A soldier kneeling and pointing a handgun to the right. There is a target behind the soldier.

What Does “FPS” Stand For?

When talking about video games, FPS does not mean "Fried Potato Skins." Well, not in most games...

Written by:
Avatar photo
Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Reviewed by:
Avatar photo
Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

There are two definitions for “FPS” in the video game industry:

  1. FPS—most commonly—is an abbreviation for the genre “First-Person Shooter,” in which players wield a gun from the perspective of a designated character’s field of vision. In this genre, the player sees the in-game world through the eyes of someone entering combat holding a firearm.
  2. FPS can also mean “Frames Per Second”, which is the measurement unit for how quickly video games and monitors can display individual images of video animation.

As far as video game terminology goes, what the acronym “FPS” can stand for depends on the context. It’s either the abbreviation of a popular genre of games or it’s being used as a short form for a technical element regarding animation and display devices—like monitors.

FPS Stands for “First-Person Shooter” in Gaming Genres

If you’re discussing video game genres with someone and “FPS” gets used in the conversation, whoever said it is likely referring to First-Person Shooter games. This genre is defined by the perspective of the player as well as the type of gameplay.

The “First-Person” part clarifies that a title is played from the point of view of a character. The player literally sees the in-game world through this character’s eyes. It’s like you’re in the body of a game’s protagonist.

Next, there’s the “Shooter” section of the full phrase. As you might be able to guess, this means the title in question involves shooting objects and enemies—often with a gun of some kind (but not always).

For example, the game Fallout 4 is an FPS (First-Person Shooter) because it lets you play from the point of view of the protagonist and wield a variety of firearms.

The player looking at a rusty broken car in first-person view. On the left is the view at the normal 70 field of vision and the right is the view at the larger 120 setting, which shows more. The player is in Fallout 4.

Fallout 4 also lets you play from a third-person perspective as well—if you so choose. There are pros and cons for both. Thankfully, it’s easy to change points of view on the fly. On top of that, you can even change your field of vision!

There are many other popular FPS games out there. Some of the most successful series are Call of Duty and Halo. Both of the aforementioned series have been going for a long time and have developed huge fan bases.

FPS Stands for “Frames Per Second” in Technical Terms

The left shows an blurry car driving through a field while the right shows a crisp car driving through a field.

We won’t delve too deeply into this one here, as we already wrote an entire article about the topic of frame rates in gaming. With that said, we’ll give you the board points for your convenience on what FPS can stand for:

  • A “Frame” is a single image in a sequence of images that makes up videos and animation
  • The number of Frames that are displayed during the increment of one second determines how smooth videos and animation look on screen
  • The human eye begins to blur together separate images around 12 FPS
  • Older video games and monitors used to run at 30 FPS
  • Modern games usually run at 60 FPS or higher (some now reach 120 or 240 FPS!)

After wrapping your head around how fast technology works, take a breather by playing some games! We recommend making sure your monitor can keep up with your chosen digital adventure.

We hope this article clarifies things for you! Determining what acronyms mean can be tricky. Even terms that have been around for a long time can be confusing. Take, for example, RPGs, which don’t really tell you what they are—even if you know the individual words of the acronym! Thankfully, you’ve got us to help you out.

Read Next
Metroidvania Games, Explained
Reyadh Rahaman | 5 months ago
Soulslike Games, Explained
Reyadh Rahaman | 5 months ago
Open World Games, Explained
Reyadh Rahaman | 5 months ago