Some AMD GPU users may have to upgrade early soon, and that's a problem
Forspoken has revealed some troublesome issues with older AMD graphics cards
AMD Polaris graphics cards were among the best GPUs when they came out in 2017, even if they didn’t challenge Nvidia on the high-end. These GPUs, which include the AMD Radeon RX 580 are still in a huge amount of the best gaming PCs, according to the latest Steam Hardware Survey. In fact, the AMD Radeon RX 580 is by far the most popular AMD graphics card among Steam users.
However, with Forspoken hitting the market and requiring at least DirectX 12.1 compatibility, users with AMD Polaris GPUs are finding they can’t even run the game – even at its lowest settings.
Forspoken may be far from the best PC game on the market right now, but this is a worrying sign for graphics cards that aren’t even six years old yet. I’ve reached out to AMD for comment on this, and I’ll update this story if the company gets back to me.
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An imbalanced playing field
The issue with Forspoken was surfaced by Reddit user xCuri0, who pointed out that Forspoken won’t run on the RX 580 architecture, but the much-older Nvidia RTX 900 series – code named Maxwell – has no problem running it. Nvidia Maxwell came out in 2014.
To be fair Nvidia Maxwell GPUs aren’t going to run Forspoken particularly well, but they can at least launch the game.
One of the things that makes PC gaming so great is that you don’t have to worry about upgrading to the latest hardware every year just to play the latest games. Sure, the RTX 4080 is going to run a game like Forspoken way better than the RTX 980, but users of both cards are at least able to play the same game – even if it looks significantly worse on one of the systems.
While six years is nearly an entire console generation, and it might seem weird to question the need for new hardware after that stretch of time, this could potentially mean folks will be forced to buy a new GPU soon. And that’s much more expensive than a PS5, especially these days.
The AMD Radeon RX 580 launched in 2017 for $229 to start. Right now the the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT is the cheapest current-generation graphics card in AMD’s lineup, and that’s going to set you back at least $899. And for the most recent full lineup, the AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT, which wasn’t even faster than the RX 580 when I reviewed it for TechRadar, will cost you at least $199.
And while yeah, the Radeon RX 6500 XT is the same price as the RX 580 was at launch, people shouldn’t have to fork over the same amount of money they did six years ago just to get slightly worse performance and better feature support. That’s simply ridiculous.
Nvidia’s guilty of this too, even though its long-term support of its old graphics cards is generally better. We haven’t seen a $199 launch graphics card from Team Green in a minute, and with how expensive its RTX 4000 series graphics cards are so far, it’s not likely to change any time soon.
PC gaming is without a doubt getting more and more expensive, and we can’t have games that shut out graphics cards that are less than a decade old.
Who cares? It’s Forspoken
I’ve actually been enjoying my time with Forspoken so far, even though it looks like I’m in the minority there. But whether or not Forspoken is an important enough game to matter isn’t the point.
What’s notable about the game is that it’s the first game to require DirectX 12.1, likely thanks to its inclusion of Microsoft DirectStorage. It’s one of the first next-gen-only games, also, only releasing on PS5 and PC. So, even if it’s not the most widely beloved game on the market it’s a sign of what’s to come in future PC games.
It sucks because generally I’d totally be in the camp that celebrates this. PC games should constantly be pushing the boundaries of technology, and I’m actually happy that Forspoken did. Both developers and hardware manufacturers need to find a way to do it that doesn’t shut out gamers that can’t afford to drop $500 on a new graphics card every few years, though.
PC gaming is about to be about scalability right? We’ve done it in the past, we can do it now. That’s all I’m saying.