Up For Debate - Where Next After 4K Gaming is Standard: Detail, Resolution or Frame Rate?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Nov 4, 2017 2:00 PM

It’s undoubtedly true that improvements to gaming visuals have slowed down a whole lot since the rush for 4K really took hold. The general consensus has been to prioritise a higher resolution over additional graphical detail or, in the case of the consoles, frame rate. But soon enough we’re going to be at the 4K standard. Single-GPU 4K solutions can be yours for $600, while for the next-generation GPUs it’s feasible to this figure could come down as low as $300-$400.

At that stage, we will have arrived. 3840 x 2160 will be the new 1080p. We’ll be at a crossroads - where to head next? The choices are pretty simple; they are the three pillars of graphical fidelity: resolution, frame rate and detail.

The absurd choice would be to keep chasing the resolution bump. 4K desperately needs to be standard for a good few years if we want to notice any other major improvements. The higher we creep with resolution, the more diminished the returns. Apple’s already out there touting its 6K monitors and the such of course, but it seems a bad idea to shoot for quadruple the horsepower of 4K and aim for 8K.

The second choice would be to target high frame rates and refresh rates at 4K resolution. As it currently stands, even those with the mightiest gaming rigs are probably only aiming at a maximum of 60 frames per second at 4K, but it’s only a matter of time until we start to see 144Hz monitors become commonplace.

Lastly, there’s visual detail, which concerns everything such as texture and model quality, draw distance, AI, lighting, shadows, particles, etc. This is an area which has moved a little slowly over the last three or four years. Assassin’s Creed Unity is still one of the best looking open-world games out there, for example.

Ultimately, as a PC gamer, you have the ability to choose between whichever three of these you which, with the obvious limit usually being the detail, which is maxed out at Ultra in any game. Soon enough we’re probably going to see a change in focus from resolution though, but what area would you like to see your gaming hardware focus on next? Are you keen for even higher resolutions? Or would you rather developers hold fire and start focusing on visual detail, or improved frame rates? Let us know below!

Once 4K becomes standard what should be the focus next?

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22:47 Nov-06-2017

Optimization in combination with FPS should be something to work for. Even if they are gonna put out higher FPS 4k displays, the hardware has to be able to handle that, and then we need optimization. But as many already said, 4k is still new in the gaming arena, and 1440p is often the choice for the gamer out there, to get higher FPS.

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22:48 Nov-06-2017

Realistic graphic is gonna be the next thing to put in as a goal, and will always struggle in kombination to hardware. In terms of the future, 4k will probably be a standard choice, in resolution and even better flow, bigger tvs will probably also have better input lagg, to handle pc gaming better, cause 4k is best on a big screen.

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13:09 Nov-06-2017

optimization

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13:01 Nov-05-2017

The good example of The great visuals on 1080p not 4k is Uncharted 4:A thief's End on ps4,awesome visuals.I hope any developer learn from that.

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12:36 Nov-05-2017

No way in hell they gonna up resolution up further for atleast 10-15 years. Not even 1% population owns 4K TV.
Most probably details.
Industry doesn't want to move casual gamers to 60fps i think because it's tough to reach it.

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08:49 Nov-05-2017

gpu's will hit a wall when photorealism becomes a thing. then the next step will be more fps and higher res

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08:02 Nov-05-2017

I think it would be photorealistic detail for me. That would be the next big leap. Also development in Ai as a lot of games still have horrible one dimensional Ai. 4k still needs quite a few years to be standard and I feel the benefits out of going above 120 fps only become marginal.

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06:53 Nov-05-2017

Everything on VR

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01:13 Nov-05-2017

And here I am content with my good old 20" 900p monitor xD Framerate and details would be more important in my opinion
Sure, higher res would probably look nicer, but my desk space is limited and is divided by cabinets I need to change the desk to upgrade my monitor, and I'm so used to this desk (7+ years old)

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07:51 Nov-05-2017

There are 24" 4K monitors and such. And 1080p 20" ones. Not that much of an difference in size but the resolution difference is remarkable

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13:36 Nov-06-2017

It's a pretty tight fit even for 20", maybe 21" but wouldn't be much of an upgrade going with that size. Maybe if I can get a good desk for &#60$200 then maybe I will look to 1440p

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00:29 Nov-05-2017

They will probably shore up frame rates as they bump up details. Unless they decide to push all the way to 8k first.

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00:17 Nov-05-2017

Steps for next generations of gaming: 4k resolution, detail phase 1 (acceptable draw-distance with increase foliage, limited popups), PC 8k, detail phase 2 (perfect draw distance with maximum foliage with no close to mid range popups, population density increase), 8k standard, detail phase 3 (population grand scale, maximum foliage with no close to far range popups, water physics at near end phase), 8k mastery

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23:46 Nov-04-2017

I really hope we find a way to stop creating small square shaped pixels there has to be a way to make a natural line without any anti - aliasing with no aliasing

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00:10 Nov-05-2017

I think it's just easier to create shapes with squares, also at lower pixel densities, round pixels would have very noticeable diamond shaped gaps at every corner of each pixel, unless something like pixel overlapping was used, which would probably create more work for the video hardware since it has to render more pixels to fill the screen.

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13:16 Nov-05-2017

Aliasing happens cuz of the way TV's and monitors display the picture. Anti-aliasing works by blending subpixels. The only way to eliminate that is higher resolutions or vector based displays. Thus 4k games use lower level or no anti-aliasing.


Also they don't have quadilaterals (squares) to render games any more. Nvidia and Sega tried that years ago and it becomes very hard to work with and creates a lot of excess work for the gpus. With triangles, you can make any and every shape you'd need, with more control of the overall shape.

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22:51 Nov-04-2017

I don't really see the need for 4K on anything other than huge monitors or TVs where the larger pixels of the larger screen necessitate the higher resolution.... so I'm not really targeting 4K anytime soon, whether it becomes the accepted mainstream standard or not, 1080P is more than fine for a smaller monitor, and 1440P is about perfect for midsized monitors(up to 27 inches I think), I would be interested in going 1440P or 1080P ultrawide at some point, both would be cool.

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02:01 Nov-05-2017

AND you can get a pretty cheap 1440p freesync monitor (which is freaking awesome technology) nowadays.

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22:10 Nov-04-2017

All!


Though i do wanna go 4k next

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21:44 Nov-04-2017

The vast majority of AAA developers still target 30 FPS for most console titles, outside of some shooters and fighting games. Personally I think the next generation of consoles should target 60 FPS minimum across all titles, because then it'll be easier to push the visual envelope on more powerful PC hardware.

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21:28 Nov-04-2017

Giving attention to optimization on PC as it is given on consoles.

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19:15 Nov-04-2017

i want detail to be next on the list, we are already at a point where some GPU's can reach 80-100 fps in 4k ultra in some newer games

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21:23 Nov-04-2017

Are we ?? Which gpu can hit 80-100 fps in 4k ultra ? You mean like Ultra settings right ?

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22:19 Nov-04-2017

well i can hit 80+ fps with my 1080 TI in destiny 2, i can hit 75-80 fps in battlefield 1, i can hit easily hit over 90 fps in overwatch haha xD and yes in ultra settings xD


now i hope you know the overwatch part is a joke as overwatch takes practically nothing

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18:00 Nov-04-2017

detail makes sense after 4k is standardized, it is basically the story with 1080p and 720p today, but as far as extreme end for enthusiasts where 4k was, I expect that whatever TV's do to be mirrored (8k, 4k 120hz, etc)

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17:52 Nov-04-2017

While I would love for developers and big-budget companies to focus on optimising games for the masses, I doubt they will go in this direction and will most likely go for better detail in the future, for better or for worse.

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16:16 Nov-04-2017

How about optimizations?

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20:00 Nov-04-2017

You know it's never gonna happen. ;)

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15:39 Nov-04-2017

Local multiplayer, because it's so hard to achieve !

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