I spent a lot of money on TV. At the time of purchase, the LG C2 was considered one of the most advanced OLED displays in the world. I remember how excited I was when I took it home and set it up. The first thing I did out of the box was load Spider-Man: Miles Morales onto my PS5. It recently received a new Performance RT option that adds ray tracing to its 4k/60fps mode. I was blown away by the amazingly smooth and vibrant image. Driving around New York at 60 fps on such a beautiful display was practically a religious experience for me. I couldn’t be happier with the rest of the week watching 4K Blu-ray with my partner, and years later I’m still often confused about this OLED. In contrast, it took a week for my partner to realize it was a different TV.
It’s very disappointing to me that she can’t tell the difference between a broken 1080p Westinghouse TV I’ve had since college and a top-of-the-line 4K OLED. I hope she can appreciate faithfulness like I do. Deep, inky blacks, incredible dynamic range, and a flexible 120Hz refresh rate – but she can’t. Unless you put the two images side by side, she can’t discern why a high-performance display like the C2 is so good. Even then, a lot of nuance is lost.
There is a constant debate about the importance of technical specifications in gaming. Whenever an upcoming triple-A game unveils graphics options, there are always people moaning about it, and still others moaning about them. The discourse reignited this week when Bethesda revealed that Redfall would not support 60fps on Xbox at launch. People who care about that get upset, and people who don’t care think people who do care are overreacting. It seems that the position on the frame rate is each person’s opinion, but in reality, it is correct whether or not you can distinguish the difference between 30 fps and 60 fps.
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to oversimplify some of the complex neuroscience here. However, there are biological and conditional factors that affect whether or not someone is sensitive to high frame rates. Many of us are born with eyesight capable of recognizing different frame rates, but more of us have conditioned ourselves by the games we play. Anyone with a lot of experience in competitive first-person shooters, where high frame rates allow you to see and react to opponents faster, will instantly recognize 30fps gameplay. If you’ve only played Stardew Valley on the Switch, your brain isn’t trained the same way.
As a Counter-Strike kid who grew up with Overwatch and Apex Legends fiends, I’ve been playing games at the highest frame rates possible my entire life. Anything below 80 fps is recognizable, anything below 50 fps is annoying. Any kind of fast-moving action game, especially a shooter like Redfall, can’t be played at 30 fps. It will give me a headache and within minutes I’ll be nauseous.
That’s true for me, but not for everyone. If you can comfortably play and enjoy Redfall at 30 fps, I have no judgment. I don’t think you’re naive or less of a gamer, and I certainly don’t think you’re turning a blind eye to the difference. Myself and those who have trained their eyes for high frame rate games can see the difference and are affected differently than you.
Redfall criticism is fair. 60 fps is the industry standard for triple-A games in the current console generation, and it would be unacceptable for any of our Microsoft games to be released without it. To say you can’t play such a game at 30 fps isn’t stopping you. I am lucky to have a powerful PC. Because if I’m an Xbox player, I’ll have to wait to play Redfall until Arkane works. For me it’s an accessibility issue and announcing you don’t need 60 fps to enjoy the game is like announcing you don’t need colorblind mode. You may not care, but the people who need it do. It’s time to stop arguing. If framerate matters, it matters, if not, it doesn’t matter.
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