So, there may be a slight side effect to AMD's closer relationship with triple-A game developers. Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider, an AMD Gaming Evolved title, was released earlier this week, and it apparently runs quite poorly on GeForce graphics cards. Users have complained so vocally that Nvidia's Andrew Burnes, the editor of the official GeForce.com website, posted a three-paragraph statement to appease them:
We are aware of performance and stability issues with GeForce GPUs running Tomb Raider with maximum settings. Unfortunately, NVIDIA didn’t receive final game code until this past weekend which substantially decreased stability, image quality and performance over a build we were previously provided. We are working closely with Crystal Dynamics to address and resolve all game issues as quickly as possible.
Please be advised that these issues cannot be completely resolved by an NVIDIA driver. The developer will need to make code changes on their end to fix the issues on GeForce GPUs as well. As a result, we recommend you do not test Tomb Raider until all of the above issues have been resolved.
In the meantime, we would like to apologize to GeForce users that are not able to have a great experience playing Tomb Raider, as they have come to expect with all of their favorite PC games.
Yikes. I suppose it is hard to fault Nvidia if they only got the final game code days in advance.
I'm getting a mild sense of poetic justice from this story. Radeon owners surely remember the bad old days of Nvidia-backed, "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" titles that performed poorly on AMD GPUs at release. Now, the tables have turned. Ultimately, of course, favoring one GPU vendor over another in this way only hurts the PC as a gaming platform.
The best course of action would be for developers to collaborate closely with both Nvidia and AMD prior to a game's launch. Based on what we've heard, it doesn't sound like the Gaming Evolved program necessarily impedes that. Jorjen Katsman, the President of Nixxes, told us last October that his company was "just as much in touch" with Nvidia as with AMD when working on the PC port of Hitman: Absolution—another Gaming Evolved title. When we tested that game a little over a month later, we found that the Radeon HD 7950 delivered a higher average frame rate but struggled with frequent latency spikes, giving the GeForce GTX 660 Ti an edge in our 99th-percentile performance metric.