DF Direct Weekly takes on Cerny's new PS5 video and the terrific Xbox Museum

Plus: is it really the end for FPS Boost?

Welcome to the 39th edition of Digital Foundry Direct Weekly – the regular show where the team downs tools for a couple of hours to discuss the latest gaming and technology news, share details on their projects and field questions from backers of the Digital Foundry Supporter Program. This week’s offering kicks off with reaction to a new video from Wired with Mark Cerny discussing how the PlayStation 5 was built. It’s an interesting talk, albeit one that’s very similar indeed to the now iconic Road to PlayStation 5 albeit with the benefit of a year’s worth of game titles that better demonstrate and emphasise the PS5’s features. It’s also a timely reminder of how Sony turned things around after the complications of PlayStation 3 – to double-down on communicating with developers and giving easier access to the hardware’s potential.

Despite covering off most of the bullet-points from the older talk once again, there are still some interesting nuggets of new information and integrated I/O is a great case in point. Cerny points out that Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales on PS5 has much the same storage footprint as the PS4 version, despite a wealth of new asset data. In many other cases, PS5 versions of PS4 titles are much, much smaller. It serves to stress that the SSD is not the be all and end all of the PS5’s storage solution, hardware decompression blocks make a genuine difference to throughput and Cerny calls it ‘invisible compression’, effectively allowing developers access to highly compressed data with no visible impact to performance in unpacking it. There’s more to come with PS5 and variable refresh rate support – VRR – is coming in 2022, based on the SDK roadmaps we’ve seen.

It’s Digital Foundry Direct Weekly #39, with Audi Sorlie, Rich Leadbetter and John Linneman perpetrating this one.

  • 00:00:00 Introductions
  • 00:01:22 Mark Cerny on PS5 with Wired
  • 00:13:03 Hitman 3 gets DXR reflections in 2022
  • 00:19:50 Xbox 20th Anniversary Museum
  • 00:32:20 No More FPS Boost?
  • 00:40:19 Square Enix’s “big” remake is supposedly Chrono Cross
  • 00:49:31 Crazy Frog returns
  • 00:50:37 DF Content Discussion: Bright Memory Infinite
  • 00:56:34 DF Content Discussion: Evercade vs livestream
  • 00:59:39 DF Content Discussion: Black Friday deals
  • 01:04:50 DF Content Discussion: DF After Dark
  • 01:06:33 DF Supporter Q1: With Xbox’s backwards compatibility updates and the GTA “remaster” debacle, do you think remasters are even necessary?
  • 01:13:16 DF Supporter Q2: In your opinions, will reduced power draw and battery limitations prevent the production of more powerful portable devices?
  • 01:17:19 DF Supporter Q3: With Intel’s XeSS being somewhat GPU agnostic, do you have any thoughts about the technology being implemented in PS5/X Series consoles?
  • 01:21:17 DF Supporter Q4: “Hi DF, would like to know your thoughts on the on-demand texture streaming used in Call of Duty: Vanguard.”
  • 01:24:40 DF Supporter Q5: I am personally not fond of “open world” games. However, I have come to like “wide linear” games. What are your opinions on this?
  • 01:36:13 DF Supporter Q6: Did you ever cover the demo scene or are you planning on it?
  • 01:39:41 DF Supporter Q7: You often say that the DF Supporter Program changed a lot for the whole team. Can you go more into details?

Beyond the Sony discussion we also share our thoughts on Hitman 3’s 2022 announcements, including ray traced reflections and VR support, before we discuss our thoughts on Microsoft’s excellent Xbox 20th Anniversary Museum, which not only charts the history of Xbox over two decades but also has a special section that mines your Xbox Live data to place you into the timeline. It’s brilliant stuff and often throws up some fascinating data! However, this is not as fascinating as Audi’s purchase of an Xbox 360 after Xbox One launched – remember when Don Mattrick told us that Microsoft had a product for those who couldn’t get online? Looks like at least one person bought into this remarkable vision!

We also talk about our Black Friday buys (for me right now this stands at bulk storage for DF data back-ups, renewing my Topaz AI license and personal Outlook 365 and replacing my lost Galaxy Active watch with another for just £42) while John shares his fascination with the recently released Bright Memory Infinite. It’s shaping up very nicely on PC, but we’ll likely focus on it more intently once it arrives on consoles too. We also discuss our recently launched Supporter-only podcast – DF After Dark – which despite apparently having an off-topic focus actually kicks off by talking about the team’s journey into the games business and how the DF team was built.

It’s all part of our continuing efforts this year to build a community with the DF Supporter Program, which leads us on to our Q+A round. This week, we talk about the future of AI upscaling and its application in the current-gen consoles. Plus… what does the on-demand texture streaming in Call of Duty: Vanguard actually do? I explain all – but fundamentally it’s all about streaming in only non-critical data related to micro-transaction skins. Beyond that, should developers focus on open world games, or focus their efforts into Crysis-style ‘wide linear’ designs? and finally, how has the DF Supporter Program changed our daily working lives? It’s question you can find answers to here, or by joining us of course – our Discord really is rather good…


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