Effect of Frame Rate on User Experience, Performance, and Simulator Sickness in Virtual Reality

Jialin Wang, Rongkai Shi, Wenxuan Zheng, Weijie Xie, Dominic Kao, Hai Ning Liang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The refresh rate of virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs) has been growing rapidly in recent years because of the demand to provide higher frame rate content as it is often linked with a better experience. Today's HMDs come with different refresh rates ranging from 20Hz to 180Hz, which determines the actual maximum frame rate perceived by users' naked eyes. VR users and content developers often face a choice because having high frame rate content and the hardware that supports it comes with higher costs and other trade-offs (such as heavier and bulkier HMDs). Both VR users and developers can choose a suitable frame rate if they are aware of the benefits of different frame rates in user experience, performance, and simulator sickness (SS). To our knowledge, limited research on frame rate in VR HMDs is available. In this paper, we aim to fill this gap and report a study with two VR application scenarios that compared four of the most common and highest frame rates currently available (60, 90, 120, and 180 frames per second (fps)) to explore their effect on users' experience, performance, and SS symptoms. Our results show that 120fps is an important threshold for VR. After 120fps, users tend to feel lower SS symptoms without a significant negative effect on their experience. Higher frame rates (e.g., 120 and 180fps) can ensure better user performance than lower rates. Interestingly, we also found that at 60fps and when users are faced with fast-moving objects, they tend to adopt a strategy to compensate for the lack of visual details by predicting or filling the gaps to try to meet the performance needs. At higher fps, users do not need to follow this compensatory strategy to meet the fast response performance requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2478-2488
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of Frame Rate on User Experience, Performance, and Simulator Sickness in Virtual Reality'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this