PC launch of GTA:IV plagued with performance issues

Today marks the long awaited launch of Grand Theft Auto 4 on the PC platform. The game was initially announced as a mid-November launch but was then delayed until today, December 2nd. Grand Theft Auto 4 has been available for consoles for quite some time now and PC gamers have waited patiently for their turn to play the game.

Unfortunately, the launch has been met with some intense criticism. Firstly, those who ordered the game through Direct2Drive or the Steam digital distribution platform were disappointed to hear that there was no pre-loading option available. When GTA:IV became available on these platforms, users discovered that the download size of the game was approximately 15GB, and thus they had to wait (or are still waiting) anywhere from an additional 15+ hours to play the game.

Furthermore, recent announcements revealed that GTA:IV was to ship for PC with the SecuROM anti-piracy system. This meant that end users were to have the "one-copy per Windows PC" rule enforced via the SecuROM software, which will 'lockdown' if two or more components are changed on the computer. For users who upgrade their computers often, this may prove troublesome. Additionally, GTA:IV also requires online activation.

As if this all weren't enough to plague the GTA:IV launch, users who finally had access to the game (either boxed version, or downloaded) report that the performance is simply abysmal. Users on the GTAForums are reporting issues such as 'low-fps, horrendous looking shadows, and game crashes'. Many users on the forum are wondering why the release of the game was even delayed since the end-result seems like nothing more than a botched port-version rather than a version optimized for PC play. While the system requirements for this game were demanding, according to many reports even users who meet or exceed the recommended requirements are falling victim to these performance issues.

There has been no official recognition from Rockstar as of yet regarding these issues, nor has their been any patches released by either AMD or nVidia. It remains to be seen if the game is 'running as intended' or if there are serious underlying issues at play.

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The curse of GTA III for the PC strikes for a second time.
it's the curse! beware of the curse!! ahhhHHHH.

maybe they should have actually optimized it, instead of just writing the word on the case.

There is no performance issue, it's not even a CPU issue. I have an AMDFX-62 Dual Core running @ 2.8ghz.
4gig of 800mhz Dual Channel DDR and with 2 x 8800GTS (640mb) in SLi I was getting crappy performance. I couldn't get above medium quality textures and received the same performance regardless of resolution. The reason I couldn't run the higher quality textures is that Rockstar went ABOVE and BEYOND most games and included very high quality (and thereby requiring 18gig) textures. Only those with at least 1G of VRAM on their graphics card will be able to realize the intended quality of this game.

I bought 2 new 280 with 1G each. I put in 1 and was playing with FULL quality textures at 2560 x 1600 without issue. I didn't upgrade my CPU at all, and where there is room for improvement (benchmark says I'm hitting about 96% CPU) it really only took a new video card.

Go bite the bullet, this ain't yo grammamma's GTA.

Check out the benchmarks and screenshots on my site. I'll post more once I add in the second card in SLi.

My only complaint is that I did see some low quality shadowing. It looks like they didn't use any transparency and went for a particle-effect shadow. It's dynamic and warmer and looks ok while driving but doesn't look right up when you're looking at it standing still.

THAT IS RIDICULOUS!
You needed to go out and buy 2x GF280 in order to play the game!!!
I'll NEVER upgrade in regards of a game that asks WAY TOO MUCH.
I'll go out and buy an xBox or a PS3 WAY BEFORE I upgrade for 2 videocards...
Man you're full of cash dude... buying 2 MONTROUS videocards which value is equal to at least 2 xBox... OUCH. The game does not worth THIS MOVE.

So RockStar have put 18 gigs of textures... I believe you. What I can't believe, is HOW IDIOTS THEY ARE.
C'MON... I don't freaking care if I can see "cracks in the pavement" and "hair on one's body" in the game!!!!!!! I just wanna friggin play!
They gotta release lower res. textures now so we can play a bit better...
They should release a "MOD CD" that will replace the original textures to lower quality textures.
I'm not even playing higher that 1280 and I don't really care playing 1024. My screen isn't a 37", I am NOT RICH.

Well, let's see my computer:
Q9550, 4Gb DDR3 (PC11600), HD4870 1GB, 10K Raptor, SB X-fi Titanium, Gateway HD 1920*1200 monitor on Vista Ultimate x64.

The game runs AWFUL!!
There is LAG / lack of smoothness with any settings. I'm running at resolution 1024*768 with medium and even low settings and it still lacks any fluid game-play. How about the "ZLIB20" crash to desktop error ? No fix, well unless you want to have to reinstall the game every time you try to run it.

Nice one Rockstar, last time you got a hard earned penny from me.

Hey J400uk!!
I just received a reply from RockStar... 72 hours later... (I was told to expect 24 hours... this shows they have a LOT of people complaining...)
Well, in my initial eMail, I complained about the error code MMN10 I was getting trying to get into the game logged onto the Social Club network... And then I complained about the poor performances I was getting...

Some technician named "Hayley" answered me that the "MMN10 server problem" has been fixed... and she totally IGNORED my performances issue!!! She NEVER talked about it.
She answered me in 2 lines that the server error was fixed, and then she gave me the instructions to save a log file from "DxDiag" and to sent it to her if I had anymore troubles...

R* sux. I HIGHLY HOPE they will release something to fix the performance BUG.
They'Re ****ing me off big time.

You might want to do more research before making statements where you sound like you know what you are talking about. The game does NOT require and internet connection to activate and does NOT have a limit of one activation per PC. And to comment on its' performance based on the comments of a few people on a forum (who in most cases either don't have the proper system specs or resolve their issue AFTER griping publicly but don't come back and update their mistake) is just irresponsible.

I remember GTAIII being dog slow on PC.

Played the game a bit last night, does seem buggy and crashed on me twice.

Is anyone else having a problem where the game freezes for a split second if you tap left or right?

TO: J400uk -> Hey... I feel the SAME. I feel I got ripped BIG TIME. They are jerks (R*)
TO: morphen: maybe the other releases had issues, but at least they played well and decently...

I went out from stores to stores to find a copy of the game that I bought 60$CAN to find that the game takes 45ish minutes to install... then it needs to be activated, then you need to login here and there... but the game CRASHED on the first and every other launches... wi th the error MMN40... I've found out that this error was related to the SERVERS being overloaded... HOORAY FOR R* FOR NOT HAVING FORSEEN THIS...
Then... I found out I could play the game if I was OFFLINE on "R* Social Club"...

The game launched... but it took a little while and got me more anxious... then I got to the menu (which is totally BAD and UGLY...)
I started setting up my game.. my controls (it wouldn't allow me to use the KeyPad "ENTER"... I use the KEYPAD in EVERY SINGLE GAME and this one is acting like a jerk to me)...
Anyways. I got the game setted up... started a new game... the intro is cool but you feel the 3D graphics aren't that "smooth"... then you get to drive the car to the "Taxi Headquarter"... the car handling is PRETTY LAME... too sensitive... and the game DOESN'T RUN SMOOTH AT ALL.

Like J400uk, I tried to lower the game to the minimum I could (which is RIDICULOUSLY LOW) and the game weren't running that much better...
The shadows... instead of being "blurry" and "shapy" were kind of "meshy"... like if you were playing in 16 bits instead of 32 bits...
My computer can handle ANY games on the market right now:
Far Cry 2... Assassin's Creed... Call of Duty 4 & 5... Tomb Raider Underworld... F.E.A.R.... Fallout 3... Crysis+Crysis Warhead...
I play ALL these above games in HIGH DETAILS, in 1024x768 (on a 17in screen), and they run SMOOTH AS SILK.
Now GTA IV won't even let me run the game smothly in 800x600, LOW Textture details and LOW Rendering quality... and 0 in any of the other categories (draw distance, car density... etc...)
I have AMD 4600+ (2.4GHz) with 2Gb DDR800 and an nVidia GF 8800GT OC2 512Mb. It's nothing to blow my head off, but it's perfect for playing any games that got released up to now.
(BTW, I COULDN'T EVEN get the texture quality to HIGH/VERY HIGH (if exists) combined with a draw distance higher than 4 out of 100!!! That's ridiculous...)

So, people are getting RIPPED buying this game.
The game is well done, there is a LOT of cool things you can do in it (a buddy of mine played it on xBOX 360 and loved it a lot and told me about all the new features).

I am NOT interested in playing this game in the state it is right now. The graphics are POOR, and doesn't run smooth.
I an really sad and mad about RockStar... I feel that the game won't ever run FINE and with nice graphics... I've lost my 60$ and won't be able to play that game I've been waiting for MONTHS...

I wrote an eMail to RockStar telling them how I felt about this and I'll see what they have to say... if any patches will be released... or if there will be a re-release of the "fixed" game... or if they could credit/refund me for the game that I won't play at this status...
I was told I would be contacted within 24 hours... but I'm pretty sure they will need 48+ hours to answwr me because I won't be the only one whining about this piece of cr@p release.

Now I an desperate... and I'll head to some other games while this one gets fixed... ORN'T (my funny way to say "or not"! lol...).
Ill let time pass and let time fix things. Maybe I'll survive this 60$ rip, eheheh...

I won't ever buy and probably play anymore RockStar games ever... let's stand in unity against this videogame company that NEVER had their games coded well... since GTA 1 they have problems coding their games, they always have BIG FLAWS here and there.
A game like this shouldn't weight 15 gigs... Far Cry 2 (though it's mainly SAND), is really small compared to GTA IV... Crysis and COD 5 are much smaller (8 gigs) and are NICER that what I was in GTA IV.

***I BEAR WITH EVERYONE WHO GOT RIPPED***

»»Nrv»»

Hey, Nice to know I am not the only one experiencing problems with this. Was just compentating upgrading graphics to a 9800GT 512, but why the hell should I, when my pc more than meets the minimum & reccomended specs. I damn well hope Rockstar get their act together. Would be very interested to see the email they reply you with.
-J400uk

I will come back for sure to post the email they'll have answered.

And btw, HEY, don't get a a computer upgrade for a stupid thing like that.
9800GT 512 is as goot as 8800GT 512... the only difference might be in some of the graphic technologies... but the GPU core speed won't be different, neither the VRAM bus speed.
So you still won't be able to play GTA IV unless R* get their sh!t together...

I work in a computer store, and I often sell computers meant for games, and 8800GT and 9800GT are really good video cards for the quality/price ratio. After 9800GT, you'll end up buying some GF 260 or GF280, and those will cost you around 500$CAN !!!

All the technician I work with were STUNNED by how the game ran BAD... and didn't understood why MY decent machine wouldn't run such a game.
They all hope R* will release a patch, because they HAVE TO, it's theirs to fix now that the sh!t is spread everywhere.

I've gone back to playing San Andreas. Runs like a dream, very silky and smooth, and I have all my custom cars. GTA IV is going back - I can do without the stress.

Good thing I can't buy this on steam yet :O

I'm afraid Rockstar really dropped the ball it seems and the reason looks like built it anti piracy measures.

I have never been so bitterly upset and dissapointed in a long time. Been looking forward to this PC release of the best game series for ages, and pre-ordered right from day one. What I recieved today was a total failure. My PC = Quad Core Q9300, 2gb 1066 and 512 3850 OC.. so it should in theory run quite well. Playing GTA IV on that was so bad that I have now chucked it in the bin.

The installer is nasty, plauged with DRM feutures and I still dont understand why it takes up a whole ****ing 15GB of my damn hard drive. It took another 15 minutes to work out how to open the game, as it kept complaining my DVD was not the original - ****ING *****. I then finally got into GTA and found masses of requests so sign up to various bull **** online accounts of no interest to me, CAN I PLEASE JUST PLAY THE ****ING GAME I HAVE ****ING PAID FOR ?!?!?!? So now at last we get into the game. It benches my PC pretty low - with 23-26 average ratings for the detail medium, low etc. Fair enough, I was expecting better.... BUT my res of 1920 x 1080 is quite high. Playing the game I can't even work the crazy controls at first, and then its just so ridiculous that the thing keeps freezing and locking up, details arent loading etc. So I drop the res to 1280 X 768, which is very low for a 24" monitor, and wind up with the same sloppy performance. Again details arent loading, its very very very slow, it keeps freezing and the shadows are a mess.

Sorry for the rant, it probably dosent make a lot of sense but I'm tired and angry.

EDIT: To summarize this is basicly a very bad-port, and I do not see why its taken so long to come out. How the **** that PoS passed through quality control I have nooo idea. Clearly needs a MAJOR rethink. Seems I'm not the only one with problems..

- J400uk

Well, I'm not sure what res that screenshot is at, but when I max the resolution of my monitor 1680x1050, the shadow edges look terrible, very grainy. I posted screenshots on GTAForums and on Neowin and everyone has told me that's just how the Rage engine is... looks terrible in my opinion.

The shadows definitely look terrible here no matter what settings are used. I'm using a 4870, which might be important as there are rumours that ATi cards have issues (meaning Rockstar designed it poorly).

15+ hours to dl 15gb from fileplanet?? what are your sources for this data? it looks like you just made it up.

Furthermore, recent announcements revealed that GTA:IV was to ship for PC with the SecuROM anti-piracy system. This meant that end users were to have the "one-copy per Windows PC" rule enforced via the SecuROM software, which will 'lockdown' if two or more components are changed on the computer.

I honestly think it's the time for our gouvernments to check the validity and legally of current DRM copy protection. That's becoming more of a joke each day.

LaP said,
I honestly think it's the time for our gouvernments to check the validity and legally of current DRM copy protection. That's becoming more of a joke each day.

Seriously, I think you are right.
You just can't justify that when you buy a game you pretty much screw it up and trash it by upgrading your computer, especially if you look at how fast "required" and "recommended" specs go up. If you don't keep up, you're screwed... If you do, you're screwed, cause your maybe just 1yr old games won't play anymore... come on, that is outright ridiculous!
This CANNOT be just.
If it is, then I cannot support the publishers for screwing the fans.

If I pirate the game, or looking at the facts, maybe WHEN i pirate the game, it will be sad for me to see as a hardcore GTA fan from the early days, that actually pirating brings less trouble than buying. As long as DRM keeps up such standards, one cannot justify DRM.

Thank you Rockstar, for totally screwing my GTA IV pleasure!

Glassed Silver:win

GTA4 can be installed on an unlimited number of systems, unlike games like Crysis Warhead or Spore. It merely requires an online activation the first time you run it, which really isn't a big deal (especially if you're buying over something like Steam).

theyarecomingforyou said,
GTA4 can be installed on an unlimited number of systems, unlike games like Crysis Warhead or Spore. It merely requires an online activation the first time you run it, which really isn't a big deal (especially if you're buying over something like Steam).

Yeah, the way GTA4 does it is perfectly fine. It's games like Crysis Warhead, Spore and even Red Alert 3, your basically only allowed to install the game a set amount of times and then you have to buy another copy! I'm sure EA loves it, means more money for them (on paper) but at the same time it really rubs the customers the wrong way (myself included) and will ultimate result in reduced profits as customers pirate to get around this DRM stupidity...(which annoyingly causes companies to step up the anti-piracy measures to prevent further piracy - will they ever learn it's actually the DRM that is driving away their customers?)

Come on, at the end of the day Rockstar's primary goal is to maximise company profits. They claimed the PC version has additional features, which adds to the hype preceeding a big release. They released it just before Christmas, which also has a positive effect on the number of copies bought. Since this series has a cult following, die-hard fans will do whatever is necessary to enjoy their experience. I know I'll be upgrading to an XFX GTX 280 XXX as soon as I've put the cash together and won't even look at buying GTA4 until my rig is ready.

People are always complaining. I'm stoked I can finally enjoy Liberty City in next-gen bliss. ATI and Nvidia will eventually release optimised drivers and so will Rockstar. Until then, if you're that desperate to play it just tweak and tweak. I played it a bit on my brother's 360 and at times the frame rate must have dipped below 15FPS during action-intensive scenes. It's bound to happen on the PC too.

15gb install size?...who cares. It amazes me that people are still bitching about install sizes when HD space is cheap to come by. And I dont want to hear "well I have a SDD and space is expensive" If you bought an expensive SDD and it wasnt big enough, that is ur fault, not Rockstars.

i just think you're all being dumbasses, it works fine on my PC (8800GT, Athlon X2 @ 3Ghz, 3GB RAM, Vista x86)

its NOT a port, if it was it would have come out months ago

securom is used for the initial online activation, and apart from having the DVD in the drive, you CAN install this on any number of machines, just remember to have the DVD in the drive of the one you want to play it on. After online activation, Securom is removed, and rockstar will be releasing details on how to completely remove all traces of it in the coming weeks. It is NOT required going forward, only for initial activation.

the reason its 15GB and FarCry2 was 3GB is that Far Cry 2 is based in Africa where lets face it, a tree is a tree, and desert is the desert, textures are small, and are re-used often.

PC version of GTA4 has improved textures (much higher res) and a fully rendered 3D city with the ability to run all of this at insanely high resolutions and qualities.

IF the PS3 or XBOX360 were anywhere near as powerful as some high end PCs (not mine) then the game would also be 15GB for those platforms.

use your heads guys, this isn't rocket science, its 2008, i have over 1TB of space (1TB drive £69.99), and quite frnakly, i want my games to get bigger, with more content and higher res textures. I also only paid £24.99 for this, whereas my mate paid £40 for the PS3 version.

If you DON'T want this, then the answer is simple, buy an XBOX or PS3 and shut up.

About your last comment, well, first of all not many people have that amount of money to shove away on just a new harddrive. And about buying a PS3 or Xbox 360, that would cost about the same amount as buying a 1TB hard drive, so why don't you shut up.

On the textures and file size, the least they could've done was compress the textures a little bit. Textures do not need to be so goddamn huge that if you zoom in x20 you can still see details.

And 95% of the problem people have with this 15 GB filesize, is if they chose to download via Steam or Direct2Drive, it would take days, weeks, and months for some to download it all.

You need to read the article before commenting and shut up.

The lack of a preload option was a bad decision, but the least they could have done was compress the game's data files. They truly expected the average gamer to wait for 15GB file to download? What were they thinking? Also, the release seemed kind of rushed to shut the PC customers up. What a mess.

Firstly, wats preloading?

On the other hand, the ga,e is a port, meaning they modified the xbox version a little bit with no big testing. they haven't worked on the pc version for the past 7 months coz the crap they are selling to pc gamers doesnt show its a final and stable port.

Its when u can use things like steam and D2D and download the game have it ready to play and when its released all u have to do is register it and it plays... Thats pretty much it in a nut shell..

Preloading is when you can purchase a game well before it's release date on Steam. Many games are sold this way. When you purchase a game before it's release date, it is locked and can not be played until it is offically released in which the Steam application will automatically unlock the game ready for you to play it.

and they wonder why people pirate PC games... I have brought every C&C game that i have seen on the shelf... Yet i refuse to support RA3 due to its DRM issues...

This stuff rockstar are doing is just stupid IMO... Its like the RA launch... The server it connected to before the game loaded was getting flooded with requests and caused some loads to take upto 20min... They patches this but its just like wtf mate......

I loved GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas and only played them on the PC. The state of this release is a severe letdown. My system would struggle at medium quality on GTA 4, yet I have top quality settings in every other game.

How did this happen? Isn't it relatively simple to convert Xbox games to the PC platform? This whole situation mystifies me.

Farcry2 was boring and tiresome. To me rockstar has dropped the ball when it comes to the pc and dont seem to care.

rockstar u suck.. and 15GB is abusing... ****ty coding... almost all the gaming companies does this lately... what's in this 15GB pack to justify the huge amount? 3000x3000 textures or something? take a look at farcry2... now that's an exemplary game to how good the coding can be... it's only 3.1GB and runs smooth as silk... and when it comes to exploring.. that's a huge virtual world! and 'stonestar' promised an enhanced version of this game for the PC but i'm afraid it's just a crappy console port! plus.. securom?? are u kidding me?? when are these companies come to their senses and realize that these anti-piracy systems are useless?? you can't stop it... it's a lost battle from the start... search the torrent sites for GTA4... i dare you... it only screws up the honest people! i mean if you really like the game and want to play online and stuff... you are going to buy it for sure... so 'stonestar' you pretty much let the PC fans down!!

dpcdpc11 said,
rockstar u suck.. and 15GB is abusing... ****ty coding... almost all the gaming companies does this lately... what's in this 15GB pack to justify the huge amount? 3000x3000 textures or something? take a look at farcry2... now that's an exemplary game to how good the coding can be... it's only 3.1GB and runs smooth as silk... and when it comes to exploring.. that's a huge virtual world! and 'stonestar' promised an enhanced version of this game for the PC but i'm afraid it's just a crappy console port! plus.. securom?? are u kidding me?? when are these companies come to their senses and realize that these anti-piracy systems are useless?? you can't stop it... it's a lost battle from the start... search the torrent sites for GTA4... i dare you... it only screws up the honest people! i mean if you really like the game and want to play online and stuff... you are going to buy it for sure... so 'stonestar' you pretty much let the PC fans down!!

It can't be coding - this has nothing to do with download size - it would take a unfeasibly long time to write code that fills a few GB when compiled (it couldn't be done in the time that RS have taken to develop this), it'll be large textures and other media, which will be understandably large as the PC supports such high resolutions. Compiled code alone is never that big in terms of the space it takes up on a disk, even in complex modern games.

As for anti-piracy - I think PC gamers have caused this themselves by pirating loads (I know a few PC gamers and they are all guilty, some buy legit occasionally but all pirate).

I must admit the file size did surprise me. I count myself lucky to have a fast internet connection. I only had to wait 4 hours to fully download the game. However, I've yet to try it and I'm beginning to regret having bought the game. I've read countless accounts of the game performing poorly. It makes me wonder why such a prestigious game developer like Rockstar North would release a game plagued with performance issues.

It's been 7 months since the release of GTA IV on the PS3 and Xbox 360. What has Rockstar North done all that time?

Anaron said,
I must admit the file size did surprise me. I count myself lucky to have a fast internet connection. I only had to wait 4 hours to fully download the game. However, I've yet to try it and I'm beginning to regret having bought the game. I've read countless accounts of the game performing poorly. It makes me wonder why such a prestigious game developer like Rockstar North would release a game plagued with performance issues.

It's been 7 months since the release of GTA IV on the PS3 and Xbox 360. What has Rockstar North done all that time? :(

Party like a rockstar, party like a rockstar! thats what they have been doin

Anaron said,
It's been 7 months since the release of GTA IV on the PS3 and Xbox 360. What has Rockstar North done all that time?(

GTAIII, VC, and SA all had to wait 12 months from console to PC. This wait is not unheard of. However, those three actually performed when they were released.