The start of a new console generation yet again brings up new issues for fighting game tournament organizers. For years, the PS4 has been the dominant platform for events, aside from select games played on other consoles. After the launch of the PS5, it would only seem natural for the new console to eventually take over as organizers’ platform of choice. However, recent input delay concerns regarding Guilty Gear Strive may make some players and event hosts apprehensive about the hardware upgrade.
INPUT LAG IN FIGHTING GAMES
Nearly every fighting game runs at a stable 60 frames-per-second. Because of this, keeping the input delay low is important for tournament competition. Without much lag, players can land frame-perfect combos and react to certain moves based on visual cues. This is why back in 2019, SNK worked quickly to fix Samurai Shodown’s input lag issues before the game launched.
Depending on the platform, some ports of fighting games may have more input delay than other versions of the same game. This was an issue Tekken 7 faced at launch, with the PS4 version being noticeably laggier than the PC port. As more fighting games release on the PlayStation 5, tech experts have yet another platform to test differences on.
GUILTY GEAR: STRIVING FOR FRAMES
Based on recent data collected by community tech expert “noodalls”, Guilty Gear Strive’s input delay is worse on the PlayStation 5 than both the PS4 and PC ports. While this would cause more concern if the PS5 was not facing extreme stock issues, it still raises eyebrows about the future of tournaments and fighting games. Naturally, new games will be releasing on next-generation consoles. As developers focus more on these new consoles, their games must aim for the highest quality in both design and function.
Guilty Gear Strive Input Lag Summary
PS5 = 93.60ms / 5.62f
PS4onPS5 = 82.53ms / 4.95f
PCVSyncOn = 11.90ms / 0.71f
PCVSyncOff = 11.34ms / 0.68f
PS4Pro = 79.99ms / 4.80f
PS4 = 78.67ms / 4.72f https://t.co/yCvuZd8L7B
— ReoAyanami (@ReoAyanami) July 6, 2021
The difference in Strive’s input lag between consoles and PC is staggering. This naturally sparked discussion again in the fighting game community about a possible future with PC-only tournaments. Event organizers like “TheHadou” of Combo Breaker weighed in on social media, stating: “Equipment availability and platform variables are always going to be concern points though. Offer what you can, run what you can.”
While Guilty Gear Strive may be the hot new title, other new games are always on the horizon. SNK announced that The King of Fighters XV will be coming to PS5 and most major platforms in Q1 2022. Players and tournament organizers have budgets, and not everyone can easily obtain optimal hardware for each new release. Despite the impressive graphics of PS5 ports, many players will likely ignore the platform until more units are available.
Though many esports titles have large sponsors in the PC realm, fighting games have typically been an exception. CEO founder Alex Jebailey expressed his thoughts on the matter, as a PC-only event would require a much higher budget.
For anyone asking when will CEO run fighting games on PCs my PayPal is [email protected] When I hit a goal of $100,000 I’ll consider it. $75,000 for uniform PCs, $25,000 for stress & anguish therapy for my entire staff after everyone has driver issues all tournament long.
— Alex Jebailey (@Jebailey) July 7, 2021
DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR THE COMMUNITY
Realistically, it is unlikely that PC becomes the tournament standard for fighting games any time soon. Some games like Melty Blood have traditionally been played on PC, but this is a rare case. Melty Blood: Type Lumina will be even more accessible for tournament organizers when it releases on PS4 and other platforms later this year.
At the end of the day, input delay naturally being higher on PlayStation consoles has become something the fighting game community simply learned to live with. While Guilty Gear Strive’s test numbers on PS5 may seem concerning, additional tests for different titles will give a better idea of how fighting games perform on the console. Fighting game tournaments remain easier to run on consoles, and it is up to the game developers to optimize their products for the sake of healthy competition.
Featured image courtesy of ArcSystemWorks
You can also follow Alex on Twitter at @bear__player.