What is Input Lag?
Fundamentally, input lag is the time between the moment an input is made, and what appears on your screen. High input lag is bad, while low input lag is good.
An example of high input lag would be if you swipe your mouse to the right, but it takes 1 second for that action to be reflected on your screen. Hence the reason why it’s called input lag.
Input Lag & Frames Per Second (FPS)
- Higher FPS = Lower input lag
Basically, higher FPS gives your monitor a chance to “retrieve” the latest information and images from the game, making control inputs feel more responsive.
It is generally recommended to have higher FPS than the refresh rate (hz) of your monitor (refer to the previous paragraph).
Example: If your monitor has a 144hz refresh rate, it is recommended that you have 200+ FPS.
Also, doing so leaves a “cushion” of space in case of any sudden FPS drops in-game.
"Measuring" Input Lag in Overwatch
- Enter the Practice Range and press CTRL+SHIFT+N, which will bring numbers in the top-right corner of your screen. The farthest number to the right is the SIM number (which is seen as: number ms). Basically, a lower SIM number means lower input lag. Ideally, you want to have a SIM number of 10 ms or lower.
Recommended Settings for Reducing Input Lag
Set resolution to a maximum of 1080p, or lower for more FPS.
Set render scale to a maximum of 100%, or lower for more FPS.
Always enable fullscreen.
Disable full-screen optimizations: Locate: overwatch.exe> right click>properties>compatibility>check “disable fullscreen optimizations.”
Read more here:
Disable FPS restrictions (and then set it to 300 FPS).
Set shadow details to low.
Enable reduce buffering.
Disable triple buffering.
Disable ambient occlusion.
Disable local reflections.
Disable dynamic reflections.
Other Settings/Changes for Reducing Input Lag
- When running Overwatch, go to Task Manager>Details>overwatch.exe>Set Priority>High. You will have to do this each time Overwatch is launched, unless:
For Overwatch to be automatically given high priority each time it is launched, do the following:
Open a Notepad (type Notepad in the Windows search bar, click on “Notepad”).
Copy and Paste the following into the Notepad:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\Overwatch.exe\PerfOptions]
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\Battle.net.exe\PerfOptions]
Save the Notepad as a .reg.
Overwatch will now automatically launch as high priority. Done.
(Optional) Consider referring to this good Reddit thread + comments:
- Feel free to adjust any other changes, video settings, etc. that may reduce input lag in Overwatch.
Credits & Sources
- Esport Settings
The purpose of this post is to assist all types of Overwatch players in understanding how to reduce input lag in Overwatch. As such, please suggest any changes to the post, such as if there are inaccuracies, mistakes, etc. Thanks!
EDITS: Added additional instructions for the Notepad (Windows Registry…), changed “disable reduce buffering” to “enable reduce buffering”, added an ideal SIM number of 5 ms.