This is a very detailed discussion, so I encourage you to read and re-read before you post. There is A LOT to take in!
The Coalition needs to be aware of this large amount of input lag, and they need to address this before Gears 5 is officially released, and the players need to be aware of the lag difference. This alone I would consider justification for crossplay to be disabled. Gears Ultimate Edition demonstrates that the Xbox One hardware is capable of much lower lag times, so TC should fix this! THEY MADE ULTIMATE EDITION!
As it is now, the Gears 5 Playtest on the Xbox One X has over 4 additional lag frames compared to the PC version. At 60fps, this equals to 70ms of added latency for the console players. I created a chart to show the input lag of several Gears games on the Xbox One X hardware vs PC.
For my lag sampling, I am using a Xbox One X console set to output 1080p@60Hz with Freesync, a PC with an AMD GPU to also use Freesync, and a wireless controller. For Gears 4 and 5, I used Horde mode and Bootcamp. Both of these modes on the Xbox One X run at 60fps. Specifically with Gears 4 using the “performance”" setting to make Horde run at 60Hz. I am using a Samsung Freesync display set to 1080p@60Hz. On my PC, AMD gpu’s do support the new “Anti-Lag” feature. However, I did not use this feature as it would further skew results into PC’s favor.
I use a 240fps camera to record myself pressing the d-pad and count frames until an action is seen on the screen. For UE, it is the main menu icons. For Gears 4 and 5, it is the white weapon icons. The values in my chart from columns B->P are my lag values from the 240fps recording.
If you really want to see my tests, I created a youtube playlist. Unfortunately, youtube down-samples all my 240fps videos into 60fps, but I did create a frame by frame video of how I obtained these samples in the playlist.
Input lag tests for all Xbox One and PC Gears titles - use the “.” key in youtube and it allows you to advance 1 frame at a time.
To get some very annoying responses out of the way, here are several common responses to these kinds of tests:
“Use a wired controller, the lag will go away.” - Wired will not improve latency, and both my Xbox One X and PC use wireless with a controller using the latest firmware, so even if there was any latency (there isn’t), it would exist on both platforms equally. I am using the official Scorpio controller that came with my Xbox One X, and an official USB wireless adapter for PC.
“Your display is causing the lag, not the game. I don’t feel any lag because I use game mode.” - Any lag caused by the display would add equally to both tests, so the overall difference in lag between platforms would still be the same. In order to use Freesync on my Samsung display, game mode must also be active anyways,
“STOP COMPARING PC TO CONSOLES YOU PC ELITIST!” - No. because crossplay is active, it is very important for players to know that this advantage exists. Considering Gears 5 adds 70 extra milliseconds to the player’s reactions, it is substantial. 70ms is higher than most people’s ping in game! It takes longer for the Xbox to render the image to your TV than it does for your controller data to travel 100s of miles to a server.
“The Xbox One hardware can’t have lower input lag because of buffering and vsync.” - Ultimate Edition says otherwise.
“No one can feel that low of lag, so it doesn’t matter” - I made a frame by frame comparison showing how far your reticle can drift in 4 frames. If you can’t feel this amount of lag in your controls, well, that’s your problem.
So, what can TC do about this? Well, they can make the lag tolerable like it was in Ultimate Edition with a mere 1 frame added. It could be the implementation of Unreal Engine 1 vs 4 of how it runs on the Xbox One hardware causing extra lag. Who knows. But if TC would add proper graphics options like a “performance mode” to disable vsync, remove any post processing, buffering, and allow Freesync users full control over the framerate, then the experience would be better for everyone. Some people would definitely prefer removing some graphical prettiness to have a more responsive experience.