One big disadvantage of console gaming is the lack of upgradable hardware — which is why AMD’s appearance at GDC 2022 this week was so welcome. The company confirmed that its clever FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) 2.0 technology would be available not just on PC, but is coming to Xbox Series X and Series S consoles.
While a timeline wasn’t provided, this is objectively good news. Like Nvidia’s rival DLSS technology, FSR upscales gameplay in real time, meaning you can get the performance of (say) 1080p graphics with the fidelity of 2K. It’s — theoretically at least — the best of both worlds, and should give the Xbox Series X and S a shot in the arm, giving demanding games that struggle to maintain a steady frame rate at 4K resolution a fighting chance to correct that. You can see it in action on Deathloop below.
It’ll require implementation by a game’s developers, but this is obviously very exciting to Xbox owners, and others shouldn’t give up hope. The PS5 shares much of the same AMD hardware so it could follow one day, but the real prize could be support for a much older console — and it may not be that far fetched.
The one we’re praying for
The oldest current-generation console is the Switch, and Nintendo’s handheld hybrid might only be around half way through its life. Suffice it to say, at five years old, it’s a little long in the tooth now, and while developers have managed to do extraordinary things with its limited internals (The Witcher 3 on Switch is a technical marvel), they’re undoubtedly pushing up against the limits of the hardware.
Could FSR 2 help with that? It’s possible. During the Nintendo Switch Sports network test, one Twitter user spotted a mention of FSR in the licensing agreement (opens in new tab), suggesting that Nintendo is at least toying with the possibility.
found an interesting license from Nintendo Switch Sports, lists FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) pic.twitter.com/cfQKslK6SgFebruary 16, 2022
With the Switch OLED failing to offer the previously predicted performance boost, FSR could be the next best thing to keep the console competitive. Though we have to keep our expectations firmly in check here: as The Verge (opens in new tab) explains, the performance scales relative to the power of the graphics card you have in place and, as is abundantly clear, the Switch isn’t exactly a graphical powerhouse.
All the same, any boost is better than no boost. And with the Switch 2 likely some way away from being unveiled, we’ll take anything at this point.