DF Direct Weekly takes on Switch OLED, Dark Souls 3 FPS Boost and more

Digital Foundry’s weekly show is back – and this time there’s a good 107 minutes of (mostly) tech chat! Leading the agenda this week are some further thoughts on the Switch OLED, but mostly attempting to answer the many, many questions sent by DF supporters about the new unit. Why aren’t we getting a Switch Pro? Is the Switch Pro actually happening a bit further on down the road? Did Nintendo ‘switch’ up its plans for a more powerful model because of the pandemic? (Spoilers: no). There’s a good 20 minutes of discussion about the new hardware we’re actually getting – and when/if a successor will become available.

The notion of a theoretical pandemic-driven change of plans is actually quite interesting in that it did come up as a prominent theory as to why the Switch OLED model was announced, as opposed to a new machine powered by more advanced Nvidia silicon, but the truth is that the development of any given games console – even a product refresh – takes many, many months and even years of development. The developers out there reverse-engineering the Switch’s firmware first got visibility of the Switch OLED in firmware 10.0.0, which arrived in April 2020, at which point we can assume that the hardware existed in development form. By January 2021, we got visibility on the specifications – but it took until July 2021 until the unit was publicly revealed. As for a properly new Switch? We’re fairly sure it’s real and it’s coming, but when it will be announced is anyone’s guess.

Beyond the Switch OLED news, we share our thoughts on Dark Souls 3’s FPS Boost upgrade for Xbox Series consoles. It delivers everything we’d expect from FPS Boost, but the lack of any kind of resolution upgrade has disappointed some. We know Microsoft can improve resolution (we saw a Gears of War Ultimate native 4K demo last year on Series X – and we have more video of that in the Direct) but the question is whether FPS Boost and resolution improvements can work hand-in-hand. Adding to the discussion are comments from Microsoft’s Jason Ronald, who shared that a new technique was used to deliver the frame-rate boost – and it seems to be via a title update, an actual game patch… so why not increase resolution too?

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