If you missed it earlier today, Insomniac Games confirmed via Twitter that its upcoming Spiderman spin-off, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, will be playable on the Playstation 5 at an “optional” 4K, 60 frames per second, or what the developer calls “Performance Mode.” For those of you wondering if this would be the case when the trailer dropped last month, well, now we know. It’s likely that ray tracing or other GPU-intensive effects will be disabled to reach that frame rate at that resolution, and the graphics won’t be running on ultra, according to PC standards. But modern consoles need to run games on 4K at 60 fps—the current holy grail of graphics performance—to keep up with their PC counterparts
These days, 60 fps may seem passé if you’re coming from the PC gaming world, where a budget GPU can get you well over 60 fps at 1080p on ultra in most games. A mid-range graphics card can get you to 60 fps at 4K if you turn down the settings enough. And that’s true 4K—no up-scaling, which is what consoles have historically done due to hardware limitations and still have only been able to provide 30 fps.
Lowering the frame rate gives more processing power to each frame, so the game will look better at a higher resolution—when you’re standing still in game, that is. But with both the PS5 and Xbox Series X sporting some serious custom hardware this time around, like ray tracing-compatible GPUs, consoles seem to be getting closer to closing that performance gap with PCs.
There’s a visible difference between 30 fps and 60 fps. Take this video, for example, which highlights a number of different games running at each of the two frame rates. The games running at 60 fps capture more subtle movements while running or rotating the camera, because it shows the player more frames in a single second. This allows the player to be more precise with how they move the mouse or controller thumbstick. This is especially important for first-person shooters and racing games.
Precision may not matter so much for Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, depending on what the gameplay is like, but 60 fps will make the movement appear much smoother and more realistic, with less motion blur, too. And the graphics already look amazing, so why ruin that with a game that runs at 30 fps? Here’s another video that shows 30 fps compared to 60 fps: See how the 60 fps circle moves more smoothly and is less blurred? The same applies to video game graphics.
So Miles Morales can get 60 fps at 4K—will other new games? Ubisoft recently said that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will run at a minimum of 30 fps on the Xbox Series X, which was understandably disappointing to hear. “Developers always have flexibility in how they use the power, so a standard or common 60 fps is not a mandate,” Xbox marketing chief Aaron Greenberg said on Twitter at the time.
Despite the cool news that you can play Miles Morales at 60 fps on 4K, the takeaway is still: What’s the point of touting a ray tracing-capable GPU in your console if you won’t hit that coveted 60 fps sweet spot? I’d rather drop my resolution to 1440p or 1080p if it means a higher frame rate. Given the benefits of a higher frame rate, I’d rather have the game run smoother and still look gorgeous.