Sony PlayStation 5 gets variable refresh rate support

Sony today announced that it is bringing variable refresh rate to the PlayStation 5 console. The feature will be rolled out through a software update, which will be available globally this week. Sony first announced the feature was coming back in November 2020.

VRR on the PlayStation 5 can be enabled through an option in the Screen and Video settings. It can be applied to only supported games or forced to work on all games through an additional option. The latter option may cause some unexpected visual effects and may not necessarily work in all cases.

Sony PlayStation 5 gets variable refresh rate support

Sony announced a list of titles that will be getting native VRR support in the coming weeks. This includes 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, and Tribes of Midgard.

More games will be getting native support for VRR through a game update. The feature will likely also be included at launch for upcoming games.

Unfortunately, there is a catch with this announcement, and that is the feature only being compatible with televisions and monitors that support HDMI 2.1. While VRR support was officially added to the HDMI spec with version 2.1, television and monitor manufacturers have enabled the feature even on HDMI 2.0 models.

This is a rather bizarre decision from Sony as the Xbox Series X/S consoles and even the Xbox One X/S consoles have supported VRR even on HDMI 2.0 displays. Sony’s decision will result in only the handful of users with HDMI 2.1 displays being able to use this feature, with the vast majority of the users being left out in the cold.

For those wondering what the fuss is about, variable refresh rate signals a compatible display to only update when the console or the GPU outputs a new frame. This ensures the display refresh rate is in perfect sync with the display output, which removes instances of screen tearing without having to enable vsync, and also reduces issues with frame time inconsistencies when the console is unable to keep up with the display’s fixed refresh rate. The end result is a smoother, consistent and more responsive gameplay experience.

For those of you with a PlayStation 5 and an HDMI 2.1 display, you would be able to experience this later this week.

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