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PS5 getting variable refresh rate support in next update

Players can apply VRR even to games that don’t officially support it

A photo of a PlayStation 5 console with a colorful wave graphic set behind it. Photo: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon | Graphics: James Bareham/Polygon
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The PlayStation 5 will support variable refresh rate with an update “in the coming months,” Sony said on Wednesday, delivering stronger visual performance to games played on compatible displays.

Variable refresh rate (VRR) means the console can synchronize its graphical output to the refresh rate of an HDMI 2.1-compatible TV or monitor. The result means visual artifacts, such as screen tearing, are minimized or eliminated altogether. “Scenes render instantly, graphics look crisper, and input lag is reduced,” explained Hideaki Nishino, PlayStation’s head of platform experience.

When the update arrives, PlayStation 5 owners will be able to apply VRR even to games that don’t officially support it. In either case, players can disable VRR if they find any unexpected visual effects. The Xbox Series X has supported variable refresh rate since launch.

As for current games that could benefit from VRR on PlayStation 5, Elden Ring would seem to be one. Digital Foundry earlier this month noted that both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X were unable to maintain 60 frames per second performance, and recommended that users with a Series X switch their screen refresh to 60 Hz and use VRR “to smooth out the performance drops.” PlayStation 5, without VRR support, had a slight advantage in frame rate overall, but “without VRR support, the v-sync judder is present.”

image, entirely text, showing the Screen and Video tab of the PlayStation 5 settings menu, with an option to apply VRR support to games.
When it’s available, the option to apply VRR to unsupported games will be found in the Screen and Video tab of the PS5’s settings menu.
Image: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Nishino did not say when the patch enabling VRR support would roll out, but it should be the next one. The PlayStation 5’s (and PlayStation 4’s) latest update became available on Wednesday, giving users more control over group chats, the means of creating private chats, and other quality-of-life upgrades. That said, owners of both consoles have reported that, since the update, games such as Elden Ring, Call of Duty: Vanguard, and Grand Theft Auto Online were having connection errors related to their PlayStation Plus subscriptions.

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