I still can't quite believe it, but almost two years after we kicked off a regularly scheduled Digital Foundry show/podcast, we've somehow managed to deliver 100 episodes! To celebrate the occasion, I invited all current, serving DF team members and close contributors to join me for our latest show, covering the most recent gaming and technology news, fielding supporter questions - and then carrying straight on into a huge 'AMA' section, where backers of the DF Supporter Program could ask us pretty much anything they wanted.
DF Direct Weekly started off with an idea from DF Retro contributor Audi Sorlie to underpin the expansion of our Patreon with some fan service - bespoke content that would bring supporters closer to the team. Producing a weekly show would also solve a perennial problem of ours: the Monday YouTube slot. You see, we're trying as hard as we can to limit out of office hours working and to enjoy our weekends, all of which means that a gaping hole appears at the beginning of the following week. DF Direct Weekly sounded like an ideal solution to that challenge.
Even so, while there were plenty of good reasons to produce an unscripted show, there were also reservations too. Digital Foundry producing completely unscripted, off-the-cuff editorial could go horribly wrong in the age of the soundbite, especially knowing how much weight our carefully considered opinions carry within our standard content. What if we said something that was wrong, or something that could be misinterpreted the wrong way? We've fallen foul of carefully chosen clips spreading around social media and misrepresenting what we actually said, but by and large, it seems to have worked out OK.
The next challenge was figuring out the extent to which our audience actually wanted a weekly show from Digital Foundry. Initial shows delivered an audience of around 50,000 views on YouTube, which trends significantly below the average. That is slightly problematic in that preparing the show and recording it amounts to around 2.5 man days of work spread across the contributions from the participants, plus the editing work required to get the show together. We went into this one wanting to maintain decent production values, so all speakers use DLSRs to record themselves, submitting their individual feeds to the editor.
It's a lot of investment then, but the return has happened. Over the last couple of years, that circa 50,000-view result has doubled or even tripled depending on the news topic, while thousands more download the audio-only podcast version. Keeping up the momentum has also been challenging in weeks where they has been no real news of note - it can happen! In these scenarios, we've dictated the agenda ourselves, whether it's the tackling the topic of whether next-gen has actually happened yet, or how much of a lifespan the Nintendo Switch has based on the quality of its most recent third-party titles.
As for DF Direct Weekly #100, there's genuine, palpable disappointment with Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, continuing bafflement over how Sony is marketing PlayStation VR2, but some lower profile, intriguing games to discuss from last week's State of Play. Myself, John Linneman, Alex Battaglia and Audi Sorlie also mull over the fallout from last week's Microsoft press briefing on its Activision-Blizzard acquisition, while we also look forward to the OG Half-Life path-traced mod.
The second part of the show brings our core team together for a gigantic 'AMA', where DF supporters had the opportunity to pose whatever off-topic questions they had about the team. We received well over 100 of these, and managed to answer about 20 of them in the show, which hopefully reveals a bit more about what it's like behind the scenes.
The truth is, interacting with our audience via the DF Supporter Program has been enormously rewarding with big mental health benefits to a team that - quite frankly - has been battered for years on social media. It's not just about DF Direct Weekly either: our Discord really is a powerfully positive, collaborative place to be and if you are a member of our Patreon, I highly recommend checking it out. But wherever you watch or listen to DF Direct Weekly, I hope you enjoy it - and as the chapter listing below demonstrates, there's certainly plenty of it in this 100th episode!
- 00:00:00 Introduction
- 00:03:00 News 01: State of Play impressions
- 00:32:15 News 02: Microsoft makes Nintendo, Nvidia game deals
- 00:41:07 News 03: Half-Life gets ray tracing upgrade
- 00:45:15 Supporter Q1: If Audi is being held in Rich's basement, wouldn't he still be living overseas?
- 00:47:02 Supporter Q2: Could we see a performance difference between different Switch models in Tears of the Kingdom?
- 00:48:48 Supporter Q3: Series X has been performing worse than PS5 in some major recent titles - what's the explanation?
- 00:54:51 Supporter Q4: Would you rather wait to do coverage on a game until major technical faults have been addressed, or run the risk of needing to redo big parts of the coverage as updates come in?
- 01:04:33 Supporter Q5: Alex, if you could pick a studio to develop a new Turok, who would you choose?
- 01:07:32 Supporter Q6: Tom, what do you think of the Suspira remake? And what dream film director plus game combination would you put together if you could?
- 01:10:23 Supporter Q7: John, what cars would you own if money was no object? And what's your favourite factory car colour?
- 01:12:39 Supporter Q8: Will, what type of coffee roast do you prefer? Which country has the best coffee?
- 01:14:25 Supporter Q9: Oliver, what is your favourite part of the content creation process?
- 01:15:37 Supporter Q10: Rich, would you like to expand DF significantly or keep it as a smaller group?
- 01:17:37 Supporter Q11: What do you enjoy the most about each other's videos?
- 01:25:11 Supporter Q12: John, how's the racing wheel going? And does anyone else on the team enjoy some large sim gear?
- 01:30:05 Supporter Q13: Is Alex the only person who still uses the correct vertical orientation on controllers?
- 01:31:26 Supporter Q14: What are your favourite DF game benchmarks?
- 01:39:01 Supporter Q15: Tom, has anyone pointed out that you look like the lead singer from the band Nothing More?
- 01:39:52 Supporter Q16: Tom, can you give us a thorough walkthrough of your haircare routine?
- 01:42:27 Supporter Q17: Which hardware release have you been most excited for?
- 01:49:30 Supporter Q18: Have recent struggles with PC games made any of you play more on consoles?
- 01:56:13 Supporter Q19: I've watched nearly six days of DF Direct! Are there any fun DF stats you can share?
- 02:00:44 Supporter Q20: John, how did you meet the guys from My Life in Gaming?
- 02:02:48 Supporter Q21: Oliver, what did you think of the time the BBC quoted you on Mario Kart 8?
- 02:03:56 Supporter Q22: Alex, are you a German native? If not, how did your German language skills get so good?
- 02:06:22 Supporter Q23: What have you learned about DF supporters that has surprised you?
- 02:09:13 Supporter Q24: Rich, what do you look for when hiring for DF?
- 02:11:05 Supporter Q25: No question, just thanks for making amazing content
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