The huge new patch released for Cyberpunk 2077 yesterday is mostly a good'un, bringing the dystopian RPG closer to the game it should have been 14 months ago. But Update 1.5 might be bad news for players with older PCs. CD Projekt Red have officially ended support for Nvidia GeForce 700 series graphics cards, and announced plans to end Windows 7 support later this year. This isn't immediately bad, but the game could end up breaking on affected computers in the future.
"Due to technical limitations of non-native DirectX 12 implementation on Windows 7, and the end of, or limited, support for graphics drivers, game updates will not be supporting Windows 7 after June 15, 2022," CDPR said in the v1.5 patch notes. "If updated with patches published after that time, the game may stop working on this operating system."
Given that the game could definitely still benefit from more overhauls, upgrades, and tweaks through patches (and has an expansion eventually coming), it seems fairly likely this clause will trigger.
While it's impossible for us to know how many Cyberpunk 2077 owners are playing on Windows 7, we can get a vague sense of how popular it is in gaming: un. Valve's Steam hardware and software survey found that only 3.73% of Steam users surveyed in January 2022 were on the 64-bit version of Windows 7 which CP2077 required—and that could include people still only playing, like, Counter-Strike 1.6. Even Microsoft ended Windows 7 support in January 2020.
As for the decision to ditch older Nvidia graphics cards, CDPR explain:
"Due to the end of support for graphics drivers, we've decided to change the minimum system requirements of Nvidia graphics cards to GTX 970. The game won't necessarily stop functioning on said cards, however, we are no longer testing the game on Nvidia 700 Series graphics cards."
The Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements previously listed a GeForce GTX 780 as the minimum. The requirement for AMD cards remains unchanged, a Radeon RX 470.
Nvidia started winding down support for Kepler-based desktop GPUs, which is most GeForce 600 and 700 series cards, in October 2021. They said that these cards will get criticial security updates through 2024, but Game Ready Driver upgrades with changes like "performance enhancements, new features, and bug fixes" are now only for newer cards.
I understand why CDPR would want to stop working with unsupported software and hardware, but it still sucks for people who might be playing the game on these vulnerable systems.
Update 1.5 is a good'un on the whole, mind. Along with updating the game for next-gen consoles, it brought improved AI for combat and crowd NPCs, the ability to customise V's appearance, new apartments to buy and new styles for her old apartment, an overhaul of perk trees, new weapons, a bit of an economy rebalance, and more. I don't plan to revisit the game until it gets a full-on expansion, but I'll be glad to play that on stronger foundations.