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DF Direct Weekly on Elden Ring 1.03 Xbox perf boosts, FSR 2.0 and GT7 online DRM

Plus: what does the physical/digital sales split actually look like?

The 53rd DF Direct Weekly is now available for your viewing pleasure - and as a podcast too, if you'd prefer. After the obligatory chat about the improvements made to Grand Theft Auto 5 for its latest upgrade for current-gen consoles, we move straight on to the ongoing topic of Elden Ring console performance where we have found that the recently minted 1.03 patch actually seems to improve Xbox Series console performance!

Yes, tests suggest that Microsoft consoles benefit from a small overall performance boost of around seven percent in the open world, while frame-rates on PlayStation 5 remain static (seemingly all consoles benefit on the initial cutscene, however). On the face of it, it's not a big deal as such as a variable refresh rate display for Xbox is still the best option, but what it does mean is that in areas where the game may have previously fallen beneath the VRR range of a particular screen, it should now be more stable. In our tests, PlayStation 5 still commands a small lead but the Xbox enhancements see Series X now delivering around 96 percent of the PS5's outputs.

Beyond that, we're genuinely excited about AMD's upcoming 2.0 rendition of FidelityFX Super Resolution. We'll learn more about this at GDC 2022 this week, but essentially, FSR 2.0 does exactly what we were hoping the first rendition of the technology would deliver: that is, image reconstruction based on information injected from prior frames. That's as opposed to the relatively basic upscaling from current frame data delivered by FSR 1.0, which we were lukewarm about when it debuted. It's tried and tested technology at this point and the challenge for AMD is to deliver a genuine great implementation - up there with the best, such as Unreal Engine 5's TAAU and similar tech found in The Division 2 and Flight Simulator.

The 53rd DF Direct Weekly, with Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman perpetrating this latest episode.
  • 00:00:00 Introductions
  • 00:01:09 GTA Fünf releases on current-gen consoles
  • 00:09:48 Elden Ring 1.03 console performance boost?
  • 00:21:36 FSR 2.0
  • 00:31:39 New AMD budget CPUs taking on Intel Alder Lake
  • 00:37:48 GT7 servers down for 24 hours
  • 00:44:05 Microsoft 'releases' DirectStorage
  • 00:46:28 UK sales physical vs digital
  • 00:50:01 DF Content Discussion: Steam Deck
  • 00:52:46 DF Content Discussion: DF Retro Gran Turismo
  • 00:56:47 DF Supporter Q1: With the reality of console supply shortages isn't cross-gen the more responsible course?
  • 01:02:39 DF Supporter Q2: If you didn't have to use them for coverage purposes, would any of you ever touch a PS4/Xbox One system ever again?
  • 01:06:07 DF Supporter Q3: How close are the two Horizons (Forbidden West/Forza) to Nanite/UE5 in terms of geometric density/complexity?
  • 01:07:52 DF Supporter Q4: Steam Deck has this very useful 30 FPS option built in. Do you think, the console manufacturers could implement such 'half refresh rate' feature into their own SDK?
  • 01:10:28 DF Supporter Q5: How do you keep CRT TV's maintained and going?
  • 01:13:52 DF Supporter Q6: What went wrong with Microsoft's Windows Experience Index score as a replacement for system requirements?

There's plenty more chat to wade through, including our thoughts on last week's Gran Turismo 7 server maintenance, which effectively highlighted that even the single-player component in the game is compromised by online-only DRM - annoying in the short term when you're not guaranteed access to the expensive game you've payed for, and disturbing in the longer term... do we really expect the necessary online infrastructure to be there 20 or 30 years from now? If not, will the game be lost forever?

I'd also like to highlight some of the data being shared by our sister publication, gamesindustry.biz. Whether on the site or on Chris Dring's Twitter feed, we're getting a wealth of data on two key topics. Firstly, the sales split between physical media and digital downloads, where we find that there's still a healthy market for both forms of game purchase. Secondly, we're also seeing fascinating data on game sales from a cross-gen perspective - where, for example, Horizon Forbidden West sold 59 percent of its units on PlayStation 5, meaning that 41 percent of users bought on PS4 (though how many did so for the free upgrade to PS5 remains to be seen). The bottom line though? As much as we'd like to see that clean shift to the new generation, it's going to take a while for that to happen.

Of course, as per the norm, we finish with a Q+A section with questions furnished by backers of the DF Supporter Program. Is cross-gen simply the more responsible course of action while consoles are hard to find? Are conventional 3D games like Horizon Forbidden West and Forza Horizon 5 delivering the kind of detail offered by Unreal Engine 5's Nanite system? Can other graphics APIs tap into the excellent 30fps support offered by Steam Deck? As always, I do recommend checking out the DF Supporter Program (because I would, wouldn't I?) and here is an update on the latest content available to supporters. Early access to full videos, early access to test data on upcoming projects, high quality downloads, an exclusive Discord with an awesome community - we're proud of it! Join us!

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About the Author
Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.