Measuring The Time It Takes Between A Button Press And On-Screen Action

Digital Foundry's long-running blog on Eurogamer often throws up some interesting technical studies on games, but few have ever been as interesting, or as comprehensive, as this piece on controller latency.

What's controller latency? DF explain it neatly as:

In basic terms, controller latency is very easy to define. It's the time, usually measured in frames or milliseconds, between pressing the button on your controller and the appropriate action kicking in on-screen during gameplay. The longer the delay, the less responsive the controls, and the more unsatisfying the game can feel.

This can be caused in two ways. One by LCD televisions, the other by inherent lag in the game's code. Since TV latency can vary between sets, DF's research focuses solely on measuring the lag between the controller and the game code. Their findings are listed below.

As you can see, the top performers are the ones that really need as little lag as possible: the twitchy games, the ones most reliant on fast timing. So fighting games, music games, driving games. What's most interesting is the relatively poor performance of some of the shooters on the list, particularly Halo 3.

For the full rundown of the methodology and technology involved, hit the link below.

Console Gaming: The Lag Factor [Eurogamer]


    Some parts of Fable II I'm guessing would easily exceed 300 possibly 700ms in lag....

    Peter Molneux artsy'ness is pathetic.

    It's something that irritated me in Dead Space, every button press was *just* laggy enough to make you double-press buttons too often.

    If there is a Killzone 2 picture, why isn't there a Killzone 2 time?

      There's a killzone 2 picture but no time on the list because Killzone 2 is dealt with extensively in the article.

      Why do so many people refuse to click links on the internet these days?

    It's impossible to play N+ on our LCD tv T___T the lag is terrible. But on smaller tvs its fine or on the ds xD

    Any difference between wired and wireless controllers?

Join the discussion!