PS5 is getting a killer Xbox Series X feature — what you need to know

PS5 vs Xbox Series X: Which console wins?
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Update: Sony has confirmed that VRR support is coming to PS5 "in the months ahead" of March 2022.

Earlier this month we learned that the PS5 would be slightly behind the Xbox Series X at launch in terms of technical features. Support for variable refresh rates (VRR) would not be there at launch, which is rather a shame for people with the TVs that support VRR.

Fortunately, Sony has confirmed that it won’t stay that way for very long, because VRR is coming to the PS5 as part of a future software update.

This news comes from the updated system FAQ on the official PlayStation Blog, noting the: “PS5 hardware supports Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) through HDMI 2.1.” It also notes that VRR will be available after a future software update for console owners who have compatible TVs. Naturally, games themselves need to support VRR as well.

For those that don’t know, VRR is quite an important feature for consoles and games that are aiming for high frame rates. The simple explanation is that it enables the best TVs to adjust their refresh rate in real time, matching the output of the game itself and preventing the changing frame rate from stuttering and tearing at the screen. So you wind up with a much smoother overall gameplay experience, which is exactly why people like high frame rates in the first place.

It’s not clear why VRR wasn’t available from launch day, especially since Sony’s official specs sheet confirmed that it was supported. The Xbox Series X has it right out of the box, with no need to sit around and wait for an update.

It’s not clear how long we’ll have to wait for VRR to arrive on PS5, but obviously it’s worth remembering that it is a luxury feature. A lot of users have been reporting issues with their consoles, including the recently uncovered “queued for download” bug, and Sony’s priorities should be to make sure everything is up and running correctly. So we likely won’t see VRR before the end of the year.

The PS5 and Xbox Series X and both out right now, letting you play all the best next-gen games. Assuming you have a console, of course, and they’ve not been easy to find. Fortunately we have been checking up on which retailers have stock, so be sure to check our where to buy PS5 and where to buy Xbox Series X guides.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.