Why Does 30 FPS Look Better on Consoles?

This is why 30 FPS looks better on consoles.

Run the same game on your PC at 30 FPS and it looks choppy.

You can run at 30 FPS and make it look good. It just takes a few tweaks. Learn which.

Let’s jump right in!

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Why 30 FPS Looks Better on Consoles

Your 30 FPS game looks excellent on your Xbox or Playstation, but try playing the same game on a PC at 30 FPS, and it stutters. What gives? 

Why does 30 FPS look better on consoles than PCs?

If you’re looking at a console 30 FPS vs. pc 30 FPS, you might think you’re comparing apples to apples.

In fact, in terms of preference, consoles and PCs come close.

According to a survey, 52% of people prefer to play with game consoles while 49% prefer to use their personal computers:

Preferred Video Game Devices in the United States as of 2020
[EntertainmentSoftwareAssociation]

But in truth, there are differences between how your console and your PC process the game.

Those differences can cause screen tears, stutters, and lags when you’re playing on a PC, all things you wouldn’t experience on your console. 

Luckily, you can do things to improve your PC gaming experience, even with a 30 fFPS game.

This article answers the question, why does 30 FPS look better on consoles. It also talks about why designers make console games at 30 FPS, why that doesn’t work well with PCs, and what you can do about it.

Let’s get started: 

Why Are Console Games Capped at 30 FPS?

Many gamers predicted the end of 30 FPS console video games with next-generation game consoles, but that has yet to happen.

Even though game designers today often release 60 FPS games or higher, 30 FPS gaming is still a thing, and it’s likely to be around for some time. 

Little boy playing video game in a dark room.

It’s a common misconception that console games are locked or capped at 30 FPS. Most of the time, they are simply set to run at 30 FPS.

Many of the newest games have options to increase the frames per second to 60 FPS. But 30 FPS remains a typical default setting, and there is a major reason for that. 

Today’s Gaming Consoles

The latest gaming consoles have far more horsepower than their predecessors.

The chart below shows the average hours per week people spend on playing with gaming consoles.

Around half of the respondents use a gaming console between one to ten hours per week:

Hours per Week Spent Playing With a Gaming Console in the United States as of 2020
[Statista]

The Xbox Series X has over double the power of the Xbox One, for example. So it’s no wonder most gamers assumed we’d have 60 FPS games as a standard by now. 

In truth, though, doubling the frame rate will effectively use up all the extra horsepower in today’s consoles. There’s nothing left for graphic fidelity. So, you would get a faster frame rate but a lower quality picture overall. 

And, since TVs sometimes use post-processing tricks to create a smoother screen experience, 30 FPS doesn’t look all that bad on a TV monitor, which most people use to play console games. 

Now that you understand why designers set their games for 30 FPS, when gamers all know 60 FPS (or higher) is superior, let’s look at the initial question:

Why does 30 FPS look better on a console than your PC?

Why 30 FPS Looks Good on Your Console

As mentioned above, most console gamers display their games on TV screens.

TVs have a couple of post-processing techniques to provide a smoother picture, strategies that computer monitors don’t use. 

Your Television Screen

For one thing, TVs utilize frame interpolation. That means your TV will insert a frame if there’s too big of a gap between two existing frames.

Frame interpolation usually creates a smoother picture, though it can create a lag in some circumstances.

TVs may also use backlight blinking, which inserts a black frame between two frames to bridge any gaps. Again, this should help create a smoother gaming experience than what you would see on your TV. 

Do note here; if you ever experience a lag on your console games, these settings could be to blame. New TVs often provide a gaming mode setting that turns off frame interpolation and backlight blinking. 

However, with a 30 FPS game, these post-processing tricks probably help the game experience rather than hurt it. 

Console Optimization

On top of your TV’s post-processing techniques, game consoles’ designers optimize them to keep a 30 FPS rate.

A PC monitor may have issues with that, but it depends on your refresh rate. 

Refresh rates refer to how many times your monitor can redraw the screen in one second, and it’s measured in Hz.

So if you have a 60 Hz monitor, it will refresh at the same rate a 60 FPS game generates frames. 

Guy in headphones playing video games on his computer.

When refresh rates don’t match the frames per second, it can cause screen tears, jitters, and frame pacing issues that sometimes make the game unplayable. 

Luckily, there are ways to fix the problem.  

How to Make 30 FPS Look Smooth on a PC

At this point, you’re probably wondering how to make 30 FPS smooth on a PC. So there are ways to fix the problem, but what are they? 

Not to worry, it’s covered step by step below.

Before you get your hopes up, though, you should know that while there are steps you can take to smooth out your 30 FPS game for PC play, 30 FPS is what it is. It’s never going to look as great as a 60 FPS or higher game. 

With that caveat out of the way, let’s look into some actionable steps. 

Frame Pacing

Frame pacing refers to the rate at which frames appear. Think of it like this. Two children are walking down a sidewalk. One child takes ten even steps.

The other takes the same ten steps, but steps two through four she runs, and steps eight and nine she crawls. 

If you haven’t already guessed, the first child’s steps are an example of perfect frame pacing. The second child’s steps are an example of inconsistent frame pacing. 

If the rate between frames in your game is inconsistent, no amount of tweaks on your PC or within game settings are going to get rid of jitters and stutters. 

So, step one is to download RTSS or Rivatuner Statistics Server.

RTSS is a free download that helps finetune frame pacing. You’ll see gamers recommend it all over the internet, and it’s not a bad option. After all, it’s free, and it works. 

Syncing Refresh and Frame Rates

If you’ve been thinking that syncing your game’s frame rate and your monitor’s refresh rate might be the ideal solution to screen tears and stutters, you’re not wrong. There are a couple of ways to make that happen. 

VSync

You could try VSync, which stands for Vertical Synchronization. It effectively synchronizes your frame rate and your monitor’s refresh rate.

However, VSync works best when your game is outpacing your monitor’s refresh rate, not the other way around. 

So in the case of a 30 FPS game played on a 60 Hz monitor, VSync probably won’t help and may make things worse. 

Scanline Sync

The better alternative to VSync may be Scanline Sync.

Scanline Sync works in partnership with RTSS and reduces input lags common to VSync. But, it also is suggested for those who have a game that’s outpacing their monitor’s refresh rate, not the other way around. 

Half Refresh VSync

Half Refresh VSync is yet another type of VSync. It will synchronize your GPU with your monitor, too, but differently.

Your GPU will produce frames in twice the time it takes for your screen to refresh. It might be the best option for a low framerate game, but it’s not perfect. 

At this point, you may be curious; do consoles use VSync? It seems like they should, right? 

And the answer is yes. Xbox One and PS4 both use a form of VSync called adaptive VSync. It forces your monitor to refresh only when your GPU is ready, creating what should be seamless sync. 

Lock the Frame Rate

If syncing doesn’t help, knowing how to lock pc games at 30 FPS could solve your gaming problems. It will essentially force your monitor’s refresh rate to slow down, sort of like the half refresh VSync option. 

You can lock the framerate in your graphic card’s settings. Simply open the global settings menu and select “max frame rate.” Then choose 30 FPS and hit apply. 

Keep in mind that this will override in-game settings. 

How to Get Used to 30 FPS

Does 30 FPS bother you? 

It’s understandable. Even taking steps to stop lags and stutters won’t change the fact that 30 FPS isn’t as good as 60 FPS or more. 

Unfortunately, it’s probably going to be around for a while. So here’s what you can do. 

Play More Detailed, Fast-Paced Games on Consoles

Fast-paced action games like first-person shooter games will make 30 FPS very apparent on a PC. By playing games like that on a console instead, you’ll probably have a better gaming experience. 

Play Slower, Linera Games on Your PC

Slower games paced games, though, typically won’t have issues at 30 FPS, even when you play them on a PC. 

The same goes for linear games. Those are games that don’t have a lot of background visuals. 

If you’re playing Zelda, for example, your eye is all over the place. You’re searching the screen for paths and objects.

A racing game, though, doesn’t require you to keep an extensive range of vision. So even if there are slight jitters or tears, you might not notice them. 

Back view of gamers playing car racing game on computer.

So does that mean buying a console or switching out your favorite games? Maybe, but in most cases, it’s worth the saved frustrations.

Playing games that stutter puts us in a bad mood, and if you’re reading this, you probably feel the same way. 

Below are the top premium PC and console video games worldwide. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare leads the ranks at 1,913 million U.S. dollars in revenue!

Top Premium PC and Console Video Games Worldwide as of 2020, by Revenue
[SuperDataResearch]

For the best gaming experience playing 30 FPS games, a console is the way to go.

Luckily, game designers are pushing for more and more 60 FPS and above games. That means eventually, you won’t have to deal with poor PC game quality.