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PlayStation 5's input latency issues in fighting games under investigation at Sony and Epic Games to figure out a solution

Hopefully a much needed update will come in the near future

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • May 10, 2022 at 4:29 p.m. PDT • Comments: 36

Most of the discourse surrounding fighting games on the PlayStation 5 doesn't revolve around the power of the console or any cool new features, but rather the bizarrely larger amount of input latency titles include compared to their competition and even predecessor.

It appears, however, that Sony and Epic Games, the two companies in charge of the system and Unreal Engine powering most modern fighters, are well aware of the issue and now speaking publicly about addressing lag on the PS5.

Taking to a Resetera forum discussing the higher input lag in titles like Guilty Gear Strive and The King of Fighters 15 on PS5, Simone Di Gravio, the Technical Developer Relations Console Engineer at Epic, responded to fighting game fans on the matter.

"It's awesome seeing the passion of the fighting games community and the dedicated efforts to analyze the technical nuances of various titles," wrote Di Gravio in their post. "We're aware of this input latency issue and are currently working with Sony to support affected developers from our side. Rest assured we'll do our best to help your beloved games shine across all platforms."

This is seemingly the first time someone from either corporation has talked publicly on the PS5's problems with latency, so it is nice to at least see them acknowledge it does indeed exist.

While we still don't know the direct cause of the heightened lag, there appears to be some sort of issue regarding games running on the Unreal Engine 4 on PS5 and hopefully not a fault of the console itself.

That is further backed up by PlayStation 4 versions of titles like KOF15 performing nearly identically on PS5 as it does on the PS4 Pro.

Since the system released in late 2020, UE4-powered fighters, which is most of them now, showed an average of 5–6 frames of latency on PS5 while that number on PS4 had stayed pretty consistently around 4 frames for years now.

General wisdom would tell you that more powerful hardware should decrease lag — like we've already seen with KOF15 on Xbox Series X and PC — but that's clearly not the case with Sony's strongest console.

Arc System Works has already updated Guilty Gear Strive once to reduce input latency across PS5 and PS4 Pro, so developers are working on the matter as well whether or not Sony and Epic were supporting them at the time, which is an encouraging sign that things can hopefully improve.

This isn't the first time that fighting games have ran into lag problems with the Unreal Engine 4 either.

Street Fighter 5 and Tekken 7 were among the first fighters to launch using UE4 this past generation, and both of them launched with even higher amounts of latency in the 7–8-frame ballpark.

Those issues were eventually addressed with updates to the games as well as the Unreal Engine as a whole over multiple attempts to bring those numbers down to the 4–frame average seen across most fighters on PS4.

With Sony now co-owning the Evolution Championship Series, they likely want to push the PS5 as the best place to play fighting games, but these continued lag issues have given them something of a black eye to the hardcore fighting game community.

It'll likely come down to a when and not if Sony and Epic will release a solution to the PS5's issues, but there's no indication as to how long players will be waiting to get the full benefits of the console.

Epic took nearly 2 years after SF5's launch to update UE4 as a whole, and with the recently released Unreal Engine 5 being the new hotness, there's no telling how high of a priority this is for them to fix right now.

The stink raised by the FGC was enough at least to get Epic to comment on the lag issues publicly, so hopefully reductions will come sooner rather than later.

Otherwise, Sony will likely see more and more of its fighting game playerbase continue to migrate to PC to get typically the best experience from a technical perspective.

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