As part of its InnovatiON 2021 initiative, Intel announced a new partnership with Hitman 3 developer IO Interactive and The Riftbreaker developer Exor Studios. The announcement includes the first ever video footage of Intel's XeSS (Xe Super Sampling) working on actual market-available games - specifically, Hitman 3 and The Riftbreaker.
For some reason, Intel elected to upload the video in only 1080p quality; however, the company has committed to updating the upload with 4K streaming quality, which should make it easier to see Intel's tech and its image quality repercussions in finer detail. Some image quality comparisons can still be made, though, and it's clear that XeSS upscaling from 1080p to 4K resolution delivers much better image quality than a simple 1080p render.
The choice of games is also interesting; Hitman 3 is an understandable choice, considering it's a AAA game with a recognizable market presence - it serves as a good showcase and marketing stunt for the technology. It also happens to have been pushed by Intel earlier. Riftbreaker, however, was a game developed in close collaboration with AMD, and which already implements AMD's Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR) tech as a supersampling algorithm for improved performance. It's interesting that Intel would choose this relatively small-scale game as another showcase for its XeSS technology; perhaps Intel is setting the field for comparisons to be made between FSR and XeSS - and if this is indeed Intel's strategy, this means the blue giant is confident in winning any pixel-peeping tests that come up comparing both technologies.
That Intel is already showcasing games with working implementations of XeSS bodes well for the technology's future adoption; Intel knows they have a lot of time on their hands to strengthen developer relations and increase the attractiveness of their graphics technologies on the road towards its Arc Alchemist GPU launch in 2022.
It's also good news regarding the current state of development for XeSS that Intel announced its XeSS DevMesh program. It's an Early Access way of testing and implementing the supersampling technology, whereby developers can submit any game they're currently developing as a candidate for XeSS integration. This is a clear way for Intel to attract more developer interest and expand their technology footprint before their mainstream GPU launch proper, and it's likely a reflection of the company's latest hires.
Intel will likely be launching XeSS (and allow for XeSS implementation) on games upon released of their graphics architecture; there isn't much that Intel would gain in letting the technology out in the wild earlier. Its open nature (which is more like AMD's FSR than Nvidia's DLSS) means that any AMD or Nvidia GPU would be able to take advantage of the technology until Intel's own cards make it to the market. Intel would surely gain image recognition in the graphics technology world by doing this, but they would also be somewhat encouraging users to go with an Nvidia or AMD card before the release of Arc.