This generation has given us the most powerful consoles ever- consoles powerful enough that their hardware can legitimately be put towards delivering better games to the player. And yet, all of that extra power seems to have been put towards rendering more lines and dots on screen- even as the rendering resolution for games has become a talking point for just about everybody involved in the industry, other improvements to games that can tangibly effect gameplay, such as framerate, have been ignored or downplayed.
This is indeed verifiable- take a look at the lineup of the PS4, and you will see developers emphasizing a 1080p resolution over 60 frames per second- even Sony’s own first party games rarely hit the 60 frames mark. In an interview with Shahid Kamal Ahmad, former Director of Strategic Content for PlayStation, now working at Double Eleven as part of its advisory board, we brought this question up, especially given how he once famously tweeted a tweet encouraging developers to prioritize framerate. That obviously does not seem to have happened- what is his takeaway from that?
“Ha! You never know what people will latch onto,” he said, referring to the tweet in question. “My Twitter account is my personal account. I’ve expressed opinions there that aren’t company policy. It’s not actually the first time I’ve tweeted that funnily enough. 60fps has always been my personal preference and I’m sure many gamers would prefer a game that runs at 60fps than at 30fps or even slower, so I stand by my preference for sure! I remember tweeting something else, more work related about how you’d be hearing about 1080p and 60fps a lot more often this generation, and that has certainly proven to be the case. As devs become more familiar with the PS4 hardware I’m sure you’ll see even more.”
Hopefully, Shahid is right- given the choice between 1080p and 60fps, I will always go for 60fps. Sony’s games like Bloodborne could have benefitted from a higher framerate, and it was disappointing to see Naughty Dog backtrack on their implicit promise of 60fps for their games after the excellent The Last of Us Remastered, and revert to 30fps for Uncharted 4– just to be able to deliver the kinds of graphics they were aiming for at 1080p. Maybe the upcoming rumored PS4K will be able to help developers balance resolution and framerate better than the current PS4 hardware does.