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'Automatic' HDR is coming to PC games

Samsung HDR10+ monitor, the first descendantImage: Samsung

High Dynamic Range is one of those visual features that you just need to see to get the appeal. But once you’ve played games with the technology, which dynamically adjusts a panel’s backlight levels to match the specific colors (or lack thereof) in an image, it’s hard to go back to the same old same old. But HDR is some fiddly tech, and it requires hardware, software, and drivers to work in tandem, as well as a good bit of user input to optimize the experience. Samsung and developer Nexon are working on changing that status quo.

The first game to offer “automatic setup” for HDR will be The First Descendant, a free-to-play sci-fi co-op shooter in the vein of Warframe. In addition to a grab bag of some of the most advanced visual tech on the market, it’s the first game to be compliant with the HDR10+ standard, which allows for “deeper color, contrast and brightness” and “more accurate depiction of details in dark shadows and bright highlights,” according to Samsung. The First Descendant is being revealed at Gamescom in Germany this week ahead of an open beta on September 19th.

The automatic setup is a boon for gamers, who won’t have to mess around with manual settings, while developers get tools that standardize HDR output across displays. What few displays there are that can actually take advantage of it, anyway. In order to implement HDR10+, you’ll need both a TV or monitor and a graphics card that are compatible with the standard.

HDR10 is fairly common, but HDR10+ is still hard to find on gaming monitors, with only Samsung’s high-end displays starting to support it in 2022. On the GPU side, only Nvidia graphics cards support the technology at the GPU level, on the RTX 1650/1660, 2000, 3000, and 4000 series.

Further reading: The best monitors for any budget

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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