60 Hz is quite alright for gaming (yes, really)

60 Hz might be good enough for you if:

  • You’re a casual fan (you play a few hours a week at most)
  • You aren’t deeply invested in competitive multiplayer
  • You’re just getting into gaming
  • High refresh rate displays are outside your budget (FOMO be damned)

Jumping into Modern Warfare II at 120 FPS for the first time was an absolutely wild experience. I felt in control in a way I never had before. In fact, it felt like I was never really in control playing games like Call of Duty or Halo Infinite when playing at 60 FPS prior. In some ways, it was more game changing than other huge tech advancements I had experienced in the past – moving Windows to an SSD or experiencing high definition for the first time.

But as responsive and eye opening it was to play my Xbox Series X at 120 FPS, as much as I’d eventually love to get a high refresh rate display, defending 60 Hz for gaming is still a hill I’ll die on. I think for a lot of people that play games it’s a perfectly fine refresh rate. The majority of console games aren’t pushing 120 FPS and those that do are usually multiplayer titles. Xbox and PlayStation players most likely have a TV that’s 60 Hz (120 Hz didn’t start to trickle down to the mid-range and budget models until a few years ago). I’m sure many PC players also start out with an older 60 Hz monitor they have laying around too.

High refresh displays also just aren’t going to be relevant to a large group of players. There are still many casual fans that don’t notice or care about anything more than 30 FPS (not that I can wrap my head around it). Many, many players prefer to play the types of single player games where low latency shouldn’t even be considered. Not to mention that the overall visual experience of non-competitive type games is more heavily weighted towards display attributes like contrast ratio, color reproduction, resolution, and HDR. Of course these too are often bait for consumer FOMO as opposed to being truly necessary.

starfield thick ash
I’m not sure playing Starfield at 144 FPS would enhance its exploration and atmosphere for me

To be clear, my point isn’t to shame anyone for wanting to invest in a solid display (or any piece of tech really). I’m as infatuated with all types of consumer technology as the best of them. I also love having 120 Hz on my OnePlus 10 Pro. I’m more coming at the buying advice that takes a stab at players who generally wonder if their monitor or TV (or one they’re shopping for) is good to go when it comes to playing games. I think it’s easy to forget that people are coming into console and PC gaming all of the time. Realizing that people like to play games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, and so on without necessarily trying to hit the top 1% in matchmaking is even easier to forget.

People also have set budgets if they are looking for a new display and if you’re someone in the market for a budget TV/monitor it’s probably going to be either 60 Hz or 75 Hz/100 Hz respectively. Those are all fine refresh rates for gaming so long as the reviews line up for you. Making sure that the input lag is on the lower side is a good bet too. I think that too often people looking for entry level hardware get pressured to purchase products outside of that bracket.

On the flip side, I’ve love to be able to play certain games like Forza, Halo Infinite, and Destiny 2 on a 144 Hz display

At the end of the day what really matters is whether or not 60 Hz is good enough for you and I think this relies on the type of player you are. No matter your skill level, if you’re someone who gets a ton of enjoyment out of competitive multiplayer environments – Valorant, Halo Infinite, Overwatch 2, League of Legends, etc. – and strives to improve, you’ll probably love moving to 144 Hz and beyond. If you’ve got the money then by all means go for it. It absolutely does feel incredible and there is a competitive advantage.

I wouldn’t say it’s worth it if you’re someone is very casual about multiplayer or games in general. Improved latency and motion won’t be the deciding factor between you and your enjoyment online. Most if not all games are reliant on decision making and reactions independent of your hardware despite what manufacturers would have you believe.

If your gut tells you that you’re not going to genuinely value anything above 60 FPS or your budget doesn’t align with high refresh rate displays then hold off. There’s always another day to upgrade. The drive for FOMO will tell you otherwise but it’s the game itself and having fun with others that carries 99% of the experience.

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