For much of 2020 and 2021, both of my home’s game consoles suffered from a mysterious and irritating problem: their wireless controllers had terrible lag. Switch or PlayStation games that required precision input had become essentially unplayable: I could press a button and quickly lift up my thumb again before the on-screen character reacted.

I’d occasionally research this issue online, but seldom found useful advice. (Even today, the first hit for a search I just tried begins by advising that you play with a wired connection, instead.) We moved house in the late summer of 2021, giving me the opportunity to approach the problem fresh, and I’m happy to report that I do think I’ve overcome it.

The two steps I took, in the order that I tried them:

  1. I moved our apartment’s wifi router away from our game-console stack. One of the few useful suggestions I did find online blamed signal interference, and suggested putting distance between one’s consoles and radio devices like routers. Setting up our new apartment from scratch made this option more feasible than usual.

    In our last place, we had very literally stacked our consoles right on top of the wifi router! So, we stopped doing that.

  2. I turned on my TV’s “game mode” for the HDMI inputs that each console used. As my TV’s explanatory text put it, this trades off high-as-possible video quality in favor of maximizing display responsiveness, pushing out images to the screen as fast as it can.

    We’ve owned this TV for a while, and I don’t know if this option appeared with a recent OS upgrade, or if I’d simply never looked for it before.

In retrospect, I suspect that the latter step helped more than the former; I well remember how satisfied I felt when I tried my newly configured TV inputs, and saw the screen respond to the controller with neither delay nor any detectable picture degradation. But physically separating the router did seem to alleviate the problem to some degree before that, so I include it here for the sake of completeness.

So that’s my very short how-to for this rather modern gaming problem, and I hope it helps some future person searching the web for answers. I shall now pick up Hollow Knight where I’d last left it off, some 20 months ago.

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