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Is 60fps more realistic?

When it comes to video games and movies, one of the most hotly debated topics is frame rate. Specifically, whether a higher frame rate like 60fps results in a more realistic and immersive experience compared to the traditional 30fps. In this article, we’ll dive into the science behind frame rate, examine the pros and cons of 60fps, and help you decide if upgrading to it is worth it.

What is Frame Rate?

Frame rate refers to the number of still images or frames that are displayed per second in a video or game. The most common frame rates are:

  • 24fps – The standard for films.
  • 30fps – The standard for TV and console games.
  • 60fps – Considered the gold standard by PC gamers.

A higher frame rate means motion will look smoother, while a lower frame rate can make things look jittery or choppy. This is because with fewer frames, bigger gaps exist between each image.

To visualize this, imagine trying to draw a flip book with only 5 pages versus 25 pages. The one with more pages will appear smoother when flipped through quickly.

How Frame Rate Affects Realism

When it comes to realism, a higher frame rate like 60fps has several key advantages:

1. Smoother Motion and Camera Panning

Higher FPS makes camera and object motion much smoother. With 60fps, the difference between each frame is smaller, so transitions are more seamless. Lower FPS can make panning shots juddery.

2. Reduced Input Lag

Input lag refers to the delay between pressing a button and seeing the game respond. 60fps reduces this lag, making playing more reactive and immersive.

3. More Responsive Controls

Controls also feel more responsive at higher frame rates. Since there are more frames being rendered each second, the delay between inputs is smaller.

4. Enhanced Sense of Speed and Motion

Higher FPS conveys a stronger sense of speed and motion. This makes driving and action sequences more exhilarating and realistic.

5. Improved Head Tracking and VR

For head tracking and VR, 60fps or more is critical. The improved latency helps make head movements feel natural rather than delayed.

Overall, the smoother motion and improved responsiveness of 60fps delivers a heightened level of realism and immersion to both games and video.

Downsides of 60fps

However, upgrading to 60fps also has some drawbacks:

1. Higher System Requirements

Doubling the frame rate means your hardware has to work twice as hard. Only newer computers and consoles can reliably run 60fps.

2. Increased File Sizes

The extra data needed for those additional frames also significantly increases file sizes. A 2-hour 60fps video could require up to 50% more storage space.

3. Diminishing Returns

While the jump from 30 to 60fps is noticeable, many viewers struggle to see the difference above 60fps. So going even higher results in diminishing improvements.

4. Not Necessary For All Content

Faster frame rates are most beneficial for 3D, high-motion content. They may be overkill for simpler 2D or static content.

5. Creative Intent

Some directors intentionally use lower frame rates for a certain look. Changing that changes their creative vision.

So upgrading to 60fps or beyond has feasibility issues and may not always be desirable. The extra realism needs to be justified based on the genre and situation.

When is 60fps Beneficial?

While personal preference plays a role, 60fps has the most impact on certain types of games and content:

First-person shooters

The fast motion and need for reactive controls make FPS games one of the biggest beneficiaries of high frame rates. It’s why 60fps is considered a must for competitive esports.

Racing games

The sense of speed, quick movements, and fast reaction times needed also make racing games ideal for 60fps or beyond.

Fighting games

Like FPS, fighting games require precise control and split-second reactions. 60fps minimizes input lag for those crucial maneuvers.

VR and head tracking

To avoid motion sickness and make VR feel convincing, very high frame rates are recommended. Oculus headsets require at least 60fps, with 90fps or 120fps being preferred.

Video requiring smooth motion

Video featuring a lot of camera panning or movements like drones and action shots benefit from 60fps. Whereas slower paced video with static shots see fewer advantages.

For non-interactive media like video, 24fps or 30fps are often still perfectly adequate and preferred by creators.

Is 60fps Visually Better?

Opinions vary on whether 60fps also looks visually better, beyond just smoother motion.

Arguments For:

  • Sharper clarity in motion
  • Higher frame rate resolves more detail
  • Reduced motion blur
  • Enhanced sense of realism and immersion

Arguments Against:

  • “Soap opera effect” looks unnatural
  • Lacks the “cinematic” look of 24fps
  • Higher fps can reveal flaws and artificialness
  • Visual splendor is about more than just frame rate

A good comparison is watching native 4K video vs upscaled 1080p. 4K has more resolution but the actual cinematography, colors, lighting, etc still play a huge role in quality.

Similarly, while 60fps improves motion, the overall visuals depend on many other factors. So it may or may not look better, depending on who you ask.

Is 60fps Always Better?

Based on the above comparisons, here’s a quick reference to determine if 60fps is preferable for given uses:

Use Case 60fps Beneficial?
First-person shooter games Yes
Racing games Yes
Fighting games Yes
Virtual reality Yes
Video requiring smooth camera motion Yes
Cinematic films and video No/Depends on preference
2D animation No
Turn-based RPGs No
Visual novels No

As shown above, 60fps provides the most significant benefits for real-time, high-motion 3D games and VR experiences. For video, its advantages are more nuanced based on content and creative intent. Meanwhile, simpler 2D and non-action games see fewer improvements.


In summary, 60fps delivers tangible enhancements to smoothness, responsiveness, speed, and realism that can elevate gaming immersion. However, it’s most beneficial for fast-paced, competitive 3D titles and VR.

For video and other mediums, its merits depend on the content and goals. Upgrading to 60fps or beyond has creative and technical ramifications that need careful consideration.

Our eyes certainly can perceive and appreciate the buttery smooth motion 60fps provides. Yet sometimes, cinematic intent, nostalgia, and the limitations of human reflexes make even 30fps or 24fps wholly adequate. Context is vital.

In situations where quick reactions and high visual fidelity are demanded, 60fps clearly hits a sweet spot. While for more relaxed experiences, it may be overkill that increases costs with marginal gains. Set your frame rate based on your specific needs and priorities.