Earlier this month, we reported that Activision had updated Call of Duty: Warzone to run at 120 FPS on the Xbox Series X but not PlayStation 5. We weren’t sure why Sony was left out at the time, but Rocket League developer Psyonix has provided a likely reason as to why Microsoft’s console is being prioritized for higher refresh rates.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Psyonix revealed that enabling 120 FPS on a PlayStation game actually requires more work based on the way backward compatibility is handled on the PS5. While the Xbox Series X|S versions can be upgraded with a simple patch, enabling 120 FPS for Sony’s console requires a full native port.
“Our team’s main focus this year was our recent free to play transition and updating major features like our Tournaments system,” Psyonix said.
“Due to this we had to make tough decisions on what else we could achieve. Enabling 120hz on Xbox Series X|S is a minor patch, but enabling it on PS5 requires a full native port due to how backwards compatibility is implemented on the console, and unfortunately wasn’t possible due to our focus elsewhere.”
The root of the issue seems to lie with the fact that the PS4 nor PS4 Pro supported 120 Hz output. Contrastingly, Microsoft blessed its Xbox One X and Xbox One S consoles with 120 Hz support over two years ago (May 2018 Update), which meant that Xbox already had a foundation in place for higher refresh rates.
“The strategy from Microsoft was always to implement features like this and VRR (variable refresh rate) ahead of time so display manufacturers had target hardware to work with, mostly so the foundations would be in place for next-gen games,” Digital Foundry chief Richard Leadbetter noted.
“Right now, Sony limits 120Hz support to games specifically designed for PS5, meaning that ‘enhanced’ PS4 games like Rocket League and Warzone can’t tap into the feature.”
“Theoretically it should be possible for Sony to adjust this (PSVR games can run at 1080p resolution at up to 120Hz) but it will require a fair degree of work – and I guess the question is whether engineering resources focused on PS5 could be redirected to PS4 instead. It really does seem like the ball is in Sony’s court on this one.”
There are currently eight PS5 games (Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Destiny 2, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, DIRT 5, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, The Nioh Collection, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege) that support 120 FPS. This list is sure to grow over time, but without a stronger push from Sony, it may ultimately pale in comparison to Xbox’s own catalog of high-refresh-rate titles.