This article is fueled by my growing frustrations with both gamers of all video game system which includes PC’s and the industry marketing heads who are constantly exploiting the ignorance of these gamers to no end. I find it as annoying as skinny jeans and sagging, it’s that bad, yet a lot of you out their use it as a measure of greatness or ‘coolness’ much like skinny jeans, not realizing how stupid it really is. It’s gotten to the point that developers are using it as a selling point to attract attention to their games when they too know it’s a play on vanity rather then substance. It’s gotten so bad and I can’t sit back in silence no more!
60fps (frames per second) is a bunch of hype! There, I said it and I mean it!
It started as the product of a bunch of fanboys on the PC side of the video game industry who spend tons of money seeing who can build the ‘ultimate machine’ These fanboys then run software test to see how many frames per second their ‘dream machines’ are pushing. It’s a way for these ‘enthusiasts’ to brag about their machine, it had or has NOTHING to do with overall gameplay nor guarantees the greatness of a game. This 60fps ‘PC gold standard’ soon became PC gamers biggest defense which was born out of fear due to the rising popularity of video game consoles and their fans. You would hear it all the time ‘your little Playstation can’t pump out 60 frames per seconds’ It didn’t matter if the game was a groundbreaking experience, as long as it was not pushing 60fps it was somehow considered inferior in the eyes of PC gamers.
It became the last battle cry from PC gamers who were watching their gaming market shrink in the presence of Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.
Still, gamers are suckers for ‘POWER’ and proving one system as being more powerful then the other makes for great bragging rights and soon spread it’s infectious ways to the fanboys of video game consoles. Again, it’s a question that everyone debates about and fuels fanboys around the world. I, personally, find it very funny due to it’s irrelevance in video game history. From the Atari to the Coleco Vision to the Nintendo to the Saturn, etc. EVERY system had great games from multiple genres and the majority of them DID NOT run at 60 frames per second! Heck, no one even knew what 60 frames per second was nor cared for that matter.
So here we are about to walk through a brand new door of gaming experiences via the Xbox One and the PS4 and again the fanboys are making noise about games running at 60 frames per second with a resolution of 1080p. It’s gotten so bad that developers are feeling the need to meet these over hyped specs at the expense of solid overall gameplay.
Why I consider 60fps a bunch of hype and you should too?
Before video games became a household item visual entertainment was mainly derived from watching television or going to the movies. Both options were great but watching a movie offered not only a bigger experience but also a different ‘look’ as compared to television. This ‘look’ is called a cinematic presentation. It’s a unique look and is the result of a specific frame rate found in movies which is 24fps. A lot of people can’t explain why a movie looks like a ‘movie’ but they love the look, well now you know.
There is another frame rate that results in a look many of us have seen but probably never understood why. It’s the look you see during a sporting event such as an NFL football game or your evening news.This look is the result of a specific frame rate which happens to be 30fps and sometimes 60fps. This particular frame rate makes the viewing experience more like a live event. Due to more frames being shown per second the movement is more fluid or smooth which takes away the cinematic look of a movie.
Now that you know the visual differences of 24fps vs 30fps, 24fps as being the ‘movie look’ while 30fps as being the ‘video look’ you can understand why I feel people crying for games to be 60fps are mostly fanboys and are ignorant. Why would you want a game that is suppose to be presented in the form of an epic movie played at 60fps totally destroying the cinematic experience? Games like Halo and Killzone are perfect examples of movie quality games and should be presented as such. As soon as you change the frame rate to 60fps it becomes double that of video! (30×2=60) which makes the game look like…a VIDEO game.
You can see this right now by looking at side by side comparisons of Call of Duty Ghost running at 60fps and Killzone Shadow Fall running at 30fps- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BwNACBsDwQ. Hopefully you can now see the difference and know why the difference is there. Hopefully, you will also agree, Killzone Shadow Fall looks far more appealing due to it’s cinematic look, a result of it’s 30fps frame rate.
Still not convinced? If you have a blu-ray player and a state of the art flat screen monitor go to the settings on your blu-ray player and see what the frame rate is set to. You may be shocked or ignorant of the fact that a lot of people are looking at their Blu-Ray movies with a frame rate set at 60fps which, again, is NOT the frame rate a movie should be viewed at. Go into your Blu-Ray settings and change the rate to 24p. After doing so, take a look at one of your favorite movies. This is how a movie is to be viewed, all because of the frame rate. You can thank me later.
Another problem of 60fps is the amount of CPU power it requires. Fanboys and those of you who think a big number makes all the difference don’t realize the compromise developers make at the expense of gameplay to hit that ‘magical’ 60fps mark. The biggest compromise is with artificial intelligence. It’s exactly why a game such as Call of Duty is full of unintelligent enemy A.I. The enemies basically spawn in at a certain location and do the same thing over and over and over. On the other hand, a game such as HALO has amazing replay value due to Bungie and now 343 Industries not giving in to the 60fps gloss over game play substance via it’s amazing artificial intelligence algorithms and stable large scale encounters. Here’s a reference for you to chew on – 30fps Perfect for HALO
Not only will 60fps compromise artificial intelligence, it will also compromise real time effects such as lighting, physics, and particle effects. There is no doubt that the Xbox One and PS4 are going to be very powerful machines however, their power will not be unlimited and 60fps with a resolution of 1080p should not be the standard nor become the selling point of a game.
I hope at this point you now realize 60fps is NOT solely needed to determine a system’s worth nor a games validity. 60fps is no different then an artist choosing to use watercolors for one painting and oils for the other. One should expect a game like Madden Football to play at 60fps because it’s simulating a live sporting event while a game such as HALO or Killzone on the other hand, is better presented as 30fps which is closer to 24fps resulting in a cinematic look.
Of course this is all subject to artistic interpretation, vision, and the imagination of the developers. They ultimately choose how to make their respective games, all I ask is for developers not to take advantage of the ignorant gamers who fall for the ‘big number’ marketing and also not to give into fanboys who constantly fan the flames of this ignorant 60fps type of thinking.