PlayStation finally figured out VRR, 4 years after Microsoft has

VRR – which doesn’t stand for Virtual Reality Reality but Variable Refresh Rate – is finally within the grasp of PlayStation owners. For four years, Xbox players have had the privilege of harnessing its power, but PS5 owners can now bask in its majesty, too. Better late than never, right?

Now, there is an off-chance that you’re not familiar with VRR. You might have lost track of all these high-tech abbreviations and their meaning. All you care about is that plastic box full of microchips, running games without the worry of minimum system requirements. But VRR is actually a very useful feature. So let me explain what it does.

VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) enables your console to seamlessly cooperate with the refresh rate of your computer screen/TV. That refresh rate is usually expressed in Hertz. With the number of different screens on the market, refresh rates can vary between them. Your console, on the other hand, doesn’t keep those variations into consideration and puts out a number of frames per second. It doesn’t really care if those frames per second play nice with your refresh rate. And that might cause visual disruption. Take a look at this Wikipedia explanation. Maybe that’ll help you put things together.

On displays with a fixed refresh rate, a frame can only be shown on the screen at specific intervals, evenly spaced apart. If a new frame is not ready when that interval arrives, then the old frame is held on screen until the next interval (stutter), or a mixture of the old frame and the completed part of the new frame is shown (tearing). Conversely, if the frame is ready before the interval arrives, then it won’t be shown until that interval arrives. A major purpose of variable refresh rates is the elimination of stutters and tearing by keeping refresh rates in sync with a varying frame rate from a video game. This makes display motion more smooth despite a varying frame rate.

See? It’s as simple as that. And as soon as PlayStation rolls out the update that enables it, your PS5 will support VRR as well. But there are a few catches. First of all, your TV has to support it. Second of all, you can’t just jank any cheap old HDMI cable off the shelve and expect it to work. Both your TV and the cable need to support the HDMI 2.1 protocol for you to enjoy VRR on your PlayStation 5. If that’s the case, your game will automatically enable VRR after the update launches.

Lastly, it’s pretty important that the game itself knows how to handle VRR. According to Sony, you can manually choose to apply the feature on any game, but that might result in  “unexpected visual effects”. So, if you want to be sure of a hassle-free experience without any unexpected glitches, stick to the supported games, which are:

  • Astro’s Playroom
  • Call of Duty: Vanguard
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Destiny 2
  • Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
  • DIRT 5
  • Godfall
  • 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

Undoubtedly, more games will follow. In other news, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered has received a patch adding VRR and 120Hz support, making it the first PlayStation 5 game that officially entered the VRR era. The future is now, even if Microsoft has been living in it for four years already…