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.