One of the Xbox’s biggest advantages is its support for variable refresh rate (VRR), a technology that allows a screen to eliminate tearing by adjusting your TV as the performance of a game varies. That’s not supported on the PS5 yet, but Sony has confirmed that it’s coming.
In an update to their original giant PS5 FAQ, Sony has confirmed that the PS5 hardware does support variable refresh rate. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t — it’s part of the HDMI 2.1 specification, which the PS5 supports.
But unlike Microsoft, Sony made very little noise about VRR even until after the console’s launch. However, the FAQ now confirms that VRR support will be patched in down the road:
Does PS5 support VRR?
PS5 hardware supports Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) through HDMI 2.1. After a future system software update, PS5 owners will be able to use the VRR feature of compatible TVs when playing games that support VRR.
Variable refresh rate is a huge lifesaver when dealing with games that have frequent variations in frame rate, as many games for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X showed. The PS5 and Xbox Series X are more powerful, but we’ve already seen with DiRT 5 and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War that the 120Hz modes in games will generally hover from 120 FPS to around the 90 FPS mark.
Even something like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, which is locked to 60 FPS on the next-gen consoles, had some bizarre frame tearing that was suitably unpleasant. Coupled with dips to the 50 FPS mark, it can make for a slightly stuttery experience in places — but those stutters are massively improved by turning variable refresh rate on.
For those who forked out on a HDMI 2.1 capable display just for the PS5, getting VRR added in a future update is a definite bonus. It also augurs well for those who are hoping Sony might implement a 1440p display mode on the PS5 in a future update, which would also be helpful for those with older TVs that can do 120Hz (but only at 1440p, and not 4K).
Hopefully, when Sony patches VRR in they’ll also let you store PS5 games on an external drive at the same time. It’d be nice if we could also get that compatibility list for expanding the PS5’s storage, because NVMe drives are starting to fall to really good prices, and my PS5’s drive is pretty damn full.