Xbox Series X will significantly reduce input latency, making games feel snappier and more responsive than ever.
In a blog post on Xbox Wire (opens in new tab), Microsoft outlined how latency impacts gaming, and the steps they’ve taken to combat it.
But what is latency and why should you care? In simple terms, latency is the measurement of how long it takes for a signal to travel from one point to another. When you press a button on your controller, that information has to be sent along a system pipeline before it gets back to your TV.
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Imagine firing a gun, only for the bullet to fly out a few seconds after you’ve pulled the trigger. That’s basically what high input latency looks like - and it’s awful for gaming. It can make your characters feel like their wading through mud in a platformer and could definitely cost you a hard-earned chicken dinner in PUBG if your opponent shoots first.
Leaving latency behind
Previously, then, both wired and wireless controllers on Xbox One would transmit inputs every 8ms. When using an analog input on your controller - such as stick and trigger movement - the Xbox would often use your previous button state, even if it changed during the time interval, which could result in a small spike in latency.
With Xbox Series X, however, the team devised a new solution that transmits the most up-to-date input just before a game asks for it, keeping the controller in sync with the game for both analog and digital inputs.
All of this results in significantly lower latency when gaming and a more snappy user experience. It won’t impact the controller’s battery life, either.
In a further step to improve input response from the Xbox One and Xbox Series X controllers, Microsoft improved the transmission performance of the existing radio design used by Xbox One accessories today.
On the console side, the team completely redesigned the input stack, ensuring games will receive inputs faster and be able to access them quicker than ever before - without affecting performance.
Finally, changes were also made to shape the HDMI 2.1 standard to support key features for Xbox Series X, such as Variable refresh rate (VRR), having your TV automatically switch to Game Mode, and the ability to run games at 4K, 120 Hz.
So what does this mean for you, then? Well, you’ll have no one to blame but your aging-reactions when you miss that headshot or fail to pull off a combo in your favourite fighting game. Thanks a lot, Microsoft.
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Via Xbox Wire (opens in new tab)