Emma Roth from The Verge recently posted a great article about how Capcom is switching from consoles to PC’s…and from 60Hz to 144Hz monitors for this year’s Capcom Cup. This is such an amazing step in the right direction and after years of battling, it’s nice to finally see latency get proper recognition! Here’s the full post with some (STRONG) personal opinions below: https://www.theverge.com/2023/1/28/23575521/capcom-cup-tournament-street-fighter-5-pc
First, some clarification: Randomly switching to 144Hz displays won’t guarantee you less lag. And PC’s aren’t always “faster” than consoles; In fact, a poorly built PC with lots of bloatware running in the background can be much laggier. But in the context of fighting games available today (Jan 2023), with the current versions of firmware and game software available, it’s common to see up to a 50% reduction in total latency (time from button push to perceived movement on screen) when moving from PS5 60Hz to an even slightly optimized PC running in 144Hz, connected to a decent 144Hz display.
The significance of this goes much farther than technical specs though, as this is one of the first times (if not the first) I’ve seen a company that makes fighting games openly discuss latency. And I understand it can be a thorny subject! I imagine Sony reps aren’t too happy that Capcom has openly acknowledged latency issues; While yes, the proof has been floating around for YEARS, “some nerd” discussing it, is much different than Capcom itself.
This also struck a personal chord with me, as myself and my friends have been openly attacked for years when discussing lag. Sometimes it’s people refusing to believe they made a bad purchase, other times it was reviewers trying to save face after they were caught lying about lag measurements…and most recently it was tournament organizers (TO’s) not understanding the problem: Optimization. Sadly, this resulted in some false and unnecessary drama, but here’s what it comes down to:
No one is expecting TO’s – especially smaller local ones – to purchase all new gear, because faster gaming methods have been found. That’s unfair to everyone…but also completely unnecessary: It’s been proven that almost any reasonable setup will work just fine and you DO NOT need expensive hardware for fighting games! The most recent discussion was simply a push for TO’s to take a moment to make sure all PC setups were matched. Imagine two machines each connected to 144Hz monitors, but one is set to output 60Hz and the other 144Hz? What if one has a fresh Windows installation and the other is running whatever resource-heavy bloatware that the manufacturer pre-loaded? If you don’t have an IT background, try this analogy:
Imagine someone is putting on a local race and providing all the cars people will be driving. Their perspective is: “They’re all new Honda Civic’s, so what’s the difference”? Well, what if one is in eco mode and the others are in performance mode? What if one has tires that don’t have the proper amount of air? These are FREE things to even the playing field and “I didn’t know there was an eco mode” is NOT an excuse.
Now, console vs PC in tournaments is a completely different argument. It’s my personal opinion (and please remember I’m NOT a pro gamer or a TO) that when it comes to local tournaments, as long as everything matches and all the players have the same fair chance, it’s fine. It’s easy to forget that most smaller TO’s pay for this stuff out of pocket and take a loss after each tournament. You may ask “then why do they do it?!?”…but you could also ask the same question to local bands who spend far more than they make. Or shit…golfers who never win, but still play once a week.
…but when it comes to larger tournaments, sponsored by big companies, THIS is the kind of pushback we need. I mean, do you think Sony will listen to a handful of smart players who prove the latency differences? Of course not. We don’t matter to them. But when a larger company is pushing people towards PC versions, maybe THEN Sony will listen. Fingers crossed.