How a Better Frame Rate Makes your Xbox Games Sing

A whole new world

Key Takeaways

  • Fallout 4, Fallout 76, and three other Bethesda games are getting FPS Boost on Xbox Series X and Series S.
  • Higher frame rates mean an overall smoother gameplay experience.
  • Using FPS Boost could lower the resolution of the game slightly to help make the higher FPS possible.
Someone playing video games on a curved monitor.
Sam Pak / Unsplash

A perk of owning one of the newer Xbox consoles is the addition of features like FPS Boost, which can completely change how you experience your favorite games.

Microsoft recently announced that five popular Bethesda Softworks games—including Fallout 4—are getting increased frame rates (sometimes referred to as frames per second or FPS) on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S with FPS Boost.

This is another in a long list of moves that have worked to bring last-generation games up to speed with the higher frame rates and visual quality possible on the newer consoles. While it might not seem like a big deal to users who don’t play at higher frame rates, experts say the smooth performance that comes with higher frame rates can drastically change the experience.

"FPS boost means that Bethesda games will now function at higher frames per second," Bishal Biswas, a former game blogger and now CEO of Word Finder, told Lifewire in an email. "Frames [like resolution] are responsible for the video quality of any game."

The Importance of Higher Frame Rates

Many games released during the last generation of gaming consoles—like Fallout 4, Fallout 76, etc.—targeted a stable 30FPS on consoles. This is half of what most computer monitors and televisions can reach and only half of what many PC gamers try to achieve when playing games on their computers.

Because of these lower FPS limits, many games could feel sluggish on a console, especially once Microsoft and PlayStation started offering support for 4K gaming on the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro. Now that the next generation of consoles is available, games can harness more power to deliver higher frames per second.

That’s the goal with FPS Boost—to take the original game and unlock that FPS, allowing gamers the chance to experience those higher frame rates in games that they previously couldn’t. Having a higher FPS can impact the game in a lot of areas.

According to Nvidia, higher FPS can help you be better at video games because it creates a smoother experience, overall. By increasing the frame rate, animations become smoother, and there is less ghosting—a distracting effect created because the steps in the animation are too far apart when running at lower FPS. 

Running games at a lower FPS also can impact how quickly you see other players in multiplayer games. Users with a system that can run at a higher frame rate will have less system latency, which means the game can run at the speed it needs to ensure you see everything at the correct time. 

We’re not talking about huge differences of 20-30 seconds between higher and lower FPS. Still, when you’re playing competitive games online, or even just difficult single-player games, every millisecond can make a difference in how well you do.

Giving You Choice

While the benefits of having a higher frame rate are clear—and worth exploring in many games—sometimes you just want to play the original game. With FPS Boost, Xbox gamers will cycle between the original, lower-frame-rate version and the increased FPS version. This leaves the control entirely in your hands, something that Biswas says many gamers will appreciate.

"Frames [like resolution] are responsible for the video quality of any game."

But why would you want to run the game at a lower FPS, especially after understanding all the benefits of a higher frame rate? In some cases, the resolution of the game can change slightly when playing with FPS Boost enabled.

Despite being more powerful than last-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and Series S can still only push out so much power. Games also rely on in-engine optimization to increase how they perform, which means the FPS isn’t completely defined by how powerful the console is.

In some cases, users may see a lower FPS when playing games at higher resolutions. This is typically common when running games in 4K, since the increased visual fidelity that 4K requires also will require more power to run the game smoothly. The easiest way to balance that power need is to lower the FPS goal.

Even with the tradeoffs, though, FPS Boost is a great feature that will give gamers more control over how they want to play some of their favorite games. 

"FPS boost from Xbox can double the FPS rate for some games," Biswas explained, "Users can now look forward to experiencing their favorite games with better visuals."

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