Variable Refresh Rate Coming to PS5 Soon, Says Sony

In a blog post announcing today’s system updates for the PS5 and PS4, Sony said that the oft-requested variable refresh rate (VRR) feature will be coming to the PS5 in the coming months. VRR allows users to dynamically sync the refresh rate of their HDMI 2.1-compatible screen to their console’s output, which can reduce screen tearing and frame pacing issues. Existing PS5 games can be optimized for the feature via a patch, while future titles may support it at release.

Additionally, users will be able to activate VRR even in PS5 games that haven’t been optimized for the feature. This may improve visual quality, though Sony points out that it may also result in some technical issues. Still, it’s an interesting step — allowing users to play around with system settings like this, even on non-optimized software, is an unusual approach for a console developer. The freedom to mess around with features, potentially resulting in a less-than-optimal experience or even breaking things, is historically more associated with PC gaming than console experiences. Striking a balance between the ease of use expected by most players and the customizability sought by power users is a difficult task, but increasingly a necessary one.

As for today’s system updates to the PS5 and PS4, users can now create and join open and closed parties from their consoles, and can do the same through the PS App. Sony has also updated the app to improve the user experience, making it easier to find various features. Users of the PS Remote Play app on phones can also now use the app in dark mode, as well as choose a variety of languages for the screen reader feature on Apple and Android phones, including Turkish, Portuguese, Thai, and Chinese.

There’s an extra little feature in this update for PS5 users in the US and UK, who will be able to test out a voice command feature that allows for launching games and controlling media playback via speech (in English only). I imagine this could be useful for some people, but does anyone actually enjoy talking to their electronics? Personally, I never even liked yelling into my Nintendo DS mic — telling my PlayStation to launch Destiny 2 is a bridge too far for me. But then, I make a point of not having any electronics I interact with primarily by speaking to in my home. I don’t even like going to people’s houses if they have them. Call me a luddite or a curmudgeon but I simply do not want to be around the little listening orb, regardless of how convenient it is.

Anyway, VRR! Pretty neat. I still don’t have a PS5, though admittedly I haven’t been doing much looking over the past few months. The console just hasn’t seemed like a good value proposition to me, given that I have a PC that’s still keeping up with most modern releases and my TV isn’t exactly cutting edge. Maybe one day, PS5, when your exclusives pile up to the point that I can ignore them no longer.