PlayStation 5 consoles will get variable refresh rate support soon

The feature will arrive in the 'coming months', and existing games will be able to patch in support.
A variable refresh rate monitor

Sony today released a new software update for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles, which added a few new features to operating systems of both systems, like voice commands. In tandem with the announcement, the company also highlighted a major technical advance coming to the PlayStation 5 in the coming months: Variable refresh rate support.

PlayStation Senior Vice President Hideaki Nishino announced via the PlayStation Blog the company’s plans to introduce the ability for the PlayStation 5 to support variable refresh rate displays in the coming months.

What is Variable Refresh Rate?

For those unfamiliar with the concept, a selection of specialist and high-end monitors and televisions have the ability to adapt the refresh rate of the display (how many times it can draw a new image) to the framerate of the content it is currently displaying – a feature called variable refresh rate.

Most displays have standardised refresh rates, because the majority of film and TV content typically also has standardised, consistent framerates. However, when it comes to video games and some PC software, the framerate of what’s being shown can vary greatly.

Video games typically aim to have either a steady 30 or 60 frames per second output, but can fluctuate anywhere below, in-between, and above those ranges, depending on the optimisation of the software and the capabilities of the devices running them.

Some newer games available now, particularly first-person multiplayer games, have the ability to reach 120 frames per second in order to prioritise smooth and precise action.

Image: PlayStation

Having a display that is correctly in sync with the framerate of the source content greatly improves how the content looks, resulting in greater visual clarity, fewer image artifacts, reduced screen ‘tearing’ effects, and improved input latency.

It’s a very welcomed update that will automatically streamline a lot of the technical trial-and-error for PlayStation 5 users, ensuring that everyone will get an optimal visual experience no matter how complex their display is.

Nishino says that existing PlayStation 5 games will be able to patch in support for the new feature through patch updates.

More information on the feature will be announced in the future, including a list of supported games.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran