The rocky launch of Watch Dogs has prompted AMD to speak out against Nvidia. In addition to the authentication server issue experienced, PC gamers who own AMD GPUs also had to deal with performance issues. While competition has been heated between both companies, AMD’s Robert Hallock said that Nvidia’s Gameworks program is a “threat to gamers” when he spoke to Forbes.
Gameworks is a set of tools developed by Nvidia for the use of developers and programmers that can enhance a game's graphical perfomance. Somce of tools offered include the Core SDK that allows developers access to Nvidia's hardware and Visual FX that will enhance hair, oean simulation, and high-quality skin and eye shading.
But despite its usefullness to developers, Hallock spoke out against it saying, “Gameworks represents a clear and present threat to gamers by deliberately crippling performance on AMD products (40 percent of the market) to widen the margin in favor of NVIDIA products.”
“Participation in the Gameworks program, Hallock continued, “Often precludes the developer from accepting AMD suggestions that would improve performance directly in the game code-the most desirable form of optimization.”
Hallock went on to say that Nvidia has made it difficult for AMD to fix the problems due to a lack of transparency. He claims, “The code obfuscation makes it difficult to perform our own after-the-fact driver optimizations, as the characteristics of the game are hidden behind many layers of circuitous and non-obvious routines. This change coincides with NVIDIA’s decision to remove all public Direct3D code samples from their site in favor of a ‘contact us for licensing’ page. AMD does not engage in, support, or condone such activities.”
This isn’t the first time a game has been released that was optimized for one GPU and not the other. Back in 2011, when id Software’s FPS title Rage launched, AMD users experienced a plethora of performance issues.
The claims made by Hallock prompted a response from Nvidia director of engineering Cem Cebenoyan who denied the allegations. Speaking to Forbes, Cebenoyan said, “I’ve heard that before from AMD and it’s a little mysterious to me. We don’t and we never have restricted anyone from getting access as part of our agreements. Not with Watch Dogs and not with any other titles.”
Cebenoyan continued, “Our agreements focus on interesting things we’re going to do together to improve the experience for all PC gamers and of course for Nvidia customers. We don’t have anything in there restricting anyone from accessing source code or binaries. Developers are free to give builds out to whoever they want. It’s their product.”