Until now, any game developer who wanted to access Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) performance booster had to apply for access. But Nvidia have chosen to be a benevolent graphics god and have released the latest SDK without any restrictions. AMD did the same thing last week, releasing their FidelityFX Super Resolution tech (or FSR to its friends) as a free download.
That means the two biggest leaps in overall gaming performance are free for anyone to use (even me). I await the tweet from the first developer who implements both in their game at the same time, warning us of the graphics singularity that they’ve unleashed.
60 games currently have DLSS support, the most recent addition being Red Dead Redemption 2, and it’s still a big deal when a game implements it. Who wouldn’t want a free performance boost if you have the relevant hardware? Anecdotally, I spotted a developer talking about downloading the SDK on Twitter. A few hours later they tweeted that they’d implemented it in their game. I’m kicking myself for losing the tweet. It feels like we're about to enter a new era where these things are just part of PC gaming.
In addition to this, DLSS now supports Linux natively. Previously, it was limited to Proton-supported titles, such as Doom Eternal, but the latest SDK adds support for native Linux games. And just to show off, they’ve also started to support ray tracing on ARM-based systems. Nvidia are currently trying to acquire the CPU manufacturer. If they do end up with the chip maker as a partner, ARM’s chips could move out of their current phone and Chromebook shells into proper gaming laptops.
I think I might mark this post on my calendar to be read five years from now. I’ve no idea what the future of PC gaming will look like, but the past few months has given us a hand-held Steam Deck PC with a Linux core and AMD innards. I wouldn't be surprised to see a proper Nvidia-based variant somewhere down the line.