Youtube promised back in June, and have now delivered. Yes, 60 frame per second playback is now available on Youtube for video rendered with the appropriate parameters, unlocking smoother playback in motion-intense scenes. Videogame-based content creators who specialise in 'Lets Play' video, speed runs, tutorials and game reviews have been eagerly awaiting this option and will finally be able to put their own high-end equipment to work for our enjoyment.
The original tweet promising 60fps support
Sixty frame per second video has been defacto on streaming platform Twitch for some time, but upstream bandwidth limitations tended to get in the way of a high quality experience. Youtube now puts the issue to bed for on-demand video due to leveraging Google's servers so that upstream is no longer an issue, all you need to do is capture and render the game at 60fps and then upload.
60fps playback is currently limited to Google's own Chrome browser (by selecting the 1080p60 or 720p60 resolution option) and isn't available on Firefox or Internet Explorer. Loading the same video, for example this one of a Mario Kart 8 world record lap, in two different browsers clearly shows the difference (and dare we say it benefit) of the higher frame rate. You're unlikely to see the average webcam captured content at 60fps however; Youtube are reserving the right to limit this option to 'motion intense' video, no-doubt in an effort to keep costs under control.
The debate over the merits of 30 vs 60 frames per second gaming has been raging for a while now, with game developers using the confused nature of the debate (not to mention the erroneous idea that 'our eyes can only see a maximum of 24fps') to justify frame-limiting games to the lower figure. This has especially been the case in the console arena, where hardware limitations mean a trade-off between image quality, resolution and frame rate that tends to favour the first two over the latter. Unfortunately there has been a knock-on impact on the PC as too often in-engine physics have been tied to this locked frame rate, whilst complaints over poor frame rates have been brushed off by citing the myth. Hopefully this move by Youtube will mean that gamers, especially PC gamers, will demand higher frame rates from their high-end AMD, NVIDIA and Intel hardware.
Youtube should also be implementing 48fps video playback, specifically for movies and television captured at this standard, at some point in the future.