Quantum Break’s PC Version Sure Sounds Broken

I started playing Quantum Break on Xbox One last night and was surprised by how much I liked it. If I’d been playing on PC, sounds like it would’ve been a different story.

I raised an eyebrow last week when I heard the PC version’s main menu didn’t have a quit button—never the sign of a high-quality PC port. But I wasn’t aware of just how bad it really is.

A doozy of a new report from Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry goes into great technical detail about what else is wrong with Remedy’s PC port. You can watch a performance breakdown here:

In that test, their AMD R9 390 is destroying their Nvidia GTX 970, which is interesting. They’re also reporting that their Nvidia driver frequently crashes, which is a complaint I’ve seen in Nvidia’s forums as well. I haven’t had my driver crash since the last time I did a serious overclock, and I can’t even remember the last time a game made my driver crash on its own.

Among the other things they’ve found: The game appears incapable of running at 100% of a screen’s refresh rate, so no matter what hardware they use, it can only hit around 5/6th of the refresh rate. (What??) The in-game 30fps frame-cap option doesn’t work properly, so it’s not possible to get the same kind of performance you get on Xbox One. Because of the full-screen limitations of the Universal Windows Platform, it’s impossible to use an outside program like Rivia Tuner Statistics Server to get a smoother 30fps. Yeesh.

They also report significant problems with visuals and data streaming, but the killer is here:

Universal Windows Platform: This is a drum we cannot beat loud enough - the Universal Windows Platform architecture is a huge issue for the PC right now. There are problems with this game, such as frame-pacing, which could be fixed by users right now but that becomes impossible due to UWP’s limitations. In the case of Quantum Break, this means that we’re basically held hostage waiting for improvements from the developer or from Microsoft itself, as if this were a console game. In a perfect world, games would ship without any issues, but that just doesn’t always happen, which is why it’s so important for PC gamers to have the option to work around these problems with established tools and GPU control panel options. Also: bonus points to UWP for overwriting our Xbox One completed game save with fresh PC data instead, eliminating our existing progress completely.

After Microsoft mercy-killed their disastrous Games for Windows Live platform, I had this hope that they’d learned… well, something. It would appear they haven’t, and so far UWP seems worse than GFWL.

PC gamers have to deal with messed up PC ports more often than we should, but at least we’ve traditionally been able to take matters into our own hands and fix things on our end. UWP makes it much harder to do that, which just adds a new layer of frustration. It’s easy to expect the worst from big corporate publishers like Microsoft, but I’m still amazed that they’re blowing this so badly.

I’ve asked Microsoft for more information about what went wrong, and when PC players can expect a patch or other type of fix. For more a more detailed breakdown, be sure to check out Eurogamer’s full report.

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