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(Pocket-lint) - The Xbox Series X is practically upon us - with the less-powerful Series S also imminent. That means that next-gen gaming performance is finally here, with improved resolutions and frame rates coming with it. 

In fact, you might have seen quite a lot of information flying about 120fps, and the fact that the Series X is built to enable it. But what exactly does that mean, and will games actually use it? We've got the answers for you right here. 

What does 120fps mean?

The "fps" in that bit of technical lingo stands for "frames-per-second", and refers to how quickly a console can output visual frames while you play - it's fairly self-explanatory in that way.

So, a game that can run at 120fps is outputting 120 frames-per-second, which makes for extremely smooth and responsive visual performance. For context, even 60fps has only recently started to become standard on consoles. Big series, like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, target 60 FPS on current-gen consoles, so 120fps is quite a step up.

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That smoothness can mean that some visual corners have to be cut in order to keep things running, so might mean that there's less detail or fewer effects. How to manage that balance is up to individual developers. 

Does 120fps work on all TVs?

The biggest complication when it comes to 120fps is that it won't work on every TV set, sadly. If you've got a newer TV, one with a panel that supports a 4K 120Hz reresh rate (another, more TV-centric way of saying 120fps), then you'll be fine. You might have a TV that only supports 1080p 120Hz,  but that will be largely fine too, as most of the initial games will struggle to output full 4K at 120fps.

Most TVs older than a couple of years, however, only allow for up to 60Hz refresh rates, and these won't be able to take advantage of 120fps. The TV simply can't quite keep up with the console's output. It'll still look nice and smooth with 60fps, but not quite to the same extent. 

What games run at 120fps on Xbox Series X?

Since Microsoft's newest console is still extremely young, the list of games that can run at 120fps on it is still fairly short - you can find the entire list below:

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition
  • Dirt 5
  • ExoMecha
  • Gears 5 (Multiplayer)
  • Halo Infinite (Multiplayer)
  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection
  • Metal: Hellsinger
  • Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Orphan of the Machine
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Second Extinction
  • The Falconeer
  • The Touryst

It's a list that includes some new games, like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and some existing Xbox titles with next-gen optimisations, including Gears 5 and Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

Regardless, playing any of these games on your Xbox Series X will see you able to play to a degree of smoothness you might not be used to, so be sure to try them out. 

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Rik Henderson.