Prey PC Performance Revisited - Patch 1.02 - Lower Framerates?
Published: 16th May 2017 | Source: OC3D | Price: |
While day-1 performance data for games is important, we often forget how drastically things can change with a few patches. Long gone are the days when a game was shipped and quickly forgotten by its developers and we now live in an age where a game can change for both better and worse post-launch.
Usually, games offer improved performance after a few patches and/or driver updates, though this is not the case with Prey. Arkane Studios took bug fixing seriously in this release and has made a change that some will see controversially, offering a patch that decreases PC performance but also fixes a very noticeable graphical issue within the PC version of the game.
Since this patch, many users have reported reduced performance in Prey, though it has been frequently reported that this patch only harmed users of Nvidia hardware, which is something that is simply not true. Both AMD and Nvidia hardware is affected by this patch, though it is worth noting that the performance of modern GPU architectures like AMD Polaris and Nvidia Pascal are most affected by this bug-fixing update.
Now Nvidia Pascal GPUs perform much more similarly to their Maxwell-based performance competitors and AMD's R9 Fury X is easily able to outperform AMD's RX 480, bringing the relative performance of most GPUs in line with normal performance expectations. It is clear here that modern GPUs were affected more by this patch than their older equivalents, which is certainly one of the strangest oddities presented by this new patch.
This all raises the question of whether of not Arcane Studios shipped with this performance altering bug on purpose, artificially inflating the performance of the game at launch to prevent a Dishonored 2-like PR disaster. Note that this bug was fixed with no mention of it in Bethesda's Patch notes, which some could be interpreted as an attempt to hide the fact that this issue ever existed.
The facts of the matter are clear, Prey's performance on PC is worse than it was on day-1, though players have been blessed with better visuals on the platform. Graphical settings lower than Very High have been mostly unaffected by this patch, so those that were playing at lower than max settings are almost totally unaffected by this new update.
Today we can see the importance of post-launch performance data for games, showcasing that with patches and improvements that performance can actually get worse in games, though in this case users are blessed with improved shadow quality that no doubt makes up for the performance decrease.