Almost two years after its initial announcement in October 2021, Samsung says the first game to support the HDR10 Plus Gaming standard is nearing release. That game is The First Descendant, a free-to-play third-person shooter from Nexon which is running an open beta starting September 19th.
Samsung’s announcement doesn’t specify which platforms the game will support HDR10 Plus Gaming on, but we’re assuming it’s PC rather than consoles given neither Sony nor Microsoft have announced support for this latest HDR format on their platforms. On PC, Nvidia announced it was adding support for HDR10 Plus Gaming to its RTX and 16-series graphics cards in November 2022.
HDR calibration without the sliders
The big advantage being advertised for the HDR10 Plus Gaming standard is that it allows games to automatically calibrate their brightness and colors depending on what a connected monitor or TV can support, similar to what Sony’s PS5 offers with select Sony Bravia TVs. In theory this should result in better highlight and shadow detail, and more accurate color reproduction. The process automates what is often a manual calibration that involves adjusting a slider so that you can barely see a logo on a white or black background. During its announcement, Samsung also advertised that HDR10 Plus Gaming is low-latency and is compatible with variable refresh rates.
As well as a compatible PC, you’ll also need an HDR10 Plus Gaming-compatible display in order to take advantage of the new technology. Samsung says its recent high end TVs and Odyssey gaming monitors already offer support, while Nvidia’s press release from last year mentions that select Amazon, Panasonic, TCL, and Vizio TVs are also compatible. But I wouldn’t expect this to be as widely supported as, say, Dolby Vision.
HDR10 Plus has been around for a few years now, and is best known as an open and royalty-free competitor to the Dolby Vision HDR standard. Both offer a couple of key advantages over the standard HDR10 format, and include support for dynamic metadata to offer more accurate colors and better highlight and shadow detail on compatible displays. Xbox consoles already support using the Dolby Vision standard with games, though when HDTVTest’s Vincent Teoh examined the feature in 2021 he found its advantages over standard HDR10 at the time were negligible.
Despite the “world’s first” language in the announcement, this isn’t the first time Samsung has name-dropped specific games in relation to the HDR10 Plus Gaming standard. When it announced its first screens for support with the format in late 2021 it said Saber Interactive’s Redout 2 and Pinball FX as well as another title called Happy Trails and the Kidnapped Princess would be showcased with the technology at CES 2022. We’ve reached out to Saber to find out if its titles ended up supporting the standard when they were released in 2022, but can’t see any evidence that Happy Trails ever made it to market.
As well as the HDR10 Plus Gaming standard, Nvidia recently announced that The First Descendant will also support its DLSS 3 upscaling technology.