The Silence: Ubisoft Silent About AMD Customers

Nearly two weeks ago we received a press release from Ubisoft boasting about a new deal with NVIDIA, mysteriously described as a “gaming alliance”. This deal, they said, was designed to “offer PC gamers the best gaming experience possible for Ubisoft’s biggest upcoming titles.” The piece goes on to explain how the PC is the world’s most popular format, that gamers “demand a truly elite experience”, and how much they value their PC gamers. Or, 51% of them, at least. We got in touch with Ubi straight away to find out how this deal would affect the third of gamers who use AMD/ATI cards, and indeed the 14% who use Intel’s on-board graphics. (Source.) Reply came there none.

Deals like this tend to be more about two big companies doing each other a favour, promoting each other’s products, than actually directly benefiting gamers. That’s fairly obvious for anyone who’s bought a game in such a deal. If the gibberish in the press release about “we’re committed to offering PC players the best possible experience with our games” were true, then they’d not deliberately make a deal that only benefits precisely half of their audience. But the side-effects have led to real issues for those not lucky enough to have picked the “right” card. Games launch with serious problems for the less optimised version, or don’t contain promised features such as the recent nonsense with Lara Croft’s hair. In the end, the result of such deals is making half of your audience feel alienated or unsupported, which doesn’t really resonate with the bottom-kissing released statements.

So it’s only more concerning that when we ask a simple and obvious question – how will this deal affect the other half of their customers? – we are simply ignored. That seems a pretty odd thing to do – make grand statements about how important PC gamers are to you, and then go out of your way to ignore half of them and not offer them reassurances that their games will still be worth buying. Promises of attempts to get statements reach us, but then nothing. We chase, and nothing.

Which provides quite the feeling of déjà vu after June’s attempts to get a statement on a developer’s slip-up in revealing plans to delay the PC release of Assassin’s Creed IV, after last year’s promises to move away from such practices. Especially the practice of waiting until a week or two before release to then announce the PC delay as if it were a surprise to them as well as us – something they surely can’t be planning to do this time out as well?

There’s nothing especially unusual about getting ignored this way. It’s common practice amongst games publishers, and has been for years. If they don’t like a question, or feel they can’t spin the answer in their favour, they just ignore it. And by doing so gaming news outlets then don’t have a story to report, and the story disappears. So it’s now RPS’s practice to report the silences, in the hope that other gaming sites will do the same, and we can end this stupid culture.

We look forward to Ubisoft’s responses to both the question over how their boasted NVIDIA deal will affect the other half of gamers, and indeed an official comment on whether Assassin’s Creed IV will indeed be delayed on PC.


  1. Tinus says:

    Playing Blacklist on my AMD cards definitely leads me to believe the game wasn’t really tested on them whatsoever. Probably coincidence.

    • brutlern says:

      Blacklist works smooth on my 7870. So no issues there.
      TressFX which was devd by AMD works fine on Nvidia (after nvidia fixed their drivers) unlike the other way around (“cough” Physx “un-cough”) so this deal might shaft AMD gamers with Physx crap.
      The problem is that Physx locks out any hardware but nvidia which results in Physx being forced to run on software emulation, which is extreeeeeemly ineffiecient. TressFX does not lock out any hardware and tries to run with whatever is available. Same with Havok for example.

      • HisDivineOrder says:

        Actually, TressFX worked fine on nVidia cards after Crystal Dynamics released a few patches PLUS gave nVidia a final version of the game to develop a driver for. Both AMD and nVidia were annoyed by the fact that CD released with a version of Tomb Raider that was past the one they last had to base their drivers around.

        That shows you how late an addition TressFX was.

        • Rikard Peterson says:

          I find the concept of adapting drivers to high profile games a bit backwards. Wouldn’t that effort be better spent making the drivers/cards more compatible (from the games’ point of view) with each other instead, so that nobody would have to worry about optimising for one vendor or another?

          I’m probably missing something, as I don’t know that much about the really low level workings of graphics cards and their drivers, but I don’t get it.

          • fish99 says:

            Honestly you can get much better results if you tune drivers for a particular game/engine, just than just having a very generic compatible set.

          • Rikard Peterson says:

            I get that that’s the case, or they wouldn’t be doing it. But I wonder if that would have to be the case, if things were more standardised.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Works fine even on 2600XT

    • HisDivineOrder says:

      A lot of people are having trouble with Blacklist. Running it on SLI is kinda iffy, too. I guess this is what happens when a developer creates a game in 2013 based on the Unreal 2.5 engine.

      • brutlern says:

        It’s actually Unreal 3.5 engine, the unreal 3 engine + dx11 tacked on. The Unreal 4 engine is the new one. I think you got your numbers mixed up. Plus, it actually looks pretty good despite ye olde engine.

        • Leonick says:

          Actually, no, just like Conviction before it Blacklist uses Unreal 2.5 although a very heavily modified version of it, modified enough that they have their own name for it.

          link to

          • brutlern says:

            I stand corrected. It is 2.5. But why use such ooold engine? I mean even the 3 engine is old by now. And i’m looking at ye olde UT2004 which used UE2 and it looks blocky as hell. Thats why I assumed it’s at least up to date, because blacklist actually looks pretty good.

          • Rikard Peterson says:

            I don’t know what their licensing deal is (if it’d cost them to upgrade), but I’m guessing that their main reason for sticking with it is that they figure it’s cheaper to update it themselves than integrating the new version in their workflow. Considering that they’ve modified it heavily, they may be right.

            Or maybe they only suffer from “not-invented-here syndrome”, in which case their decision doesn’t make sense in any other way than psychologically. Or maybe it’s a combination of the things.

          • Shuck says:

            @brutlern: Last I checked it was very much cheaper to license an older version of the engine. Plus, once you start heavily modifying it, it becomes its own, modern, engine. What you lose from switching to a higher numbered Unreal version could easily be more than what you gain. Especially if you’ve built a toolset around the changes you’ve made.

          • shenhan says:

            My bet is they implemented a heavily customized lighting model in the splinter cell series, it would be too costly to migrate to newer unreal engine. The lighting effects in blacklist looks better than most UE3 games
            the same goes with the call of duty engine. They just don’t wanna mess with the code base when it’s working just fine.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      Also… Wot does RPS think of Splintercell: Blacklist?? They appear to be rather, dare I say it, Silent on the subject…

      In all seriousness though… a WIT on splintercell would be nice… Thanks ;)

      • KenTWOu says:

        It’s one of the best Splinter Cells…

      • Screamer says:

        I got it for free from a friend who got a code with his nVidia card.

        It’s okay so far, but my God the controls needed more work before release. If I have to restart a whole fucking section again, that was almost “Ghosted”, because instead of making knuckle indents in the bad man’s face, Sam steps through him and closes the door. I’m going to break something!

    • FakeAssName says:

      I have two HD4850s in crossfire and , with the exception of GRO, there is not a single Ubisoft game that will run when I have both cards turned on.

      I get about 2 minutes of play time before crash, and while it works the game are running perfectly.

      when I turn it off and only run one card their games slide along like butter, 40 – 60 fps in AssCreed 3.

  2. rps-dk says:

    Ubisoft, what ubisoft? How does it taste like?

  3. HisMastersVoice says:

    “We got in touch with Ubi straight away to find out how this deal would affect the third of gamers who use AMD/ATI cards, and indeed the 14% who use Intel’s on-board graphics. (Source.) Reply came there none.”

    Well, while I can see the reasoning behind asking the question, the answer is probably not overtly complicated – PhysX and some form of AA, most likely TXAA.

    I can’t imagine it being anything more than that.

    • cunningmunki says:

      But its the lack of an answer that’s the issue, not the answer itself.

      • frightlever says:

        Perhaps a game publisher feels they should spend their time publishing games and not answering questions from gaming blogs. I mean, I get that anyone has the God-given right to ask questions, but everyone also has the right to ignore those same questions. You may be unfamiliar with how journalism works now, but nothing Ubisoft says in response is going to do them any favours so they’re far better off saying nothing. Either an answer will not go far enough, or worse it’ll be twisted into a fresh attack. That’s how our media works now.

        I mean if John Walker starts asking you loaded questions you know you’re in trouble so best just turtle up.

        And I’m not defending Ubisoft – I haven’t bought anything off Ubisoft for years. I’m simply trying to explain why you’ve fallen for the narrative that’s being sold to you. The whole article is a non-issue.

        • jrodman says:

          “Perhaps a game publisher feels they should spend their time publishing games and not answering questions from gaming blogs”

          This is kind of a false premise.

          The announcement was put out by PR flacks. They did a poor job in making it sound like they might focus on a subset of their potential customers. Remedying this is the role of PR flacks, not people who would do be “spending their time publishing games”. Just a matter of doing their job.

          The point that silence may be the best policy is independent, though I disagree with that as well. It’s not expensive to say “we will of course support all our customers, this agreement merely allows us to x y z”.

          The reality is that there is probably nothing to the agreement at all, which would explain the silence.

  4. Grey Poupon says:

    Hopefully this doesn’t mean more physx, though it probably does.

    Didn’t Lara’s hair work on Nvidia cards too btw? After it was patched or whatever. The hair used OpenCL IIRC, not some proprietary library.

    • Vandelay says:

      Well, Physx works on AMD too, it would just be barely playable. Then again, Lara’s didn’t seem particularly optimised for my AMD 6950 either.

      • Sakkura says:

        PhysX does not work on AMD graphics cards. However, it can be run by the CPU if you don’t have an Nvidia graphics card.

        • Grey Poupon says:

          Which obviously isn’t nearly as good for physics calculations as a GPU would be. Nvidia has even gone as far as disabling GPU PhysX on their GPUs when there’s an AMD card in the system.

          • Nicodemus Rexx says:

            Yeah, I had a friend try to do just what you’re talking about (use an Nvidia card purely as a PhysX processor). He actually got it to function, but only by doing a bunch of extra work to hack the drivers. Needless to say he wasn’t happy about that since he’d already paid $140 for the card, and returned it the next day.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Actually, it’s more accurate to say that hardware accelerated PhysX artificially isn’t allowed to run on systems with AMD cards.

          It’s irritating as hell. I wish the industry would/could just switch to OpenMP, OpenGL and OpenCL.

          • Grey Poupon says:

            True, I just always think of PhysX as the additional effects you get when you sell your soul to Nvidia. Yes, the CPU physics use PhysX as it’s physics library as well, I just often end up simplifying it a bit much.

            There’s plenty of OpenCL physics libraries, like Bullet and Havok for example, you just have to pay for a license to get to use those. With PhysX Nvidia gives it for free and often helps you implement it. When PC gaming is only a relatively small portion of the market, I’m guessing they’d often rather go with the cheapest option.

            Maybe this’ll change when the new consoles come out though (as they’ll use GPU physics too), but for now we’d just need to let the Devs know how annoying PhysX is or they’ll just keep on using it.

          • SuicideKing says:

            True, AMD keeps touting OpenCL performance, so “next-gen” games should use that stuff more often.

            EDIT: Oooh wait i remember reading Nvidia was allowing PhysX to run on the PS4 O_o

          • stahlwerk says:

            Grey Poupon, I thought Bullet was OSS?

            Ninja Edit: “The Bullet Physics Library is free for commercial use and open source under the ZLib License.”

          • Grey Poupon says:

            Oh, cool. I didn’t know Bullet was free. It’s not very proven yet though. Wouldn’t be too surprised if Nvidia even payed devs to use PhysX considering how much they push it all the time.

          • Lekker says:

            Nah, Nvidia will only supply SDK for PhysX 3.0. All the heavy lifting will need to be done by developers if they want to utilize PhysX on PS4.

            Also TressFX is Direct Compute, not OpenCL/GL.

  5. Njordsk says:

    Rayman runs fine & smooth.

    I’m not confident (nor really interested in fact) much about their other products though.

  6. skyturnedred says:

    I really like Ubisoft’s games, sure hope it’s only some extra graphical stuff that my crappy computer couldn’t benefit from anyway.

  7. ghling says:

    “Ubisoft value their PC gamers”, best joke of the week. To be fair, the other big publishers don’t behave better, but this still doesn’t mean they are good.

    Anyway, Thank you for reporting about the questions the publishers don’t want to answer, sometimes no answer at all tells you more than a generic “No”.

    • Ajh says:

      They value their pc gamers. After all, we give them money. They like money. They just happen to think all pc gamers are criminals, which is rather insulting. If we could just be money without being actual people I think they’d be happier.

  8. scorcher24 says:

    When AMD develops a new Technology, it runs on all cards because it is implemented in an universal way. When NVIDIA develops a new Technology, they make sure it runs nowhere except on NVIDIA cards.

    That is why I stick with AMD.
    NVIDIA could make much more money though, if they would sell PhysX Cards separately.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Well, they did, and no-one bought them as far as I can tell.

      • Ajh says:

        I remember that!! They were expensive for such a small thing.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        No, that was back in the Aegia days before they were bought out by nVidia. You can’t even use that PPU anymore, since it is incompatible with any new drivers. You can’t even use a separate nVidia card with an AMD card, since the drivers will disable it if it detects a card from another company (though you can bypass this with hacked drivers.)

        I think nVidia is doing themselves more harm then good with that policy. How many more cards would they sell if they allowed them to be used as PPUs? How many more games would use PhysX with that higher potential userbase?

    • shrk says:

      I had one of the dedicated PhysX cards back in the day before nfividaida bought out ageiaiea. What a waste of money :D

      Now you can repurpose an old nvidaidada card as a dedicated PhysX card though, so I guess people wouldn’t buy a separate one when they can just grab an old graphics card.

      Ninja’d by Gap Gen – apparently I was the only person who had one.

      • HamsterExAstris says:

        You can’t repurpose an old card anymore – nVidia gimps their drivers now so that PhysX won’t run if you have an AMD card in the system.

        • adam.jutzi says:

          I bought a cheapie GTS250 a long while back for physx duty with my ATi’s. Now it’s mostly just on watch movieson my tv duty. The last game I bothered making physx work with was Arkham City. Have they broken it again since?

    • Paul says:

      The problem with that is that AMD does not actually develop any technology, apart from recent TressFX which runs in only one game in minor way.
      I was hoping for AMD to introduce their open HW accelerated physic solution, but nothing ever instead I got nVidia and nice physx effects with it, in quite a lot of games.

      • stahlwerk says:

        I’m in favour of HW manufacturers keeping out of the middleware game, as they then have no way to actively optimize only for their own platform / block others from working.

      • scorcher24 says:

        HairFX used in Tom Raider is made by AMD too and it runs on Direct Computing – basically the “OpenCL Version” of DirectX.

        They have quite some stuff that people can use:
        link to

      • DarkLiberator says:

        In quite a lot of games? Its only used in a few games a year.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Well Ageia used to, before being bought by Nvidia. Though after a particular driver revision Nvidia made a classic fucked up corporate decision to block PhysX if an AMD card was detected with an Nvidia card in the same system, so yeah, there they could have made more money on their lower end cards.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      See, that’s actually why I prefer to buy NVidia cards. I get whatever fluff they come up with, and since AMD is generous enough to share I get that stuff too!

      I’ve also had really bad experiences with AMD cards, I guess that has a bit of an influence on my purchasing decisions as well…

  9. Voice of Majority says:

    I do understand the intentional delaying of PC versions. A few months here or there. The repeated bullshitting is just stupid, though.

  10. kwyjibo says:

    Reporting the silence is a waste of time.

    Everybody already knows that these alliances are nothing more than hot air press releases. “The Way it’s Mean to be Played”, “Never Settle: Reloaded” – it’s all bullshit an we already know it.

    The only thing this story actually does is point out another bullshit alliance which we’d honestly be better off not knowing about at all. How about silencing the story instead of making it one?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Well, in the hope that companies like Nvidia would be shamed into a less zero-sum-game policy. Although granted, it’s a long shot.

    • brutlern says:

      Never Settle is actually great. Who doesn’t want multiple free games?

    • Doganpc says:

      reporting silence is why I like it here.
      remember SimCity Online er… 5? Nothing freakin worked, it was just a piece of shit masquerading as a AAA title and the official response to everything was …

      So you know what, if a company gives a news outlet a way to make them look silly by being immature and subversive… exploit the hell out of it and illuminate these arses for the bullshit marketing schemes they are.

  11. LazyGit says:

    How dare nVidia spend money trying to improve the experience for PC gamers with the aim of selling more of their products!

    • Chris D says:

      That’s not the point. NVidia don’t have a responsibility to AMD customers.

      Ubisoft, on the other hand, have a responsibility to all their cusomers regardless of which graphics card they have.

      • Lemming says:

        Ubisoft have a responsibility to the customers who buy their products; in this case, Nvidia card owners. That’s totally up to Ubisoft if they want to cut their market share down to size and cater to a select crowd. It’s not up to you or me, and it’s certainly not their ‘responsibility’ unless they sell games under the pretence that they’ll work with other hardware.

        You always have a choice not to buy their games.

        • The Random One says:

          Unless they slap a big NVIDIA ONLY sticker on all their PC games, they are indeed selling to people who don’t have NVIDIA cards, on account of those people seeing ads for their PC games and thinking “I shall buy this game for my PC”.

    • SuicideKing says:

      The problem is that Nvidia intentionally blocks PhysX on AMD systems. It divides the market, reduces the chances of devs implementing their feature, and makes their own system basically a gimick when, had it been universally adopted, it could have been pretty damn awesome.

      • Hahaha says:

        And all that crap recently about AMD having early access to a game was lies?

        Everyone are as bad as each other the companies, the fans and reviewers for writing articles that only pick on one company at a time making it look like it only happens with them (consumers don’t know anything more than they read in the article, just look at the comments on some of the articles where RPS forget to give half the info from the source and forget to link the source)

        • SuicideKing says:

          Early access is different from no access, i’m sure? Not saying AMD did a great thing, but then Nvidia does this far more often.

          They also have a lot of other good things, but the PhysX issue is annoying. I’ve got an Nvidia card, but there are hardly any games that use PhysX, at the same time using PhysX means AMD users can’t benefit and devs could potentially lose sales…causing them to avoid PhysX.

          It’s like M$ locking DX to Windows. Chicken and egg.

          • Hahaha says:

            How do you know when the writers are not journalists? but yeah they really should combine this sort of stuff or at least remind the goldfish that it happens all over.

      • LazyGit says:

        PhysX was created by another company with the aim of improving the gaming experience. nVidia bought them out and continued to support and innovate in the PhysX project. Why should nVidia spend their time and money producing something to give away for free to their competitors? I’m sure I read somewhere about how they offered a license to AMD and AMD refused.

        It’s so easy to claim that AMD are the heroes for not locking down technology but the only company I see truly investing in the PC as a gaming platform is nVidia.

        • marach says:

          Nvidia required AMD to hand over their GPU designs for them to add support. No not just the system calls THE ACTUAL DESIGNS! would YOU have accepted giving your hardware designs to your rival?

          NV wanted to be seen as magnanimous by say “look we offered them support and a license they turned us down” so AMD leaked the requirements for support to be added.

      • Milky1985 says:

        They don’t block PhysX on AMD systems totally (other than makybe marking cards as unsupported), they tried to do it and were told that they have to let AMD have access to the tech, something that was reported a few years back on this site. It might not work properly but it does still work (they tried to make it not work at all).

        Hell an article from 2008 says that it works but is blocked, but also says that its AMD that were the hold up at the time

        link to

        from another old news story–ati.html

        They are both as bad as each other in trying to push there preferred methods it would seem, blaming nvidia here might be a bit much, AMD apaprently have access to the API’sunless its been pulled later

        • SuicideKing says:

          From what i remember if you have an AMD card and Nvidia card then you can get physX to run on that system, but it only works till driver revision 20x.xx, because it uses a freeware hack/tool to get it done, which is out of development.

  12. MrSean490 says:

    It’s funny because TXAA (fullscreen AA in general) is shit and actually hurts the experience.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I thought TXAA was just a more efficient MSAA…if i remember their slides correctly, it was like 8xTXAA would incur the same perf hit as 2xMSAA, or something.

    • Sam says:

      Anti-aliasing, the land of four letter acronyms! A very simplistic overview:

      SSAA or FSAA. Very performance heavy, simply renders the whole scene at a higher resolution and scales down. SSAAx4 means the scene is rendered at x4 the horizontal and vertical resolution it is being displayed at.

      MSAA (and variations QSAA, CSAA). The standard for a long time, effectively renders the edges of objects (which is where most aliasing happens) at a higher resolution. Much less draining than SSAA and gives the same results on simple scenes. Problem is it doesn’t provide anti-aliasing on the edges of alpha-cut textures like chain link fences or foliage, also doesn’t handle “shader generated” things like the black outlines in cel shaded games. MSAAx4 means four fragments are rendered for each edge pixel, and their results averaged.

      FXAA (and variations MLAA, SMAA). Scene is rendered as normal and then FXAA is applied as a post processing effect over the rendered image. Low performance hit so popular on consoles. But some people find that it makes the image feel blurry, which makes sense as it kind of is a very smart selective blur.

      TXAA is the newest thing to appear. Developed by Nvidia, it’s intended specifically to combat temporal aliasing. Normally when we talk about aliasing in computer graphics we mean jagged edges in images which should be smooth. Temporal aliasing is when there’s inconsistency with how an object appears between rendered frames. For instance if there’s a thin shadow being drawn far away then it might flicker between frames as it passes from one pixel to the next on the rendered image. Using magic, TXAA attempts to reduce that effect. It also runs standard MSAA on the image before doing that magic to handle old fashioned aliasing.

      • Low Life says:

        I don’t know if the implementation is bad or what, but Crysis 3’s TXAA makes it look just like an awful post-processing blur similar to FXAA (screenshots here).

        • DarkLiberator says:

          It actually looks better in motion, but still looks like post processing.

      • Kyrius says:

        I logged in just to say thanks! I always wondered what all those AA’s were, but never had the patience to actually look for them. Again, thanks :)

      • Fluka says:

        As others have said, thank you so much for this! This was very clear and informative.

  13. Stardog says:

    Oh, come on. All it means is they’ll have an Nvida splash logo, and they’ll support Physx.

  14. SuicideKing says:

    I wonder if this simply means it’ll be a TWIMTBP title? Like Crysis 2? Which ran better on AMD…

  15. suibhne says:

    I’m sure Ubisoft will charge its AMD customers less money to make up for any features that don’t work on their cards.

  16. Snargelfargen says:

    Another reason not to pre-order games.

  17. Wulfram says:

    I’m not really sure what you expect them to say that would add to our understanding of the situation.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      How about either…

      1) There will be no difference, it’s just a marketing ploy.


      2) Sorry but the users of the competitors cards are plum out of luck as we didn’t give a shit about it and in some cases have probably purposefully crippled it’s fuctionality in our game.

      Thank you. We value your patronage,

      Love Ubisoft. xxx

  18. RProxyOnly says:

    Are you going to keep on at UBI for an answer about this, or is is this just another round of shouting, supposedly for our benefit, but not really, it’ll fall by the wayside… because at the end of the day, it’s just a story and you don’t really care?

    How many times have we read a story.. “THAT DEMANDS ANSWERS11!!11!!!”, yet you don’t actually follow up on it?.. even just to miscall the dev/publisher for their PERSISTANT silence.

    I would be fully supportive of stories like this, and they would garner a hell of a lot of goodwill…. If only you would keep on top of it.. organise an email bomb with us.. I’m pretty sure we would go to the effort if RPS would point us in the direction of ‘deserving’ companies…. Even if you actually TOLD the dev/pub that you have a lot of readers waiting for answers and may have to ‘advise’ them that they should send their own emails to them in request of those answers. I’m quite sure the person/s involved wouldn’t like the prospect of us bringing down their mail servers by volume, purely by accident of course.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      lol, excactly true. Every now and then Walker shouts about somthing then, NOTHING…..forever. So yes, completely and utterly pointless.

      • WibbsterVan says:

        It amuses me how desperate some people are to twist any story John writes to show just how awful/pointless/out of touch/manipulative he is as a journalist, often wilfully ignoring evidence to the contrary.

        In this case there was a recent article following up similar issues that had been raised about companies keeping silent, which completely contradicts your assertion.

        • SuicideKing says:

          +1 we’re seeing this small minority of Walker haters making too much noise, probably because he’s doing the right things.

          • limimi says:

            You walker fans are all the same. Blindly following your precious leaders while they trample on everyone in their path. Insinuating that any who don’t like walker are drones of the big corporations, while ignoring the damage walker has done and continues to do. Where I come from we have a saying – don’t tread on me. And that’s why I say vote wheelchair. How many people does walker have to step on to get to the top? Wheelchair – it just makes sense.

      • Hahaha says:

        Where are all the words in the article about AMD doing this?

    • Sam says:

      A week or so ago there was a follow-up on several of the past “silence” stories. So RPS does seem to follow it up. And the whole point is that these companies just ignore questions on the issue, so a weekly “yep, we asked again and they still didn’t answer” column would be a little dull to read.

      I don’t think organising a mass abuse of email would benefit anyone in this situation.

    • John Walker says:

      Yeah, you see the article I link to here? The summary of matters we’re still not getting answers for going back to March? And how I’ve made it a new policy of RPS to keep putting this stuff up because otherwise they get away without answering?

      Yeah, that.

  19. Prime says:

    I don’t think I’ve bought a single Ubisoft game in the last three or four years. Intentionally. Thank you for continuing to post articles like these that remind me why I choose to do that, and ensure I won’t be changing my mind any time soon.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      Thats a shame because youve missed out on some really good games and all for nothing.

      • schlusenbach says:

        No, not all for nothing… all for not-giving-Ubisoft-his-money. I stopped buying Ubisoft games too, since Anno 2070 forceing me to install uplay, although I downloaded it via steam. Same with origin.
        It’s a valid decision to not buy games by publishers that force you into this multiple DRM-scheme.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Um, i don’t know about that. I think the only two Ubi titles i’ve bought in the last 4 years were HAWX 2 and FC3.

        HAWX 2 was terrible and FC 3 looked good.

      • Prime says:

        There’s no shame. I have missed out on nothing because I’ve spent that money I would have wasted on Ubisoft games buying other great games. From Dust and Anno 2070 both appealed to me but weren’t quite what I was looking for. I can live quite happily without the rest.

        And it’s not been for nothing. It’s a statement of principle. I don’t like modern business practices, ergo I do not support them. Instead I support the people who I believe do it Right. Maybe EA’s financial wobbles in recent years have been the result of this kind of thinking multiplied throughout gamerdom?

  20. nrvsNRG says:

    This is pointles really. How it would effect AMD users? Things will stay the same for them, thats how.

    • RProxyOnly says:

      Not necessarily.

      There are quite a few games that only run properly on one card or the other.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Eventually, everything would be the same but the first week or two after launch, it’s very likely that ATI users would see significantly more bugs and game breaking poor performance. Yes it will be fixed when AMD have had enough time with the game to release the next driver patch and the devs have been allowed to optimise the game for those users too – but until that time, there is historically a significant chance that ATI users will not get a good experience.

      This article helps them make a decision about pre-ordering the game.

  21. Phinor says:

    Hard to see how this is a big deal now when both companies have been doing this for years. AMD gaming evolved, anyone? Or is it because certain people are now on the other side of the fence? It sucks either way.

    Also PhysX is a funny one. I have a GTX770 (first Nvidia card for me in around five years) and PhysX still seems to kill performance. Take The Bureau for example, Physx + DX11 = around 30-35fps average on that card with no AA and no screen space reflections. Disabling either Physx or DX11 helps a bit, but disabling both gives me solid 60fps. My first experience with Nvidia owned Physx was Mirror’s Edge where it completely killed performance and five years later nothing has changed?

    • LazyGit says:

      “Tessellation still seems to kill performance.” That would be a bit of a truism wouldn’t it? So it is with PhysX.

      PhysX is never going to be free. It’s being performed on the GPU so it will reduce performance but improve the gaming experience just like tesselation or AA or high detail textures. You just have to decide where the sweet spot is for you. Or let GeForce Experience find a good balance for you.

  22. trjp says:

    All this means is that “NVIDIA” will appear at the start, in the press materials etc.

    In return they get free kit

    That is all

    Developers do this all the time – just because it says “NVIDIA” (or AMD or Intel) doesn’t mean it won’t work./hasn’t been tested on other platforms.

    It’s notable that Intel pretty much means ‘laptop’ or ‘non-gaming PC’ tho – and that’s something which is largely unsupported by 99% of developers – probably more of a story there.

    Read any Steam forum and you’ll see a fair percentage of complaints are from people trying to play games on laptops – we all know they’re dumb for doing so but they keep on buying games which probably won’t work on their high-priced space heaters ;)

  23. IanWharton says:

    I miss Voodoo cards.

    • trjp says:

      I’ve got one right here – Diamond Monster – cost me a fortune (slightly less than this entire PC sans GPU did) – not currently in-use ;)

      • FakeAssName says:

        I wish there was a “like” button for these two comments.

  24. Lone Gunman says:

    Don’t you just love the monopolistic nature of big business ¬¬

  25. Leonick says:

    Which provides quite the feeling of déjà vu after June’s attempts to get a statement on a developer’s slip-up in revealing plans to delay the PC release of Assassin’s Creed IV, after last year’s promises to move away from such practices. Especially the practice of waiting until a week or two before release to then announce the PC delay as if it were a surprise to them as well as us – something they surely can’t be planning to do this time out as well?

    Considering the only release information anyone seem to have for the PC version is “2013” I think it’s safe to say it’ll release later, they’re not even pretending it’ll launch at the same time only to get a delay, instead they simply haven’t announced a release. Just to make things more odd no other Ubisoft titles are doing this, Blacklist and Watch Dogs both got PC release dates at the same time the console version did…

  26. fish99 says:

    This has been going on for decades, going all the way back to the 3dfx days.

  27. Don Reba says:

    This is a zero-sum game, unfortunately. Development time used on NVIDIA’s proprietary technologies is development time that could have been invested into improving standards-based features.

  28. 00000 says:

    Those 14% the Steam survey detects as Intel on-board graphics are probably all Nvidia-optimus laptops. Just saying.

    inb4: Ubisoft’s war against Intel graphics.

    • The Random One says:

      Yes, it is an absolute certainty that each and every one of those people are in the situation you just described. There is no chance whatsoever that even a minuscule fraction of the people who have been reported to have Intel cards actually have intel cards, since we all know deciding to play games on a PC automatically imbues one with the innate ability to know what are the best cards for their system. And there is even less chance that Steam predicted that eventuality and corrected their research for it.

      I’m glad we have you here to point out when Walker is doing bad journalist stuff like base things on actual research, to correct it using the foolproof scientific method of saying ‘nah it probably ain’t like that’.

    • drewski says:

      Yeah, that’s the only *possible* explanation. Certainly not the tens, if not hundreds of millions of laptops out there with Ivy Bridge CPUs.

      • Sakkura says:

        I would have added numbers for Sandy Bridge and Haswell, but Steam’s hardware survey seems to be having a bit of a wobbly at the moment. In any case, some of the most popular PC games can be played on integrated graphics. MOBAs, for example.

      • Gargenville says:

        If you have a discrete GPU but have the iGPU enabled for some non-gaming reason Steam still chalks up an Intel GPU. I could shove an old ATi card in there and run the trifecta, maybe even hunt down an S3 PCI board to tick the Other box.. They should make this a badge..

    • Milky1985 says:

      Its stupid saying its all of them , but SOME of them will likely be hybrid GPU’s on laptops, i know my laptop is detected by everything as intel but i can enable a radeon chip and tend to do so.

  29. 00000 says:

    If you want to drop some truth, read my post below, and don’t fall for another one of John Walker’s straw men. This is an error in Steam ability to poll for the proper graphics card when your optimus profile is on default / energy-saving mode – or this is old data when optimus drivers were still trash.

  30. Theory says:

    You should probably have asked a developer for advice before posting this, John. Like everyone else says, it’s nothing interesting.

  31. Megakoresh says:

    Yeah good idea! We should do this everywhere. Both press and general gamers alike. If we ask a question that is important for the consumers and we are being continuously ignored with it, people should assume the worst.

    The main thing here is to make it so that ignoring a question is less profitable to the publisher or developer than answering it, even if the answer may be negative for some people. It’s a good practice to assume and tell others to assume the worst possible outcome, as it prevents people from many stupid things, starting with pre-orders and ending with crying in the corner over unmet expectations.

    Good idea. Report The Silence!


  32. bluebomberman says:

    I’m going to be blunt here: this series of “The Silence” posts smacks entirely of self-righteousness and self-congratulations, almost like you’re trying too hard to elevate your brand of journalism to the level of respect normally accorded to investigations into subject matter several levels of magnitude more important than video games.

    Every time I see one of these attempts to shame someone into commenting I’m reminded of Marcus Beer, who disastrously tried to shame Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow into breaking “The Silence.” We don’t need more journalism like this; we just need you to report on what matters.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Nah, this is cool. I like how RPS does this.

      • bluebomberman says:

        And how so? How is writing articles in the vein of “How dare they not answer my incredibly important questions? Shame on them!” good journalism?

        It’s an elevation of the image of hard-hitting journalism over the discussion of actual issues.

        • SuicideKing says:

          List actual issues.

          • bluebomberman says:

            So the issue at hand is how many publishers choose to favor one graphics chip vendor, to the probable detriment of users of a competing graphics chip vendor.

            Clearly this is an issue that deserves more attention. EDIT: So for instance they could have written “Publishers: stop shafting half your customer base for marketing moolah from NVIDIA/AMD.”

            Instead, we have a post that focuses most of its attention on how Ubisoft refuses to comment, how great RPS is for singling out Ubisoft for a practice that many publishers and devs have partaken in over the past decade or more, and how other journalists are lacking by not doing this public shaming.

            This is why I argue that the series of “The SIlence” articles is self-righteous and self-congratulatory to the detriment of the actual problems RPS is purportedly trying to address. It’s the same with other posts of this nature: the focus is not on the problem but how wrong it is for the high and mighty RPS to not get their calls returned.

            It is entirely unprofessional for a journalistic site to use their prestige as a blunt instrument over the story itself. RPS is making the refusal of game companies to comment more serious than the actual problem itself.

            In addition, by claiming that other game sites are part of this “stupid culture” (RPS’s words, not mine), they’re all but saying that other game journalists are accomplices to the crime.

          • bluebomberman says:

            I would also add that the actual issue Marcus Beer wanted to discuss, how Xbox One was initially hostile to most indie devs, is an entirely legitimate and serious issue. Then he tried to shame indie devs into commenting when they initially tried to stay silent. That didn’t go well.

          • RobF says:

            There’s a massive gap between what Beer did and what John’s doing and I’m not sure how you can even roll the two things together and pretend they’re similar.

            It’s one thing asking questions about something that effects the customer or consumer or player or whatever and prodding for answers and reminding people that they did not get any answers when they’re not forthcoming (especially if PR are taken to stretching the truth a tad when they do answer) and there’s another demanding individuals be subservient to every press whim as if that’s some sort of deal you make when you make videogames and then when you’re deemed not to be subservient enough, going out on an internet TV show and calling people dicks for not doing what you want.

            Doubly great when you have as much knowledge of something as the people you’re asking anyway.

            It’s not even sodding close! John’s standing up for you. Whether you need/want him to or not, I don’t know. It’s fine not to be interested or care I guess but when you’ve got a press that’s happy to take PR at its word and never mention things again, we need this sort of thing more.

          • Hahaha says:

            Fuck what the PR people say. why can’t games “journalists” move on from being a free form of advertisement, people keep trying but they get stuck at sensationalist headlines and flame bait without doing that extra bit of work that would make a really good article.

          • Hahaha says:

            The first investigative game journalist wants to step up and show these fluff writers how its done.

          • bluebomberman says:

            @RobF: That Beer’s much worse in this regard I do not disagree. But I stand by the assertion that they’re similar tactics. The “Give me a quote or I’ll make you look bad” attitude is unbecoming.

            There’s a right way and a wrong way to shine a light on these issues. Let’s take some more examples:

            RPS focuses on EA/Maxis’s silence on the whole SimCity debacle, as if we the readership need to be reminded months later that SimCity launched in a terribly broken state. What we really need focus on is followup. Is SimCity still terribly broken? And how the heck did EA/Maxis let this happen in the first place?

            RPS focuses on the Dead Island torso. Several times. Long after people have largely consigned Dead Island and its followup to the great Recycle Bin in the sky. What does breaking the silence accomplish at this point?

            RPS focuses on Ubisoft’s silence on why AssCreed4’s PC version is coming after its console versions. What does breaking the silence actually accomplish? It’s not going to make the PC version come out any faster. It’s not likely going to make their PC fanbase feel any better about it. It doesn’t shine light on why PC versions are repeatedly delayed and whether publishers are coming around to addressing it. It singles out Ubisoft solely because they don’t return you calls even though numerous devs, from tiny indies to massive AAA houses, have staggered their releases across multiple platforms (including delayed ports to Mac and Linux).

            I’m asking RPS to stop focusing on people pleading the fifth. Focus on the real problems.

            @HaHaHa: A recent example would be Polygon’s feature article on how the recent XCOM shooter became so broken. That kind of journalism is expensive and laborious to produce. I’m not necessarily asking RPS to conduct that kind of journalism; they may not have the resources to do so.

            EDIT: Link here. link to

          • RobF says:

            This is a real problem though. The intention behind a PR going quiet is to make sure that it’s never mentioned again, so that everyone just forgets about it. That’s the intent when engaging in this tactic. Bringing it up again -is- valuable because the more it’s done, the more it whittles the tactic down.

            If RPS can bring their weight to it, and yes using the weight they have for being RPS, then that’s really helpful.

            Follow ups on stuff like Sim City would be lovely, hopefully ones more readable than The Pool of Polygon’s XCOM piece (In 1985 no-one died…) but it’s not just a case of going off and doing proper journalisms to go and get them, it’s whether you can do proper journalisms on them in the first place, who will talk about what and where. And even once you have that, once you know what’s gone wrong, the next time something goes tits a PR will just go shush again because no-one ever argues against that tactic and everyone just trucks along.

            But y’know, doing one doesn’t exclude the other anyway. This shit isn’t either/or.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @bluebomberman – You seem to be implying that if a journalist asks a question but does not get a response to that question, by reporting that they asked and didn’t get an answer they are bullying or attempting to intimidate a developer, whereas if they ask a question and get a response, it is OK to post that response.

            But surely the lack of a response is as valid a reply as any other – and reporting on what companies are not talking about is important consumer information, otherwise the tactic of stonewalling the media – whom let’s not forget are who we as consumers turn to when we want advise on how to spend our money – would mean that important consumer issues could be successfully “PR’d” out of existence, surely not what we want.

            Right now, as an ATI card owner, I am very pleased this article was produced, it helps me make decisions, it will mean when reviews are published, to make sure there is an angle from an ATI card in the review, otherwise a review could be glowing but the game be a dog on my machine.

            Furthermore, if we acknowledge the concept that zero is a number; a lack of a response is in itself a response then what you have just advocated condenses down to “Don’t write negative stuff about companies, just regurgitate what their PR department spews” which is not what I want from the media I consume. There is media like that and I can spot it a mile off and these days tend to block the worst offenders from my google searches. If I want to read the PR, and I often do, I’ll get it from the company themselves.

    • bluebomberman says:

      I must also add that this mean, self-righteous attitude you’ve had in recent months has pushed me away from this site, searching for alternatives.

      • AndrewC says:

        I find this tactic to be one of the most endearing tactics. I smile every time I see it.

        • bluebomberman says:

          I guess it’s too much to ask for humility and for a clearer focus on actual issues. Gotta pump up readers with CONTROVERSY.

          • AndrewC says:

            I have no idea what point you are trying to make.

          • bluebomberman says:

            I posted a lengthy reply a few spots up.

          • The Random One says:

            That post up above in which you say “Well this is a real issue, but obviously isn’t a real issue?” Or the one below where you compare Walker poiting out that the people who might screw us are not responding to some other guy contacting people who he believed might have something to say and attacking them when they didn’t?

      • Eddy9000 says:

        For God’s sake yes! Please stop visiting this website, I implore you. There’s loads of games websites out there that you might prefer, you’d be happier reading them and you’d stop filling the RPS comments with whingey crap so I’d be happier as well. There are no losers here.

    • valz says:

      What important topic are you saying RPS skipped reporting on?

      • SuicideKing says:

        How The Red Bomberman Turned Blue.

      • bluebomberman says:

        Posted a lengthy reply a few spots up.

        • alw says:

          Yeah, just read that.

          So what important topic are you saying RPS skipped reporting on? :P

          • Gap Gen says:

            The Syrian Civil War, I presume. Or maybe Islamist militancy in Africa.

        • valz says:

          That post is completely unrelated to my question. Please read my question instead of just copy/pasting your standard reply.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Sup! How’s it going! You may need to go kayaking. Mild PTSD detected. After all, being a bomberman is much worse than being a Perseus pilot.

      • bluebomberman says:

        Um, I won’t snark on your name if you don’t reply in kind about mine in kind.

        (It’s a reference to the Bomberman games, if you must know.)

        • SuicideKing says:

          Yes, i know that. The Perseus pilot is a FreeSpace 2 reference to the 242nd Suicide Kings. ;-)

    • Baines says:

      The Silence stuff is mostly okay.

      Things like SimCity should have been carried. Heck, EA Maxis apparently just recently released a broken version of SimCity for Macs.

      And Ubisoft deserves at least some questions being asked because the claim is silly, there is a somewhat negative history with game devs partnering with a specific video card maker (and particularly partnering with Nvidia), and Ubisoft itself has a somewhat negative track record with PC games in general.

      The one that makes RPS look bad is the Deep Silver/Dead Island one, because it was founded on an RPS writer coming up with his own interpretation of a press release, getting upset when Deep Silver didn’t act according to his imagined version, and then asking Deep Silver “Why didn’t you do what I thought you were going to do, even though you never said you would do that in the first place?” Whatever valid complaint was present to be made was lost in RPS’ fumbled and indignant delivery.

      • The Random One says:

        Oh come on. Go read that press release and see if they don’t look like as they’re saying they will no longer sell the plastic torso. They may not have outright stated they wouldn’t, but they heavily implied they would, because they knew that was what would get the press off their backs. They got their cake and ate it too.

  33. Frank says:

    This is par for the course, and, in this particular case, you wouldn’t have a story even if they had replied, since the subject matter is just nonsensical marketing speak.

  34. revan says:

    How about fixing Heroes VI on newer NVIDIA drivers for starters?

  35. Mr Coot says:

    My only concerns when I see any software published by ‘Ubisoft’ are: Does it come with the execrable UPLAY interface? Is the digital download price more expensive in AU than US? A ‘yes’ for either of those means Ubisoft can go to hell.

  36. Dangersaurus says:

    RPS just doesn’t have the page views to make it worth risking sticking their collective feet in their collective mouths over something like this. Especially considering that you came in with shields up, weapons at the ready.

    • drewski says:

      I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that John probably has a better idea of his page views and what topics drive reader hits on this site than you do.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Nonsense! You appear to be implying that John is a professional journalist with years of experience and a deep understanding of the industry. Preposterous.

  37. Sharlie Shaplin says:

    After their always on DRM crusade against the corrupt and evil PC gaming masses, I tend to avoid Ubisoft anyway.

    • captain nemo says:

      Same here, although I would not be surprised if they changed their minds tomorrow (“…it was unfortunate….”). Bunch of muppets

  38. unistrut says:

    I almost want this to be a weekly column. Every week a nice little reminder of the various things the game companies want ignored. You could track how long it’s been since there’s been any response, if there has been a response, if the answer was found by the game being released and the answer was just as bad as we were expecting, maybe even a little scoreboard for each company – how many questions they’ve given the Silent Treatment to, how many they’ve answered, how many turned out to be serious problems.

  39. Metalhead9806 says:

    All I want to know is if a Ubi game will run with my AMD GPU/CPU. I don’t care if the game has a special graphics check box in the options for Nvidia hardware. I just want to install a Ubi game, click play and enjoy the game…

    • Convolvulus says:

      The Xbox One and PS4 will be powered by AMD processors.

      • Gargenville says:

        That doesn’t mean much. Plenty of games ported over from the 360 were messed up on desktop ATi cards and the same goes for PS3/nVidia.

        • Convolvulus says:

          It means quite a lot in terms of compatibility. It just doesn’t mean that everything will work perfectly.

  40. derbefrier says:

    AMD users getting shitty performance? How is this anything new?

    • TheJagji says:

      +1. Even games that have the AMD (and ATI) logo work better on Nvidia cards most of the time. I think there have been very few games that have ACTUALLY worked well on AMD cards.

  41. Asurmen says:

    Way to miss the point entirely.

  42. elmuerte says:

    The last Ubisoft game I bought was Prince of Persia from 2008. I bought that game, the most special edition, at full price because I supported their decision to release a DRM free game. The game itself was quite beautiful but quite mediocre as a game.
    However, after this DRM free experiment Ubisoft started hated PC gaming bu using atrocious DRM schemes, and ridiculous delays. I’ve been boycotting Ubisoft ever since.
    Once in a while Ubisoft releases a game I’m quite interested in… and so I search if they have bettered themselves. But so far, Ubisoft has remained the worst publisher for PC games. So, I’m still not spending a single Euro on their games. It’s not a matter than I don’t have the budget to waste money on videogames. I’ve spend/donated money on pretty much every humble bundle so far. Hell, I’ve event payed over $125 on the full Paradox bundle even though I probably won’t play 46 of the 48 games. (damn my backlog)

    So hear this Ubisoft. I don’t buy or play any of your games because you are assholes. I don’t buy your games, but I also don’t pirate your games. I am not a customer of you because of your behavior, and your behavior alone. There are plenty of other publishers/game producers which enjoy my money.

  43. tonkinese says:

    It’s only Amd gpu so who really cares. Amd have always proven they are terrible, with lack of support for released products . the perfect example was the battlefield 3 beta.

    • Wedge says:

      A beta is a released product? OK guy.

    • marach says:

      What AMD support is horrible because they only get the game 3 weeks before launch? DAMN THEM!!!!111 they should drop everything to get that beta running smoothly in the week they get to look at it!
      Hint1: Driver code takes months to go through testing
      Hint2: NV gets hold of alpha code of TWIMTBP titles, same as AMD gets earlier (but being nice only a couple of months earlier) access to code with gaming evolved titles

      AMD will usually release a driver patch after about a month of them getting the game if they only get the game 3 weeks before launch… you can see the problem

  44. horsemedic says:

    1) Get press release announcing deal that you don’t adequately explain to your readers, forcing them to check other gaming sites to learn what it does

    2) Become angry about deal because it favors one company and you feel the gaming industry should work like government and treat everyone equally

    3 Ask Ubisoft spokesperson nonsensical question akin to asking McDonald’s how new Double McMuffin will affect Burger King experience

    4) Don”t call any sources at Nvidia or Ubisoft to learn about the deal through avenues other than the press office

    5) Post rant portraying your failure as a journalist to be some kind of injustice in the PC Republic. Vow action short of learning to report like a real reporter or craft coherent questions

    • The Random One says:

      Your metaphor on 3 would be right if there had been past reports of people blowing up when eating any Burger King hamburgers within a week of eating a McMuffin.

  45. Wedge says:

    Something something video cards something something Ubisoft? OK, so nothing important then, carry on.

  46. drewski says:

    I’m amused at how many people have bothered posting to complain about this not being worth posting.

    Anyway, hopefully this doesn’t go beyond Ubisoft giving away free copies of their less popular games with nVidia cards, and getting some help making their games run not shit.

  47. jaguar skills says:

    Oooo, John has Ubisoft in his sights this time! If you have half as much success with this as you did taking down Sim City (2 million + copies sold to date) or Deep Silver (publisher of the wildly successful SRIV) then I see another noble failure in your future.

    If I was one of these evil publishers and I saw the name John Walker appear in my inbox, I’d laugh and set a rule to automatically send all future correspondence to the recycle bin.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Ooo, burn! You really got him there. You’re the real hero.

  48. Neurotic says:

    This shit happens all the time. AMD+X one time, nVidia+Y the next, then AMD+Y and nVidia+X the time after that. I’m loyal to my preferred brands and my games run fine, whatever the circumstances of the latest deal. Big Meh!

  49. jalf says:

    Honestly, sounds like a bit of a non-issue to me.

    All it means is that NVidia is doing what they’ve always done: help game devs test and tweak their games for NVidia hardware. NVidia has always done that to a much greater extent than AMD (or hah, Intel).

    This is just The Way It’s Meant To Be Played v2.0, basically. It didn’t stop games from running on AMD hardware then, and it won’t now, because game developers do not want to say goodbye to half the market (especially not when AMD runs the next-gen consoles).

  50. fredc says:

    I’m still pissed about the completely and always unplayable Rage (not Ubi but unplayable with ATI), so well done Ubisoft, I will be waiting until well after release date to see if it is safe to spend money on your games.