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4K? HDR? What Do These Gaming Buzzwords Mean?

Get up to speed on these terms often used by big game companies.

Mar 15, 2019

By: Max Cannon

There are a ton of buzzwords thrown around the game industry hoping to excite players into grabbing a copy of whatever the latest game is. You may have heard some of these terms used to describe an upcoming game's awesome visuals, but maybe you aren't familiar with what it means. Well don't worry, read on and we'll get you up to speed on some terms like 4K resolution, 60 frames-per-second, and HDR.

Forza Horizon 4 - E3 2018 Trailer

4K Resolution

This is a common one that you may see outside of gaming as well. Resolution is defined as "the number of pixels contained on a display monitor" by "WhatIs.com" and that basically means that resolution is related to image quality. So if you have something running at a lower resolution, like 480p, then you'll be dealing with a blurrier picture but something high definition like 1080p will give you a cleaner and clearer image. 4K is basically the highest quality image resolution you'll get on a console or PC in 2019, though 8K is on the horizon. Of course, that's a pretty simple look at the definition but that may help you know that resolution relates to how clear an image can look. The bigger the number, the more clarity you'll see in your picture. 

Forza Horizon 4 really shows off the capabilites of both 4K and HDR on the Xbox One X.Forza Horizon 4 really shows off the capabilites of both 4K and HDR on the Xbox One X.

HDR, High Dynamic Range

You're going to need a high-end TV connected to your powerful console to actually see the benefits of something like 4K or HDR. HDR, or high dynamic range, is a feature that allows you to see a greater range of color on your display. So that means that you'll see darker dark colors and brighter bright colors if you have HDR enabled, it may actually help you get a better look into dark environments depending on the game you're playing. If you're on the hunt for a great game to really see how HDR looks for yourself, then I'd suggest Gears of War 4 on the Xbox One which is also a part of the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. This one is much harder to describe without taking a look for yourself.

A simulated look at the effects of HDR.A simulated look at the effects of HDR.Courtesy of Dolby

FPS, Frames-Per-Second

Of each of these phrases, FPS is the most likely to actually impact your gameplay. As you watch any piece of content, videos or games, then you'll be looking at multiple images to make up each second of footage. In movies, for example, you'll see 24 images to make up each second of footage. Games are much more flexible with many preferring games to run at higher frame rates like 60 frames-per-second, but mostly winding up stuck around 30 frames-per-second on modern consoles. As games and technology evolve, expect to see games running at higher frame rates to make things run far more smoothly.

Microsoft is often at the forefront of new technology so their games really show off these features.Microsoft is often at the forefront of new technology so their games really show off these features.
Share Your Thoughts!

Did this help you understand some of these gaming terms? What other ideas in gaming are keeping you stumped? Ask any other questions you have about gaming tech below in the comments and we'll try and find some answers!