WhWhat is input lag?
Quite simply, its the delay between a button press on your controller and what results on the display. The amount of delay varies between different displays (and is one of the reasons this website was founded, to fight this ignorance), and it can be very hard to detect without lots of experience. Its also something that wasn’t easy to measure, due to the complications of old methods. Thankfully, we have a new method that simplifies this process.
How does it affect me?
Ever played Call of Duty, Halo, or maybe Street Fighter online? If you have, you probably know what a laggy connection feels like. But that’s not all that’s in play here. This feeling is amplified because of your display as well! Games like Call of Duty and Halo use netcode that hides input lag so your inputs stay responsive, but if there is lag, it affects what happens on the screen (other players jerking around, teleporting, frames dropping, etc), whereas a game like Street Fighter 4 causes input lag if the connection is laggy (this game has to keep frames v-synced due to the nature of the game). Imagine if Call of Duty or Halo had input lag on top of the de-syncing that occurs due to laggy connections. Not only are you having trouble keeping up with the action warping around the screen, but your controller is not responding as accurately as it should. Street Fighter 4 can nearly double or triple its input lag because of a bad display. A fighting game needs to have instant response times to react and execute combos. Now imagine variable input lag from a bad internet connection, and fixed input lag from a bad gaming display. Sounds horrible right? That combo that you would normally execute on an excellent display is now twice as hard to do on a bad display. That’s before we even set foot online with its variable connection tendencies.
Can I do anything to stop input lag?
If you already have a poor gaming display, there are some steps you can take...