed about modern video games. Those things, as minor as they are to me, now matter and matter a lot to many people. The aesthetics of a game now mean almost as much as the game itself does, it definitely was not always this way and the industry has definitely shifted to accommodate these new expectations. Graphics and performance are improving gradually but not fast enough to meet the current demand and expectations of the player base. So naturally when the industry is seeing a reversion back to a 30fps standard, it's going to be met with quite a bit of backlash. Even if this reversion means getting better graphics at the hands of a better engine and ultimately better games down the road, some people aren't going to accept the sacrifice of their precious framerate to make it happen, even if it is only temporary. 

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16 minutes ago, SnowxSakura said:

It is very noticeable when you can switch between quality and performance on games. 30 FPS is choppy compared to 60 fps


We must be a different species when it comes to vision/processing speed. I’ve literally never noticed it, I’ve starred at the Performance vs Resolution/Quality modes in games like HFW and GT7 like a baby mesmerised by jiggling keys and while the resolution jump is easy to see, the frame rate I never notice a difference in at all.

 

I mean, sure, I understand the concept and can spot when a frame rate is choppy (i.e. a 30fps game drops below 20fps for a second - looking at you SFV - and I’m sure that’s a lot more of an eyesore than when a 60fps game drops to 50fps) but when it’s a smooth/consistent framerate I may as well flip a coin to tell you what’s 60fps and what’s 30fps.

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I was always of the mindset that 30fps was okay, but the opening year or two of the PS5 has spoiled me a bit.  As we muddle through an age of most developers trying to latch onto the Soulslike trend in their respective genres... and the majority of them not understanding what makes Soulslikes fun, missing the mark horribly, and the games suffering for it with aggressive and befuddling difficulty... every frame and every millisecond is increasingly necessary.

 

That being said, I'm still fine with 30fps as long as it's because developers are experimenting with new technologies and genuinely trying to take graphics to the next level.  It happening on mediocre looking games due to poor optimization and general laziness isn't okay.

Edited by Dreakon13
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in order to get a true next gen experience that takes advantage of the PS5 hardware, 30fps is the only way, like it was in every generation, and I have absolutely NO problem with that, I can't wait to see more Unreal Eninge 5 games

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Most people don't care or even notice. Coming from higher frame rates to 30fps is very noticeable imo, but i quickly get use to it. 30fps is only bad when the game has input lag because it's pretty much never fixed, I've only seen its fixed once and that was on Rise of the Tomb Raider, and completely eliminated on PS4 Pro which received a performance mode. Digital Foundry talked about it

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Frame timing is crucial for framerates and perceived smoothness.  Bloodborne is notorious for inconsistent frame pacing, and while I can adjust to it, it's definitely not ideal.

 

The whole 30 vs. 60 debate (or 120) I feel is most apparent when quickly toggling between one or the other in games where it's an option.  Personally, as someone who also games on PC, I'm always going to prefer higher framerates over lower.  But the brain will adjust and when presented with a 30 FPS title I'm not going to poo-poo it unless the framepacing is noticeably off.

 

I survived the original Dark Souls PC port which was locked to 30FPS, hah!

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50 minutes ago, Tsundokuist said:


We must be a different species when it comes to vision/processing speed. I’ve literally never noticed it, I’ve starred at the Performance vs Resolution/Quality modes in games like HFW and GT7 like a baby mesmerised by jiggling keys and while the resolution jump is easy to see, the frame rate I never notice a difference in at all.

 

I mean, sure, I understand the concept and can spot when a frame rate is choppy (i.e. a 30fps game drops below 20fps for a second - looking at you SFV - and I’m sure that’s a lot more of an eyesore than when a 60fps game drops to 50fps) but when it’s a smooth/consistent framerate I may as well flip a coin to tell you what’s 60fps and what’s 30fps.

GTA online on the ps5 is the easiest to test, you can easily tell the difference between quality vs performance. It is a night and day difference in how smooth it is between those 2

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If the game doesn't tie logic to frame rate, then there absolutely should always be an option to unlock the frame rate. This easily future-proofs the games for when they can be played on a more powerful hardware. For some reason the developers refuse to use this option, so there should at least be some sort of a performance mode which downgrades the resolution to 1440/1080p while unlocking the frame rate. This way you please both crowds for not much added work.

 

For people claiming they don't see a difference between 30 and 60 fps - not only does 30 fps look less smooth but is also less responsive to player input (more input delay).

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5 minutes ago, Skurkitty said:

People keep saying "I'm used to 30fps, it's fine". No it's not, stop selling yourself short. It's 2022/2023, you deserve better. PCs are going 244FPS+. You are accepting LESS than 15% of that, your PS5 is capable of 120fps, Ragnarok, Dirt, R6 Siege, CoD, etc etc, they're all showing you that. Stop accepting decade old standards, again, you deserve better.

 

This is just another reason why I don't care because I'm always being scolded at by others that I should. 

 

I can notice a difference between 30fps and 60fps, anything beyond 60fps I cannot differentiate. 60fps and 120fps may as well be the same. Even if you gave me a side-by-side comparison to analyze, I couldn't tell you which is which with infallible accuracy and most other people couldn't either, let alone to try tell the difference while in the middle of playing a game. It may be a bigger number on paper and therefore, technically better obviously, but if the average human eye can't even differentiate any difference then what is the point of having triple digit framerates and for this to be something that is absolutely necessary and strived for if any difference and improvement is almost entirely negligible to almost all people? Again, we're pulling hairs here. It's a problem that I literally can't see. 

 

Considering that, I think it's very easy to see why some people don't care about the discrepancy between 30fps and 60fps. It doesn't serve as that big of an improvement to the fundamental quality of most games going from 30 to 60 and that improvement is even more far less noticeable the higher you go. Of course I'd want the highest framerate and performance possible, who wouldn't? Everybody always wants what they don't have and will always take the best possible option if available. But at the same time, I don't need that to enjoy a game or not. That aspect of gaming doesn't work into my opinion of the game itself as much as it does others. Call it having low standards or whatever you want, my opinion on that will never change. 

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28 minutes ago, Gildo1993 said:

 

My grandma can't tell, as can't my father. Can't say the same for gamers though. If a person that actively games can't tell the difference between 30 and 60 fps, well, then chances are serious sight problems could be the culprit.

 

I don't think it's really an eyes thing, so much as a "feel" thing for me.

 

I have 20-20, and while I can tell the difference most of the time, it's generally by the "feel" of playing, rather than purely visually - I'm not necessarily confident I could tell steady 30 from steady 60 if it was purely two videos of the same game being played, for example. 

 

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32 minutes ago, Skurkitty said:

Ragnarok, Dirt, R6 Siege, CoD

 

These are all cross-gen titles with PS4 versions. That's the point, just as Richard explained in the article. 

 

The Matrix Awakens demo shows that the new technology is pretty demanding, as it runs at 30fps on PS5. If a developer aims for similar quality, they can forget about a 120fps mode. And the other way around. 

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11 minutes ago, KingGuy420 said:

I've never understood the "we need high framerates" crowd. High framerate doesn't automatically make a game good. Who gives a shit. Most of the widely considered "best games ever" didn't run at 60fps.

 

The obsession over it, when it's been roundly proven to not matter at all, is just mind-boggling.

A lot of "best games ever" also don't look "amazing" anymore (if they even were considered technical marvels back in the day), so the graphical fidelity also doesn't matter. Surprisingly, what makes a good game is the actual gameplay and content, not graphics and frame rate.

 

I wouldn't boycott a game just because it runs 30 fps, hell, most of my favourites struggle to even maintain 30. But there's no denying playing a game at higher frame rates is a different experience, just like with 4k vs 1080p but from a bit different angle.

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