Last week AMD announced that Bethesda has partnered with AMD for the release of its upcoming highly anticipated video game title, Starfield and not just a normal partnership but an exclusive partnership for the PC market.
This announcement resulted in a spark of a debate among gamers regarding the concern that AMD blocks DLSS and XeSS to Starfield as not long before the announcement, an ongoing controversy of how plenty of AMD-partnered games are lacking DLSS support was still a hot topic. To be fair, though, the practice of partnering up with game developers alone is not uncommonly heard of as its competitor, NVIDIA, has also been doing the same ever since forever.
Some years back when NVIDIA’s PhysX was a thing, a game that would implement the technology either by their own decision or being sponsored by NVIDIA themselves will always run far more optimal with any NVIDIA cards as the games have access to do the PhysX computation using the graphics card instead of having to rely only on the processorー, therefore, making it run suboptimally for those who use other cards like from AMD, or ATI Radeon in the past.
So why does this cause an issue?
Currently, the competition in the graphics card market has been fiercer than ever especially with Intel now entering the GPU market with their Intel Arc lineups. Therefore, aside from competing in releasing raw performance products, all three are also competing in developing software support to be an “additional perk” of choosing their graphics card lineups.
At the moment, the Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) from NVIDIA is in the lead in terms of providing the most optimal upscaling method followed by the Xe Super Sampling (XeSS) from Intel which while relatively new, has also been catching up. In fact, Intel’s strategy to win the market is by attempting to make its upscaler work optimally not just for their own Arc but also for competitors as its main focus now is to try getting recognition on the GPU market.
The argument about this situation is from the fact that the game Starfield has recently become the highly anticipated upcoming game which puts them in its own spotlight and the fact that with it being a part of exclusive partner to AMD, it is concerned that it might only to ship with AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) as its upscaling method and considering at the moment DLSS is still leading in terms of this technology, this creates a disappointment to those who own an NVIDIA graphics cards to be unable to maximise its graphic potential.
Not only that, now that Intel XeSS also exists it will put AMD in a really bad position if they also exclude them as it makes AMD as if they are pulling an anti-consumerism move. Some might still gloss over it if the game only excludes DLSS as the technology itself is only exclusive to NVIDIA cards, however, the exclusion of XeSS might have been a bit overboard as XeSS basically shares the same goal to FSR, an upscaler for all graphics cards.
What is the evidence though?
While all this allegation is still pure speculation due to Starfield itself still hasn’t been officially released yet, there are a couple of supporting pieces of evidence that this might be the case. One of them is that, in an article written by Wccftech about the missing DLSS support in a couple of AMD-sponsored titles and when they reached out to NVIDIA, their response is as follows:
“NVIDIA does not and will not block, restrict, discourage, or hinder developers from implementing competitor technologies in any way. We provide the support and tools for all game developers to easily integrate DLSS if they choose and even created NVIDIA Streamline to make it easier for game developers to add competitive technologies to their games.” ー Keita Iida, vice president of developer relations, NVIDIA.
A similar open approach response has also been told by AMD regarding the situation at that time:
“To clarify, there are community sites that track the implementation of upscaling technologies, and these sites indicate that there are a number of games that support only DLSS currently (for example, see link).
AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution is an open-source technology that supports a variety of GPU architectures, including consoles and competitive solutions, and we believe an open approach that is broadly supported on multiple hardware platforms is the best approach that benefits developers and gamers. AMD is committed to doing what is best for game developers and gamers, and we give developers the flexibility to implement FSR into whichever games they choose.” ― AMD Spokesperson to WCCFTech.
This response was given prior to the AMD and Bethesda Starfield game partnership announcement and when the Starfield announcement is out, a tech YouTube channel Gamers Nexus asks AMD whether this exclusive would hinder the game studio to also implement technologies from competitors and their response was:
“We have no comment at this time.” ― AMD to Gamers Nexus.
In contrast to WCCFTech’s open approach response, the response given to Gamers Nexus creates an even stronger assumption that the rumour might be actually true after all. Earlier this week Hardware Unboxed also touched on this topic and compiled a list of AMD and NVIDIA sponsored games as well as the upscaler that the games include and unfortunately most AMD games seem to be missing DLSS support.
With last week’s announcement of AMD being an exclusive partner to Bethesda’s highly anticipated upcoming game Starfield, it creates a concern that the Starfield AMD partnership will cause the game to be only shipped with FSR support.
This is due to the recent unfortunate timing that people seem to notice the trend of AMD-sponsored titles to be lacking its competitor support while NVIDIA games tend to have more than one upscaling solution.
When being reached out by multiple tech channels, the best response that AMD gives was that they have no comment at this time which doesn’t spark any confidence and in fact, quite a backfire PR response as it basically indirectly confirms that this would be the case.
However, until the game officially releases, there is no telling yet. Many people assume that the AMD Starfield exclusive partnership will result in AMD actually making Starfield to be FSR exclusive and after this got blown up, they are trying to rush and convince Bethesda to include at least one more upscaling solution to “debunk” this issue.