In their CES 2022 presentation today, NVIDIA announced that it thinks 1440p monitors with 360hz refresh rates should be the new esports standard across the industry. The company conducted research and concluded that apparently, a 1440p 27-inch monitor can make a gamer’s aim up to 3% better.
“For competitive gamers, milliseconds are the difference between winning and losing,” Jeff Fisher, SVP of GeForce and NVIDIA said. “With the global growth in esports, the demand for esports displays has been doubling each year. We believe the time is right to take esports to a new level.”
Fisher then announced NVIDIA’s new 27-inch esports monitors, which offer refresh rates of up to 360hz while maintaining 1440p resolution.
The pitch — As Seth Schneider, the GeForce esports product manager at NVIDIA explained, “1080p displays have ruled esports for over a decade, as the lower resolution has enabled higher frame rates and faster refresh rates. But our research shows that larger, higher resolution panels improve aiming performance, providing larger and more detailed targets to acquire.”
Schneider argued that NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 graphics card can easily deliver 360 FPS at 1440p resolution and that therefore it only makes sense that gamers should move toward bigger, faster displays.
What esports pros actually want — But the truth is, even pro esports players with top-of-the-line PC builds intentionally choose to play on the lowest graphics settings, regardless of what their machines and 30-series GPUs can handle.
It’s the opinion of many esports pros that better graphics does not mean better aim. Instead, many FPS pros in games like Apex Legends, Overwatch and Valorant choose the lowest settings possible to reduce the likelihood of stuttering, frame drops and screen tearing as they navigate different game maps that vary in GPU load. For example, take Apex Legends god-tier aimer iiTzTimmy, who plays the FPS battle royale title with nearly every graphics setting on “low” or “disabled.” TSM’s ImperialHal has similar settings, even choosing to keep V-Sync disabled too.
The higher one’s graphics settings, the more likely frame drops are to occur, and those are what can cost players matches. Truth is, pro esports players will choose stability over clarity, every time.
30-series shortage — NVIDIA also seems to have forgotten that due to the ongoing chip shortage, rampant scalping and cryptocurrency mining, most people still can’t get ahold of 30-series cards. So NVIDIA’s pitch is to an elite crowd, as most don’t currently have the hardware to game at such high frame rates at 1440p resolution.
Room to grow — That being said, gamers hoping to get ahold of a new GPU eventually could grow into their new monitor. NVIDIA has enabled a 25-inch 1080p option for the new monitors that offers a scaled experience if desired, so you could theoretically buy the 1440p monitor and run it at 1080p until you finally get that juicy 3090 of your dreams.
Fisher says that multiple brands have signed on to make 1440p monitors with NVIDIA, listing AOC, ASUS, MSI and Viewsonic as manufacturers.
Esports tournaments — While 1440p resolutions and 360hz refresh rates seems like the natural next step for PC gaming in esports, it’s not likely to be adopted anytime soon. If what happened at Microsoft’s Halo tournament in December is any indication, even manufacturers themselves are having a tough time supplying enough current-gen hardware to host professional esports tournaments. So even if pro leagues wanted to, they might have a hard time stocking their arenas with 30-series PC builds to go with those fancy new displays.
It’s all a bit awkward because as much as we appreciate NVIDIA tech, the chip shortage — not 1080p monitors — is the elephant in the room throttling our true gaming potential.