Why YouTube’s 60 frames per second video matters

Not everyone understood why hosting videos at 60 frames per second was a big deal when YouTube announced the change back in June. Now the update has arrived, and you can see for yourself why people care.

The 60fps update to YouTube only works currently on Google’s Chrome browser. The new display options are marked as “720p60 HD” and “1080p60 HD.” They look fantastic. If you’re set up on Chrome, make sure you’re on the best Internet connection you have access to, and then
crank up the visual quality on this Mario Kart 8 clip.

Debates over how many frames per second a video game is capable of displaying may sound like a nitpicky or silly concern of hardcore gamers, when frame rate is tied to reaction times and lag time in executing controller commanders. Regardless of how much faith one puts in those arguments, it’s difficult to argue with the proposition that games just look better when you double the frames per second from 30 to 60.

The most obvious difference is that motion looks much smoother and less ragged, owing to the additional frames. And so YouTubers and their fans have complained for years about the fact that their favorite Web video service did not support what gamers consider the golden number of 60fps. 

Those days are gone. However, without a rock-solid, high-speed internet connection, YouTube users might not notice much of a difference. Whether or not you can enjoy 60fps doesn’t entirely depend on whether YouTube is cooperating or not. 

Screengrab via MK8 Records/YouTube

Dennis Scimeca

Dennis Scimeca

Dennis Scimeca was the Daily Dot's gaming reporter until 2016. He loves first-person shooters, role-playing games, and massively multiplayer online games. His work has appeared in Salon, NPR, Ars Technica, Kotaku, Polygon, Gamasutra, GamesBeat, Paste, and Mic.