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DF Direct Weekly: Is PlayStation Network integration heading to PC?

Plus: Sonic Mania decompilation ports, Voxelised Doom and the ongoing GPU price crash.

DF Weekly reaches its three-quarter-century milestone this week and dominating our discussion is the evidence that Sony may well be planning its own launcher for PC users - possibly unwelcome news in an era where the PC platform is besieged by a wealth of bespoke launchers that nobody really wants to use... but are we looking at this in the wrong way? What if the references found in the Marvel's Spider-Man PC port are actually pointing the way to a closer integration with the PlayStation Network?

There's much to commend the idea of properly integrating PlayStation Studios games into the wider PSN 'ecosystem' - and we've seen this level of console/PC integration pay off handsomely on Xbox Live, meaning that PC and console users can form groups and play multiplayer titles together, Achievements/Trophies could also be synchronised, but perhaps the most enticing level of functionality would be the transfer of saves between platforms. Acknowledgement of a PlayStation account already owning the game could lead to (a hushed awe please) cross-buy purchases, or at the very least a good degree of discount. Sony has talked about its commitment to GAAS (games as a service), it has purchased Bungie, who are pledged to remaining a multi-platform games producer, so some mechanism to expand PSN beyond PlayStation alone makes sense for a lot of reasons.

With that said, if the primary objective of the exercise is more about circumventing the revenue shares demanded by Steam and the Epic Games Store (Sony's current outlets for its PC wares), we'd not be so impressed. We'd also like to see any PSN integration to be optional rather than mandatory as it is on the some Xbox first-party games, where you can buy them from Steam but you still require an Xbox Live account to play them. The bottom line is that the reveal of any new launcher brings about a collective groan from the PC audience, when there are ways and means to make them actually worthwhile and useful.

Rich Leadbetter, John Linneman and Will Judd take on the week's news and answer supporter questions in a 'landmark' 75th episode.
  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:00:41 News 01: PlayStation PC game launcher to come?
  • 00:11:10 News 02: Team Asobi interview hints at new game
  • 00:19:03 News 03: Sonic Mania decompiled… and ported to Vita!
  • 00:25:19 News 04: Intel ARC GPUs finally for sale outside of Asia + A380 performance discussion
  • 00:37:53 News 05: GPU prices collapse!
  • 00:46:14 News 06: New Doom mod replaces sprites with 3D voxels
  • 00:49:44 DF Content Discussion: New DF website launch
  • 00:54:26 DF Content Discussion: DF Retro on the Klonoa series
  • 00:59:21 DF Supporter Q1: Do 240Hz OLEDs have good enough motion clarity to match CRTs?
  • 01:04:41 DF Supporter Q2: Could the Steam Deck be sold in mass-market retail stores?
  • 01:09:08 DF Supporter Q3: Why do Insomniac’s VRR modes get high praise, given their inconsistent performance?
  • 01:13:26 DF Supporter Q4: What are some examples of high-end PC game options that never run well, even with new hardware?
  • 01:16:46 DF Supporter Q5: Will Rich ever go back to doing unboxing videos?

Beyond the PSN chat, we also spend some time talking about a great interview we saw posted on sister site, Gamesindustry.biz. The site had an opportunity to talk to one of our favourite developers - the enigmatic Team Asobi - creators of Astro's Playroom. There was a time where Sony was at the forefront of innovation in game development, willing to take risks on new concepts and ideas. While that is no longer the case, we feel that Team Asobi is the last remnant of this kind of pioneering spirit and this article gives us some superb insights into the make-up of the studio, its ambitions and even its size. It's well worth a read!

We also spend some time talking about the Sonic Mania decompilation project. These endeavours are intriguing - essentially a game is reverse-engineered and rebuilt from scratch using no original code, opening the doors to brand new ports. In the case of Sonic Mania, its release has coincided with a homebrew conversion of the game for PlayStation Vita, which looks really nice. Owing to the 'clean room' approach to development, and the need for assets supplied from a bought-and-paid-for copy of the game, these projects are entirely legal, and it'll be interesting to see where this one goes next, especially bearing in mind that Sega itself seems to have shunned any potential sequel for the game - to the best of our knowledge, at least.

There's a lot more digest in this week's Direct, including thoughts ont the voxelised version of Doom that's just come out, the arrival our brand-new website, plus the continuing collapse in the prices of graphics cards. Are you holding on for the next generation of GPUs? Or, if as rumours suggest, the RTX 4090 will appear with a premium price with no other companion launches, will that serve to hold the current level of value for the current-gen cards and prompt you to consider buying one? Last week's RTX 3060 deal at £266 was pretty sweet and it's hard to imagine value of that scale being driven by the arrival of new GPUs.

Finally, we also tackle supporter questions in our regular Q+A slot - just one part of the community element of The Digital Foundry Supporter Program. Will 240Hz OLEDs finally sort the motion handling issues where CRT still rules? Will Steam Deck ever be available in retail stores? And will I ever go back to doing unboxing videos in a world where we all know exactly what's in the box in the first place? All is revealed in this week's DF Direct Weekly.

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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.

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