What have we learned these past few years? It’s easy: native 4K is a waste of horsepower. Sony’s own checkerboard solutions in games like Horizon Zero Dawn already proved that point, but NVidia’s proprietary DLSS – or Deep Learning Super Sampling, to give it its full title – has sealed the deal.
For those of you who don’t know – and, to be clear, we’re far from experts in the field – DLSS works by using artificial intelligence to recreate a lower resolution image with the quality of a higher resolution one. What this means is that you can effectively render at a sub-native resolution, and reap all of the hardware performance benefits that come with that, but still display a crystal-clear image at the end.
It’s a game-changer, and it looks like PlayStation may be exploring its own solution. A patent filed by the platform holder refers to an “information processing device”, and the abstract proposes a technology that can utilise “pre-learned data […] for generating a reproduction image that represents the appearance of the object”. It’s ambiguous, but it sounds similar to DLSS to our untrained ear.
So why is this a good thing? Well, native 4K is computationally expensive; it takes a lot of processing power to render all of those pixels. DLSS means that said horsepower can be allocated elsewhere – on physics, effects, AI, lighting, framerate, etc – without any meaningful loss to the overall image quality. To be fair, Sony’s done an impressive job with checkerboard, so we’re excited to see what it’s potentially got cooking here.