In the world of online shooters, blaming latency for your death is only slightly less popular than blaming hackers when you get killed five times in a row by the same [censored] on the other side of the server. But in Valve’s highly-anticipated Counter-Strike 2, you’ll have one less option when it comes time to apologize to your teammates—assuming you’re using an Nvidia graphics card, anyway. The upcoming game will use Nvidia Reflex to apply graphics card power to reduce latency and increase responsiveness.
Reflex is a fascinating little bit of software. It’s an end-to-end SDK made with esports in mind, which reduces the time between when a player’s input on the mouse and keyboard goes from the CPU to the GPU, and then gets displayed on the monitor as a gameplay effect. With a shortened render queue, the CPU can sample mouse, keyboard, and controller inputs at the last possible millisecond, resulting in a dramatically reduced gap between the time when you make a click and when your in-game character fires.
This is a complex, end-to-end process, and it can’t simply be added to any game. Game developers need to take advantage of the Reflex SDK in order for players to see the result, something that’s already happened in manyof the most popular online multiplayer shooters, including Fortnite and Valorant. Counter-Strike GO does not support Reflex, which is why it’s notable that CS2 will do it right out of the gate, according to a report by The Verge. Nvidia claims that Reflex can reduce latency by as much as 35 percent, especially on older graphics cards.
The results will be felt most on setups with decent power and a high-speed monitor, 120Hz at the very least. You’ll also need an Nvidia graphics card, but an expensive new GPU isn’t necessary — Reflex will work on cards as old as the GeForce GTX 900 series from 2014. That’s a big deal, as Counter-Strike GO remains a popular online game for players who don’t have the most recent hardware.