general • Aug 08, 2018
Pros and Cons of Stretched Resolution in Fortnite
Written by: @Kai_Peterson_
Playing Fortnite on a stretched resolution has been growing increasingly popular in the Fortnite community, especially amongst the pros. Every week, it seems like more players in the Summer Skirmish tournaments are opting to play on non-native resolutions. Though viewers have complained that watching these resolutions hurts their viewing experience, pro Fortnite players seem to love playing on stretched.
Let’s start with a basic comparison between native resolution and stretched resolution. The default (native) resolution for most players is an aspect ratio of 16:9 (1920 x 1080), meaning there are almost twice as many pixels on the X-axis than the Y-axis.
Players that advocate for stretching resolution play on ratios like 4:3 (1440 x 1080) or 5:3 (1600 x 1080). For these resolutions, there are fewer pixels on the X-axis, but those pixels are stretched to make the game fit full screen. This makes the whole game look as if it is stretched out, which has been argued by many to come with various benefits, placebo or otherwise.
Here are the most popular stretched resolutions:
- 1600 x 1080 (5:3)
- 1440 x 1080 (4:3)
- 1280 x 1024 (5:4)
- 1280 x 960 (4:3)
- 1024 x 768 (4:3)
Below are screenshots of native resolution (1920 x 1080) vs. stretched resolution (1440 x 1080)
Before going over its benefits, it’s important to know that switching to stretched resolution is not as simple as changing an option in-game. The process involves some very specific steps and typically requires players to add a custom resolution to their monitor. Here’s our video guide that explains how to set up stretched resolution and the benefits/myths:
Now let’s go over the benefits of playing on stretched resolution.
1) Character models and hitboxes
Larger character models and hitboxes are some of the main benefits touted by those who use stretched, but it could be a Placebo effect.
The idea of stretching resolution to make hitboxes bigger comes from CS:GO, where stretching resolution also stretches character models. Stretching resolution in Fortnite works differently, however, because the character model is stretched but also shrunk vertically.
Reddit user /u/wictor1992 does a great job of explaining why stretched resolution in Fortnite doesn’t actually make hitboxes bigger. In fact, playing on stretched resolution may make character models appear slightly smaller overall.
2) Vertical FOV
Even though stretching resolution in Fortnite doesn’t increase hitbox size, it does increase vertical field-of-view (FOV). This means that players can see slightly more of the Y-axis on their screen. According to users on Reddit that advocate for stretched, a higher vertical FOV helps them maintain awareness and track enemies throughout build fights.
But the increased vertical FOV doesn’t come without consequences. The same users who advocate for stretched also report that long-range encounters are slightly more difficult with stretched resolution because character models appear smaller, making them harder to see from long distances.
Their reasoning for this trade-off is that they prioritize the higher performance on close-range build fights over long range AR duels.
3) Higher FPS
Another popular benefit for playing on stretched resolution is the increased frames-per-second (FPS), especially for those without high-end computers. For players that consistently struggle with FPS drops, stretched resolution could be a decent option for improving their gameplay experience.
This benefit, however, isn’t exclusive to stretched resolution. Reddit user /u/Rhelmar points out that the higher FPS is merely a result of fewer pixels on the screen, not a product of stretched aspect ratios. So, players can lower their resolution in-game to get higher FPS, rather than going through the trouble of getting stretching their resolution. The downside of lowering your resolution without stretching it is that Fortnite will result in either a blurry game in full screen mode or a smaller window in windowed mode.
Top players have also argued that stretched resolution feels more responsive, in terms of button input. They say that the game feels smoother on stretched resolution, and this has been one of the top points of debate in the stretched vs native argument.
There may be some merit to the game feeling more responsive when playing stretched because of the FPS boost it provides. Since most top streamers and players have high end setups and may not benefit much from an FPS boost, it’s still very possible that this responsiveness might just be based on their personal preferences. It’s worth noting however that most of the top players who switched to stretched resolution are adamant about its benefits.
5) Personal Comfort
Many of the guides and explanations for stretched resolution are made by players that are used to playing stretched in CS:GO. While some of the benefits of stretched resolution in Fortnite are questionable, it’s hard to argue with personal comfort. Often, players will see an improvement in performance just because they feel more comfortable playing the game.