Anger brews over exclusive AMD Starfield partnership

AMD has just announced an unexpected and exclusive partnership with Bethesda and Starfield, which has received mixed reactions from people. The partnership has sparked speculation about whether the game will support Nvidia’s DLSS and Intel’s XeSS technologies, although no clear answer has been provided yet.

Starfield, one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, is likely to take advantage of the best graphics cards currently available. This partnership is a positive development for AMD, but it raises questions about whether Nvidia users will still be able to enjoy Starfield.

Bethesda

AMD made the announcement through a quick video that showcased some gameplay footage of Starfield, accompanied by commentary from Jack Huynh, AMD’s senior vice president of the Computing and Graphics group, and Todd Howard, Bethesda’s game director.

Bethesda and AMD have collaborated closely to optimize Starfield to its fullest potential. It’s been confirmed that the game will support AMD’s FSR 2, which enhances frame rates and improves overall visual quality.

In the video, Huynh stated, “We have worked hand-in-hand with Bethesda Game Studios to optimize Starfield for both Xbox and PC with Ryzen 7000 series processors and Radeon 7000 series graphics. These optimizations both accelerate performance and enhance the quality of your gameplay using multi-threaded code that both Xbox and PC players will get to take advantage of.”

Howard added that AMD engineers are currently working within Bethesda’s code base to implement FSR2 image processing and upscaling, ensuring that the game looks and runs exceptionally well.

The announcement has garnered mixed reactions thus far, primarily because not much information has been disclosed. The categorization of the partnership as “exclusive” suggests that Starfield may not support Nvidia’s DLSS or Intel’s XeSS, which has sparked controversy.

One positive aspect is that AMD’s FSR technology is open-source, allowing gamers with Nvidia GPUs to enable it in games and benefit from improved frame rates. This partnership ensures that upscaling technology is accessible from the start, without the need to wait for further optimizations.

However, the absence of DLSS and XeSS support raises concerns, especially for Nvidia users. DLSS 3 still holds an advantage over FSR 2 and is a major selling point for Nvidia cards. Therefore, not being able to utilize it in a demanding game like Starfield could be a significant setback for Nvidia gamers.

Third-person shot of character on planet in Starfield.

Many people have expressed concerns about the potential exclusion of DLSS and XeSS. Digital Foundry’s John Linneman appealed for their support on Twitter, and Tom Warren from The Verge described the move as “anti-consumer.”

Some eager players weren’t as composed in their reactions. One commenter referred to it as a “big middle finger to PC players” for blocking DLSS from the game. Numerous players have voiced their concerns about the lack of clarification regarding non-AMD technology support.

It shouldn’t pose a significant challenge for Bethesda to enable DLSS and XeSS once FSR 2 has already been implemented. The question is whether the partnership with AMD allows for such inclusion. Currently, it remains unknown if all three upscaling technologies will be supported. Furthermore, there’s the issue of hardware capabilities. AMD does not currently have the top graphics card on the market, with that distinction belonging to Nvidia’s RTX 4090. Additionally, AMD doesn’t appear to have plans to release a competitor to Nvidia’s flagship GPU.

Given these factors, it’s understandable that the response to the partnership has been lukewarm, even on the AMD subreddit. Hopefully, Bethesda will provide clarification soon regarding whether Starfield will offer the full upscaling trio or if FSR 2 will be the sole option. The game is scheduled for release on September 6.

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