The Acronym "DPS" Is All Over the World of Gaming — but What Does It Mean?

What does "DPS" mean in games? It may seem like the acronym is all over the place now, but it's been used for years now as a descriptor.

Kori Williams - Author

Jan. 26 2022, Published 12:40 p.m. ET

When it comes to gaming, part of the rush is finally completing a rough level or getting the unlockables that seemed almost impossible. With new games coming out all the time, there are more weapons, characters, abilities, and more to fall in love with, but that also means there are terms that may not make sense to everyone, especially those who are new to the industry or the hobby.

Article continues below advertisement

New terms for things pop up all the time. And those playing a certain type of video game may be hearing the acronym "DPS" for the first time. But what does it even mean in games? It's actually very useful when it comes to trying to beat some of your favorites.

Article continues below advertisement

What does "DPS" mean in games?

According to, DPS stands for Damage Per Second, primarily in multiplayer games. It's used to describe types of weapons and characters as well as how much damage they're capable of in that short amount of time. This is a quick way for gamers to know the most effective way to beat a level or campaign.

DPS describes damage, but this can be a combination of how many attacks a character or weapon can perform per second along with how much damage each of those attacks generates. So even if one punch from a character can deplete another's HP (health points) by five, if that same character can punch five times per second, the overall damage is actually –20 HP. This is even better if you can hit multiple enemies at once.

Article continues below advertisement

Although it's not exactly clear when DPS started being used, many say that it began in MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games) and specifically in World of Warcraft. But eventually, it spread and has now been used across the gaming world.

What is a DPS character?

A DPS character is one whose main objective is to cause damage. Essentially, this is anyone in a game used primarily for offense or defense. With this definition, you could say that all heroes in a game are DPS characters, but that's not exactly the case. In the Overwatch subreddit, it is explained that heroes do more than damage in a game and therefore, don't always fit in this category.

Article continues below advertisement

On top of that, it's also important to consider how much stamina or energy an attack uses because that is a factor in determining how many hits a character can get in as well.

Article continues below advertisement

One user listed Overwatch characters like Tracer, Pharah, and McCree (now named Cole Cassidy) as DPS characters but also clarified that it all depends on how accurate you are with your attacks. No matter how high a DPS is, it doesn't matter if you can't land a hit.

So it's also important that players be as accurate as possible so they can get the most out of a character or a weapon's DPS. Luckily, many games have tutorials or in-game safe areas that players can use to practice their skills.

Many players also have a throw-away safe file they use for this very purpose. No matter how you do it, you're strengthening your skills and will be ready to make the most of your gameplay.

More from Distractify

Latest Gaming News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2023 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.