How to play 4K games

The latest 4K games are going to blow you away. Here's how to enjoy them.

01 Dec 2020

If you want to enjoy amazing graphics when you’re gaming – the kind of visuals that make you go “woah!” - then you’re in luck. Both the new PS5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X consoles can run games in 4K resolution – just as long as you have a 4K TV or monitor.

4K (also known as Ultra HD) gives you four times the resolution as Full HD. So when it comes to gaming, you’ll see a much greater level of detail than ever before - even if you’re sitting fairly close to the screen. And when you combine that 4K quality with the high rate of fps(frames per second) those new consoles are capable of shifting through, you get super-smooth and pin-sharp gaming - even when the onscreen action’s absolutely frantic. There’s never been a better time to be a gamer!

Fancy giving 4K gaming a try? Here are a few pointers on getting your console ready for it next time you press play…

 

How do I play 4K games on my Xbox Series X?

The new Microsoft Series X is a stunning next-gen console, and it boasts an incredibly powerful 12 teraflop GPU (graphics processing unit) capable of running 4K games at 120fps (frames per second). When you’re setting up your console, look out for the High-Speed HDMI 2.1 cable (and don’t be tempted to use anything else). It gives you the best possible resolution and framerate when you connect it to a 4K TV or monitor.

Cables all connected? Good. Now you can make sure you’re set up for 4K gaming. Press the Xbox button to open the guide,  select Power & system > Settings > General > TV & display options, then set your resolution to 4K UHD.

 

How do I play 4K games on my PS5?

The new PS5 is a power-packed console we think is awesome. It boasts a serious graphics upgrade that gives it the ability to play 4K games at 120fps. That higher framerate really does make games super-smooth, especially if  you’ve been used to playing 60fps games on the PS4. And you’ll be pleased to hear that Sony has supplied an Ultra High-Speed HDMI cable that supports this speedy frame rate.

Your PS5 automatically selects the best resolution for you. But if you want to do it manually, go to Settings > Screen and Video > Video Output. You can then view your current settings, and set the screen resolution to 4K.

If you’re looking for a new TV to enjoy your 4K PS5 games on, check out the Sony XH92 TV. It’s actually been specially optimised for the PS5, with HDR giving you an amazing range of colours, light and shade. Blacks are scarily deep, and bright light really shines. It also pumps out multi-dimensional sound – another quality that really takes your gaming experience up a notch. From bone-crunching crashes to the soft sound of enemy footsteps creeping up from the rear, you’ll hear it all.

 

Can I play 4K games on my PC?

4K gaming on a PC is pretty straightforward, as long as you know what to look for. Pretty much any gaming PC will support 4K. And of course, you’ll need a 4K monitor (see our top pick below)

Every game will be different. Some don’t require much graphics power to run 4K, but newer and more detailed games will need higher-end graphic cards and processors.

Love games like Minecraft and Fortnite? Then you’ll want at least a core i3/Ryzen 3 processor with a graphics card (almost any will do). On the other hand, if you’re going to be playing the latest AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed and Cyberpunk 2077, you’ll need to look at i5/Ryzen 5 (or even the superior i7/Ryzen 7) processors and serious graphics.

4K gaming monitors don’t need to cost the earth. This LG UltraGear 27” gaming monitor is a cost effective option that gives you a decent refresh rate (which helps make the onscreen action silky smooth). And because it’s HDR, it gives you those brighter whites and darker blacks that add to the in-game atmosphere.

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