Having promised that PlayStation 5 Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) support was “on the horizon” back in March, Sony is now preparing to roll out VRR to end user this week. There will be system level support for VRR when paired with an HDMI 2.1 VRR-compatible TV or monitor, but games will also want to be patched to fully optimise for VRR.
Virtual Refresh Rate is a relatively recent innovation for consoles, with TVs and PC monitors able to vary the rate at which they refresh away from fixed values – most commonly 60Hz on PC – and sync each refresh to a frame update from a PC or console. This has multiple benefits, from minimising frame pacing issues and screen tearing (where a frame is rendered between refreshes), to reducing input lag as the screen is refreshed more closely to your inputs.
The following games will be updated to optimise their support for VRR “in the coming weeks”:
- Astro’s Playroom
- Call of Duty: Vanguard
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
- Destiny 2
- Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
- DIRT 5
- Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
- Resident Evil Village
- Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
- Tribes of Midgard
These games will native support added to them, likely offering new options to unlock frame rates in certain performance modes so that they can run at more than 60fps. However, VRR can also be applied to any game that is being run on PS5, regardless of built in support. This should still have various benefits in aiding frame pacing and reducing any screen tearing, but unoptimised games will stick to whatever performance targets they have as normal.
Once updated, you’ll be able to find the VRR options under the Screen and Video section of the system settings.
It’s kind of wild that it’s taken Sony this long to enable VRR support, considering that the tech has been in place for a good few years now. The Xbox Series X has had VRR support since launch, and there’s been a growing number of TVs supporting it – the commonly held suspicion is that VRR has been held back as Sony’s own TVs have not had VRR support.
VRR first emerged as a mainstream gaming option with Nvidia’s G-Sync in 2014, quickly followed by a more open Freesync standard from AMD in 2015. Freesync was enabled to work over various HDMI interconnects, so long as the connected GPU and monitor supported it, and this allowed Microsoft to support VRR on Xbox One X via HDMI 2.0. However, HDMI 2.1 added its own native VRR system that has become the standard for TVs to support.