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DF Direct Weekly talks Switch Pro leaks and Steam Deck/Elden Ring reactions

Plus: what to expect from the Resident Evil upgrades for PS5 and Xbox Series consoles.

DF Direct Weekly tallies up its 51st show, but it's actually our 52nd week - we took a break for Christmas - meaning that this week is our one-year anniversary! And it's a particularly meaty episode this week as the team convene to wrap up discussions on Elden Ring and Steam Deck, specifically by tackling virtually every question we received on both topics from backers of the DF Supporter Program.

Looking at the table of contents below, you should get some idea of how those particular discussions play out, but we also spend a good deal of time looking at the massive Nvidia leak and its implications for Switch Pro (aka Switch 2, Switch Model S ad infinitum). We call it a leak, but actually Nvidia was subject to a massive cyber-attack and the full extent of the stolen data remains to be seen. In the meantime, we should expect to see various information spill out: we already have some idea of the kind of GPU configurations we should expect from Team Green's next-gen GPUs, while the Switch successor information is intriguing.

The 51st DF Direct Weekly, with Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and Tom Morgan on the mics.Watch on YouTube
  • 00:00:00 Introductions
  • 00:01:27 Steam Deck coverage and thoughts
  • 00:10:38 Steam Deck Q1: Do you think the Deck passes the "significant other couch test"?
  • 00:12:28 Steam Deck Q2: What happens if you put in a aftermarket NVMe or install Windows without proper drivers
  • 00:15:42 Steam Deck Q3: Is there a danger of developers being held back by Steam Deck?
  • 00:19:38 Steam Deck Q4: Will issues with AMD GPU drivers hold back emulation on the Steam Deck?
  • 00:22:06 Steam Deck Q5: Do you think it would be feasible for Valve to integrate the functionality of a 50Hz mode in the Steam Deck via a software update?
  • 00:27:06 Elden Ring coverage and thoughts
  • 00:33:19 Elden Ring Q1/Q2: Is the 10/10 warranted for Elden Ring/what is causing the poor frame-rate in Elden Ring?
  • 00:42:25 Elden Ring Q3: Should From Software have reached out to Bluepoint to inherit some of their expertise?
  • 00:47:25 Elden Ring Q4: What can be done with hardware and software to mitigate the issues in lieu of a proper fix?
  • 00:51:38 Elden Ring Q5: Elden Ring would be a DX12 game on the Xbox platform of consoles, which all use DX12 anyway, so why doesn't it seem that any of them suffer from shader compilation issues in any game really?
  • 00:52:43 Elden Ring Q6: Are there more things companies like AMD, Nvidia and Valve can do to help improve the experience for users?
  • 00:56:05 Nvidia leak suggests new Switch hardware specs
  • 01:02:55 Resident Evil 2, 3 and 7 gets next-gen patches
  • 01:05:15 DF Supporter Q1: Do you think that GT7 was held back by its cross-gen nature? And to what degree?
  • 01:12:09 DF Supporter Q2: Would you consider an enhanced PS5 that's more XT than Pro to be worthwhile?
  • 01:13:48 DF Supporter Q3: Is it fair to say that raw compute is becoming an increasingly less relevant factor in the performance equation?
  • 01:17:12 DF Supporter Q4: Do you think that rasterisation performance will be less important in the PC GPU space in the future?
  • 01:20:42 DF Supporter Q5: What are your thoughts about the no doubt inevitable push for 8k next-gen?

What I find most fascinating is apparent confirmation of a tweet from renowned leaker kopite7kimi who revealed that Nintendo would be basing the next Switch on a revision of the Tegra T234 processor, dubbed T239. This suggests a big GPU based on the Ampere architecture matched with a proliferation of ARM CPU cores (T234 has 12 of them). Assuming it's based on 7nm lithography, this is a surprisingly large chip for a handheld machine - and a potent one. I would urge some caution here: Nintendo values practicality over performance, essential in a handheld, so we should expect conservative clocks in favour of good battery life.

The leak also discusses DLSS 2.2 AI upscaling sitting within an NVN2 graphics API - NVN being the low-level APi used in the original Switch. Again, fascinating and potentially very exciting stuff, but I would recommend watching Alex Battaglia's brilliant content on the limitations of using vanilla DLSS within a resource-constrained system such as a handheld operating at low clock speeds. Here's an embed!

Can DLSS actually work in a potential Switch Pro? Alex assesses the raw compute required and the cost of the algorithm based on DLSS 2.2Watch on YouTube

Moving on, we also talk about the recent announcement from Capcom that Resident Evil 2, its sequel and Resident Evil 7 are receiving 'next-gen' patches for Xbox Series and PlayStation consoles - so what should we expect? The media we've seen suggests that ray traced reflections and global illumination are likely, effectively bringing the functionality we've seen in Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition and Resident Evil Village to those legacy titles built on the same RE Engine. This could prove to be an effective upgrade, and we'll be checking that out in due course.

Finally, despite the weight of audience questions in our Steam Deck and Elden Ring discussions, we take yet more queries from our backers. There's the big topic of Gran Turismo 7 and the extent to which supporting last-gen consoles may have 'held back' PlayStation 5. And speaking of PS5, we're asked about the concept of an enhanced PS5 built on the existing architecture but using the full complement of 40 compute units and faster memory - an interesting idea, but the performance uplift is unlikely to warrant rolling out a new console. And yes, the perennial 8K question: is it worth a damn? Unless we have wall-sized screens, perhaps not, but a supporter has put forward the case for 8K in a VR environment - a concept that has legs. But yes, if you want to get involved with the supporter program, interact with the team, get early access to the show and much more, join us!

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