Graphic Giants AMD and Nvidia Battle Over ‘The Witcher 3’

CD Projekt Red
CD Projekt Red

PC gamers using Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) video cards have reported performance issues with CD Projekt Red’s new role-playing game, The Witcher 3, stemming from graphics features created by technology giant and competitor Nvidia, spurring a conflict between AMD and Nvidia.

One of Nvidia’s features utilized by The Witcher 3 is HairWorks, which provides rich detail for characters’ hair. But HairWorks massively slows down the frame rate on AMD processors. While gamers can turn HairWorks off, AMD claims that the lag can’t be fixed because Nvidia will not share its source code. Richard Huddy, head gaming scientist for AMD, says that HairWorks and other Nvidia elements in The Witcher 3 “wrecked [the company’s] performance, almost as if it was put in to achieve that goal.”

The game could have run graphical utilities from both Nvidia and AMD. However, according to CD Projekt Red, “it was too late” to put AMD’s own graphics product, Tress FX, into the game. Such a move would have been expensive and labor-intensive.

AMD and Nvidia represent an oligopoly in the market for graphics cards. In such a model, attracting more users sometimes means isolating others.

Follow Rob Shimshock on Twitter @Xylyntial.