2020 was the year 60 FPS gaming finally got to shine on consoles
Console players have had a very hit-or-miss relationship with playing games at 60 FPS over the last several years. The PS4 and Xbox One didn't leverage strong CPUs even by the standards of 2013 — in 2020, the Jaguar cores were straining and struggling with the majority of games. This was further exasperated by the release of the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, consoles that featured far stronger GPUs but minimal CPU improvements.
Titles like the annual Call of Duty juggernaut stuck to 60 FPS and a handful of games allowed it as a dedicated mode, but by and large, if you wanted to play games above 30 FPS, you needed to stick to playing on PC. With the PS5, Xbox Series X|S releasing in 2020, that's changed. The opening salvo of the newest generation made framerate king in 2020, and moving forward, that should still be the case.
Almost all of the best PS5 games, from Assassin's Creed Valhalla to Demon's Souls and Immortals Fenyx Rising, at least provided a 60 FPS option. Particularly telling, major publisher Ubisoft committing to providing the option in almost every single one of its franchises. The lone title not getting at least a 60 FPS mode is Watch Dogs: Legion, which is opting for heavy usage of ray-tracing. A handful of titles even offer 120 FPS support on PS5, which has been a fantastic surprise.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War allows players a 60 FPS experience with ray-traced shadows, which add to the overall image quality, as well as a 120 FPS mode which cuts back on the visuals but provides the smoothest console experience possible. Past PS4 blockbusters such as Ghost of Tsushima and Days Gone were updated to run at 60 FPS on PS5, while games like Destiny 2 have been rebuilt specifically for new consoles to leverage 60 FPS alongside other visual improvements like FOV sliders.
It's not difficult to see why this is happening. The newest consoles feature far more advanced CPU technology, with octa-core AMD processors providing far more compute capability than previously possible. Working in tangent with the advanced SSD, graphics processor, and other custom features, developers are no longer constrained and held back, having to specifically design a game in order to get 60 FPS.
Playing games at a higher framerate makes for an objectively better experience. Smoother framerates increase reaction time and the motion of an overall image while allowing players to see extra animation detail that simply isn't visible when scenes resolve at 30 FPS.
That's not to say graphics can't or won't get better. New blockbuster games strive for the latest technology and methods of rendering realistic worlds, with plenty of standout titles. The PS5 version of the upcoming Horizon Forbidden West looks absolutely jawdropping, while Hogwarts Legacy spells out visual spectacle, destruction, and wonder. All of what is happening now just means that we've arrived at an age of options. These options are setting the tone for what players can expect in the new generation.
After several years of obsessive pixel-counting and shadow comparisons, we're finally at a point we can have stellar graphics and smooth framerates on a console. That's what this generation has opened with in 2020, setting a tone and narrative moving forward. Players are being conditioned to expect multiple options, with one of those options being a mode that targets smoother performance.
Insomniac Games, a studio that once touted a mission to target 30 FPS, provided multiple options for 60 FPS in Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, including one mode with ray-tracing, and will be featuring a similar mode for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. Looking ahead into 2021, things seem promising so far. Arkane Lyon's upcoming timed PS5 console exclusive Deathloop runs at 4K 60 FPS.
Players won't accept having these options taken away, nor should they. As long as there's a performance-based mode for games, players can choose the best experience that fits what they want. Option is the key word here, because as we're seeing, developers can offer a 30 FPS option with enhanced visuals, such as higher resolutions, ray-tracing, and other effects, without it affected the design of the game.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Demon's Souls, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, and many more games released through the console launch window all provide at least two options. Adding these options hasn't hurt the design of these game, if anything, it's enhanced them. Give me the option for 60 FPS and I'll take it every time.
The one that started it all
If you like Souls-like then you have Demon's Souls to thank. If you want to play this cult classic, you soon will be able to thanks to a PS5 remake that launched with the console. It's available to purchase now.
Get the Android Central Newsletter
Instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.
Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on PlayStation on Android Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert