The Battle Royale genre has taken off over the last couple of years with games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Blackout and Apex Legends drawing millions of users every day. The premise of these games is fairly simple: you’re dropped into a battlefield, either solo or as part of a squad, with the goal of being the last person or team standing. You’ll need to scour the area for weapons and other survival gear while killing (or avoiding) any opponents that might cross your path. This leads to intense, frantic gameplay where reaction time can be the difference between victory and defeat.
To achieve a ‘victory royale’ you want every bit of help you can get. Getting your favorite weapon, tier 3 armor and an advantageous position are key, but how does hardware factor into your victory or defeat in Battle Royale?
High FPS Leads To Better Results
For many years, esports pros have tuned their hardware for ultra-high frame rates -- 144 or even 240 FPS -- and they pair their hardware with high refresh rate monitors. In fact, ProSettings.net and ProSettings.com report that 99% of Battle Royale Pros (Fortnite, PUBG and Apex Legends) are using 144 Hz monitors or above, and 30% are using 240 Hz monitors. This is because when you run a game, an intricate process occurs in your PC from the time you press the keyboard or move the mouse, to the time you see an updated frame on the screen. They refer to this time period as ‘latency’, and the lower your latency the better your response times will be.
In modern games, “Game Engine”, “Direct X Render” and “GPU” all have the same latency. The faster your GPU, the less time these three processes take, and the faster you will see updated images on your monitor to react to. Hence, your GPU is the most important element to lower latency. Below, you can see how the end-to-end latency of a system changes depending on the GPU.
The latency of a system with an NVIDIA RTX graphics card is halved compared to a GeForce GTX 750 Ti, and nearly 6 times less than a system without a GeForce GPU. So one surefire way to lower latency is to get higher frame rates, by upgrading your GPU or other components that may be capping your FPS.
Working with pros through NVIDIA’s research team and Esports Studio, we have seen the benefits of high FPS and refresh rates play out in directed aiming and perception tests. In blind A/B tests, pros in our labs have been able to consistently discern and see benefits from even a handful of milliseconds of reduced latency.
But what does higher frame rates and lower latency mean for your competitiveness in Battle Royale? A few things:
Higher FPS means that you see the next frame more quickly and can respond to it
Higher FPS on a high Hz monitor makes the image appear smoother, and moving targets easier to aim at. You are also less likely to see microstutters or “skip pixels” from one frame to the next as you pan your crosshair across the screen
Higher FPS combined with G-SYNC technologies like Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) makes objects and text sharper and easier to comprehend in fast moving scenes
This is why for Battle Royale games, which rely heavily on reaction times and your ability to spot an enemy quickly, you want to play at 144 FPS or more.
High FPS and K/D
We were curious to understand how hardware and frame rates affect overall competitiveness in Battle Royale games for everyday gamers - while better hardware can’t replace practice and training, it should assist gamers in getting closer to their maximum potential.
One of the common metrics of player performance in Battle Royales is kill-to-death (K/D) ratio -- how many times you killed another player divided by how many times another player killed you. Using anonymized GeForce Experience Highlights data on K/D events for PUBG and Fortnite, we found some interesting insights on player performance and wanted to share this information with the community. Let’s take a look!
In the first slice of our data, we charted the K/D performance in Fortnite and PUBG of the median player for each GPU generation. We used the GeForce GTX 600-Series as a baseline, and calculated the relative increase in kill/death ratio as it corresponds to each successive GPU generation. As the chart above shows, the median player using new GeForce RTX 20-Series graphics cards had a 53% higher K/D ratio compared to a player using the older GTX 600-Series cards.
One obvious explanation here could just be that better players tend to buy better hardware, so we dug deeper into the data to understand if we could account for player skill.
We know that improving at Battle Royale games is a matter of practice, so we then looked at the data based on how many hours per week a gamer played.
What’s interesting here is that having a better graphics card helped at all levels of play time, whether you only play a few hours a week, or are a Battle Royale veteran. In fact, in the chart we see that the gap between GeForce GTX 1050/Ti users and GeForce GTX 1080/Ti users expands as hours played per week increase, which means that players with more hours played appear to benefit even more from having a better GPU. This data aligned with what we observed in our lab research -- the higher the skill level, the more that players are attuned to the game and can benefit from differences in hardware.
144 Is The New 60
To get a final perspective, we wanted to see how K/D and GPUs related to monitor refresh rates. While more powerful GPUs and higher frame rates can help smoothness and reaction time on their own, the full benefit of higher frame rates gets unlocked when the refresh rate of the monitor is able to keep pace with the GPU.
So this time, we compared the difference in K/D for the median player using our GeForce GTX 10-Series and GeForce RTX 20-Series GPUs with 60 Hz, 144 Hz and 240 Hz monitors, respectively. Since we were interested in understanding the effect of high frame rates, we limited this sample to players using a resolution of 1080p, as higher resolutions can impact FPS.
The data showed that gamers that take full advantage of their graphics card by using a high refresh monitor (144 Hz or above) have significantly higher K/D ratios. And as we’ve seen before, that performance increases significantly as you work your way up to the GeForce RTX-20 Series GPUs.
Unlock Your Full Potential In Battle Royales
For years, gamers thought that the magic FPS number to hit was 60 FPS, and many believed you only needed 144 FPS if you intended to compete in esports tournaments. As the data in this article shows, however, everyday players of Battle Royale games that use fast graphics cards and high refresh rate monitors tend to achieve significantly better results than players with older, slower graphics cards and 60 Hz displays.
In other words, if you play Battle Royales and want to perform at your best, you should optimize your system for 144+ FPS and pair it with a 144 Hz monitor. And for ultimate performance, 240 Hz monitors provide an additional boost, though you’ll need a graphics card powerful enough to consistently run at 240 FPS to get the full benefit from it.
This data doesn’t mean that simply upgrading your GPU will make you a better player. But however you cut it, it is easy to see a relationship between the hardware used and a player’s kill/death ratio: having the right hardware enables the highest FPS and lowest latency, and that can help you reach your full potential on the battlefield.
If you recently upgraded your hardware we’d love to hear how it has helped you improve your gameplay in Battle Royale games, and to compare notes with our own analysis.
Recommended Graphics Cards For High Frame Rates
So what does it take to hit high frame rates in the most popular Battle Royales? Let’s take a look:
Apex Legends has taken the Battle Royale scene by storm, and has over 50 million players 1 month after release. With most players trying to learn the game as fast as possible, having the right gear can help you get there faster. With the GeForce RTX 2070 you will play at 144 FPS at High settings, and the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti will put you up at 200 FPS. You can always lower settings further to push for higher FPS, but with GeForce RTX GPUs you can get both competitive FPS and maintain good graphics quality. This is particularly important for players who livestream , or capture and share their gameplay.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - Blackout is also a recent addition to the Battle Royale genre. With the new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti you will be able to play at 144 FPS at High settings. The GeForce RTX 2060 will help you maintain a solid 144 FPS at 1080p with High settings even during the most demanding fights. To achieve the ultimate 240 FPS, that’s where our GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti really shine.
In terms of concurrent users, Fortnite is one of the most popular Battle Royale game out there. If you want to hit 144 FPS at High settings, a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti will get the job done. In order to maintain 144 FPS at any point, however, the GeForce RTX 2060 is the way to go. If you want to take things seriously, the GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti will let you achieve your full competitive potential at 240+ FPS.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is best known for popularizing the entire Battle Royale genre. The game can be as demanding on your hardware as it is challenging to play, but the GeForce RTX 2070 is able to give you an edge by pushing your game to 144 FPS at 1080p with High settings. To get the maximum possible FPS, a GeForce RTX 2080 Tiis your weapon of choice.
Whether you are a pro or just getting into Battle Royale games, having the right hardware can help you reach your full potential on the battlefield. Check out one of our GeForce RTX 20 Series GPUs paired with a high refresh rate G-SYNC monitor to get the faster reaction times and edge on your opponents. Happy gaming!