What you need to know
- Starfield early access for premium edition owners began on September 1.
- For those playing with Intel Arc graphics, there were issues, acknowledged by the company.
- The first driver update is now available with important fixes specifically for Starfield.
It's tough being an underdog sometimes, but Intel is certainly working hard on its Arc graphics products to make them as good as possible. But things always slip through the cracks, and in this case, it was Starfield, one of the biggest releases of 2023.
Intel acknowledged before the weekend that Intel Arc users were not having a good time in Starfield, and initially promised fixes by the time general release came around.
Fortunately for those who spent extra on early access, the Intel boffins have worked extra hard and the first driver update is now available.
We've just posted a new driver for Intel Arc graphics users playing @StarfieldGame. This update addresses many functionality issues, including extended load times.The driver engineering team is still hard at work on further stability and performance improvements, but we want to… https://t.co/mZ2P8OZ2ODSeptember 3, 2023
And as confirmed by Intel's Ryan Shrout, there are more updates in the pipeline this week. As a reminder, Starfield becomes available to all, including Xbox Game Pass players, on Wednesday, September 6.
Still work to do for Arc with Starfield, but the SW team worked hard to get the community a driver that addresses a lot of the key functionality concerns. More updates coming this week!! https://t.co/RuwFHcZNjySeptember 3, 2023
The new driver you're looking for is version 126.96.36.19972 and should be available through Arc Control on your PC. If not, you can grab the driver directly from Intel's website.
Here's exactly what's in it for you:
- Graphics Driver package has temporarily increased to significantly reduce the Starfield game load duration.
- Several Starfield game instability and visual artifacts have been fixed in this driver. High Preset and below is recommended to improve stability.
- Efforts in progress to further improve overall gaming experience of Starfield for Intel Arc users in future driver updates.
The latest driver also contains support for upcoming free-to-play, co-op shooter, SYNCED, which launches on September 8.
As an Intel Arc gamer myself, I'm both impressed and a little disappointed once again. This stuff is hard, and I truly appreciate the speed at which Intel works and the sheer volume of impressive updates Arc has seen since its launch last year. But on a personal level, it's the second big title in recent months to have been completely broken on Intel graphics at launch.
I had to cancel plans to review Remnant 2 because it was basically unplayable on Intel graphics. Fixes came quickly, but still. I'd been toying with buying the premium upgrade for the Game Pass edition of Starfield to play early, but now I'm glad I didn't. Hopefully, those who did, can now start to enjoy their game.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine