Presented by NVIDIA
The competitive shooter space is thriving, offering intense class-based combat, straight-up action and intense firefights across large-scale sandboxes. Whether it’s small arenas, closing circles of doom, objectives to complete or locations with seemingly infinite tactical possibilities – going hands-on with your favourite game (with keyboard and mouse in tow) is fun, thrilling and a test of skill. A place where split-second decision making goes together with preparation and planning.
In the PC space, if you’re jumping into Overwatch
, Rainbow Six Siege
or Apex Legends
, odds are you’re doing so with a mind towards performance. That is, in-game performance. With all three games offering the sort of thrills that have seen the rise of esports competitions like the massive Overwatch League
or the local Rainbow Six Siege Oceanic Challenger League
explode, odds are you’re fully aware as to what bits of hardware make up your desktop or mobile rig of competitive choice when you choose to fire these up. And what sort of difference that can make.
Competitive shooters and the online titles we play can often be the catalyst for choosing what hardware to get. And on that front, when it comes to competitive performance – the latency improvement technology that is NVIDIA Reflex
stands tall. Available in all three and supported by the entire GeForce GTX 10, 20, and 30 series range, Reflex is primed and ready to drive your adventures onto the frozen grounds of Chalet, through the sunny, white-stoned streets of Ilios, or above the sprawling city of the future called Olympus.
Frames, and Reflex, Wins Games
For a competitive shooter, visual fidelity often takes a back-seat to performance. In the world of Operators, Heroes, and Legends, frame-rate is king – something that has been proven time and again. It’s a rather simple equation, being able to clearly see what’s happening on-screen improves your chances of winning. Especially when the difference between a hit or a miss is measured in milliseconds.
It’s a rather simple equation, being able to clearly see what’s happening on-screen improves your chances of winning. Especially when the difference between a hit or a miss is measured in milliseconds.
Looking around to scan an environment for threats or to simply track someone or something on the horizon, the difference between a 144 frames-per-second image (144Hz) versus that of 60 frames-per-second (60Hz) is night and day. A blur versus a crisp animated silhouette.
Performance is of course intrinsically tied to hardware, and no matter if it’s a GeForce GTX 1660 Ti or a GeForce RTX 3070
, tuning a rig for the competitive shooter scene is almost always a case of frames over fidelity. Passing the 60 fps threshold in Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege or Apex Legends is not only possible, but achievable across a wide range of NVIDIA graphics options.
Hitting that smooth performance (which becomes even smoother if you add a G-Sync display into the mix) raises another challenge – hitting that crisp animated silhouette on the horizon with a well-timed shot. Skill is of course a factor, but, there are other forces at play when taking out a fast-moving opponent.
Pushing higher frames requires power, and rendering all those extra frames is taxing on even the most formidable rig, where under the pretty RGB lights there’s some real silicon sweat and processing going on. “Videogame magic”, if you will, and NVIDIA Reflex is just that – it lowers system latency by improving the traffic flow between the CPU and GPU. So instead of there being noticeable input delay, things will happen a lot faster. In Overwatch that’s lowering the time it takes between pressing fire on McCree’s Peacekeeper revolver as Tracer runs past a doorway and seeing the gun actually fire on-screen. And connect.
NVIDIA Reflex is a mix of software and hardware, implemented into games by developers and then enabled by players via simply ticking a box in an options screen.
Released in 2016, Blizzard’s Overwatch saw the veteran studio enter the team-based multiplayer shooter space in style – with a universe full of vibrant and lovable characters, an engaging story and solid gameplay that took the foundation laid out by Team Fortress all those years ago and brought it into the 21st century. By taking control of different Heroes, each with their own unique weapons, abilities and roles in various objective-based maps, and action-packed encounters, the game found immediate success.
In Overwatch that’s lowering the time it takes between pressing fire on McCree’s Peacekeeper revolver as Tracer runs past a doorway and seeing the gun actually fire on-screen. And connect.
And then some, with the rise of the Overwatch League, Seasonal events, regular updates, new Heroes, new Maps, as well as progression that sees competition brought to the fore at even the most casual levels of play. Overwatch is a competitive mainstay. It’s hard to think of a time before it, and with Blizzard currently working on Overwatch 2 it’s also hard to think of a time where we’ll be without it.
Like most competitive shooters, the team-focused Overwatch is a game measured in milliseconds, whether that’s keeping the damage output pressure on, healing teammates as Mercy or Lucio, pushing the Payload or choosing the right moment to drop an Ultimate ability.
And with Blizzard recently adding NVIDIA Reflex support into Overwatch, where system latency can be reduced by up to 50%, that in-game performance is now better than ever when played on an NVIDIA GPU. And that 50% was something we were able to replicate using the new GeForce RTX 3060
. What that means for the action is responsiveness to the controls and improvements to the input – even for those of us that main Lucio and Reinhardt. Acting like the second half to the high frame-rate story that comes from years of Blizzard optimising the game’s engine, if you’ve been playing the game for years, you’ll feel the difference.
Rainbow Six Siege
Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege is entering Year 6 of being out in the wild, which is something of a milestone in the competitive shooter space. Especially when you factor in that Siege’s popularity hasn’t waned in the slightest. It might just be more popular than ever. There’s tactical strategy at play here, not only with how the maps are designed to create dynamic and evolving hot spots, but also with each weapon and what each Operator brings to the table.
Year 6 is of course bringing new stuff in the form of a new map: Border, and a new Argentinian Operator called Flores. A gadget expert who comes equipped with drones that, well, explode. Rainbow Six Siege is not only exciting to play, but incredible to watch – which is one of the reasons Siege esports is such a blast. You can just about feel each tactical decision as it happens, which makes the local Siege OCL a calendar highlight for many.
Rainbow Six Siege is not only exciting to play, but incredible to watch – which is one of the reasons Siege esports is such a blast.
The core of Rainbow Six Siege involves a team using a combination of firepower and gadgets to infiltrate, breach, and push through close quarter environments with clarity, and speed. The action is fast, intense, and brutal. And when you can have all hell break loose in a few corridors and rooms, the notable Year 6 addition of NVIDIA Reflex is a big deal. Reducing latency by 30% in a title where someone can run past your sights mere metres away is something that flows through to the esports side, and for those of us playing at home.
Respawn’s Apex Legends’ surprise drop two years ago caught many off guard -- a new Battle Royale effort from the team behind the excellent Titanfall
series. A BR set in that same universe, but with a Duo sensibility in mind and Legends that come equipped with different abilities. As to the question of whether or not it found success, the recent 100 million unique player milestone pretty much answers that, and then some. Apex is available to play on any number of platforms, though it’s on PC where the competitive nature shines brightest.
Fluid movement, traversal that feels both effortless and acrobatic, Apex presents a BR experience unlike any other – bolstered by maps that amplify the sandbox nature of the genre at its best. With news that the upcoming Season 9 is getting a brand new 3v3 Arenas mode, and with NVIDIA Reflex support added late last year, competition in Apex is only going to heat up.
As a Battle Royale experience Apex is no stranger to the opening salvo that is locating loot and scouting ahead, followed by short bursts of action, or simply trying to set up shop with a clean shot on any potential Legend coming down the line. Input latency thanks to Reflex drops by up to 30% in Apex Legends, and with NVIDIA’s own monitoring tools the difference can be seen, and felt, if you do decide to disable the option.
With technology like NVIDIA Reflex now available in the most popular competitive shooters today, it’s something that will only become more common and essential for esports or those looking to up their game. Sizeable system latency reduction through a mix of hardware and software, sitting alongside similarly forward-thinking technology like NVIDIA DLSS, the future is more than pushing higher frames. And in a world where frame-rate is king, Reflex and DLSS are royalty too.