January 24, 2019 // 11:19 a.m.
Epic Games has promised to address an issue with its popular Fortnite family of shooters in which those running on low-end systems have a competitive disadvantage thanks to frame rate-linked gunfire below 60 frames per second.
Originally launched as a collaborative survival sandbox title dubbed Fornite Save the World, Epic quickly shifted the focus of its colourful base-building shooter following the success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and launched Fortnite Battle Royale. The latter has proven a stunning success for the company, launching on consoles, Windows, and even smartphones, but players have spotted a flaw that could spell trouble for those looking to play competitively but who can't afford the latest and greatest hardware: Gun firing rates which are affected by the frame rate of the game.
First publicised on social media site Reddit, the flaw sees players running at under 60 frames per second firing at a slower rate than those with systems capable of running the game at 60 frames per second or greater. For a competitive game, that confirms a definite advantage on those who can crank up their frame rates and enjoy what the Orks of Warhammer 40,000 would call 'more dakka'.
Eurogamer has confirmed that the effect is, indeed, real, though limited: Running the game at 30 frames per second versus 60 frames per second sees the latter player firing at a 5-6 percent speed advantage - slight, but measurable and certainly enough to give the higher-FPS player an edge in an otherwise fair fight. Experiments above 60 frames per second, up to 300 frames per second, showed no measurable difference.
Epic Games, for its part, has confirmed the flaw, issuing a statement to Eurogamer explaining that it is 'investigating a fix [and will] update players as soon as we have more information'. PC players, meanwhile, are advised to fiddle with the graphical quality controls to boost their frame rate above 60 frames per second; those on consoles, particularly the 30FPS-locked Nintendo Switch, will have to wait for a patch from Epic.