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In brief: Starfield players using Nvidia graphics cards should experience significantly improved performance, whether or not they enable the game's new official DLSS mode. Bethesda has also introduced several other highly requested features to address the game's somewhat controversial launch, though more improvements are still needed.
This week, Bethesda released what might be Starfield's most significant patch to date. It includes numerous features that many players argue should have been available at the game's initial release in September.
The most noteworthy addition is DLSS upscaling and frame generation for Nvidia RTX GPUs. Its initial omission was one of the most controversial aspects of Starfield's launch. Because AMD sponsored the game, this led to accusations that Team Red encourages the developers it cooperates with to forego its rival's upscaling technology.
Starfield's initial graphics benchmarks further fueled suspicion towards AMD because they helped Bethesda optimize the game for PC and Xbox. In September, Starfield GPU comparisons showed Nvidia cards significantly underperforming compared to AMD hardware. Reports indicate the latest update, which initially rolled out in beta, greatly narrows the gap independent of upscaling. Additionally, AMD CPUs are now utilized more efficiently.
Other notable late additions include a FOV slider, 32:9 ultrawide support, and HDR calibration. However, Starfield's HDR does not work on Windows 10, likely due to its reliance on Windows 11's Auto HDR.
Predictably, the mod community quickly created DIY solutions for these missing features post-launch. However, the new patch means less modding is required for what many consider essential functionality. Still, Windows 10 users will probably need to visit Nexus Mods for HDR. Bethesda plans to introduce official mod support next year through the network it uses for Skyrim and Fallout 4 mods on PC and console.
Last but not least, the Starfield update adds a button for players to immediately eat food as they encounter it for a minor health boost, a small addition that could save a significant amount of time. Eating previously required picking up food, navigating to it in the inventory screen, and then selecting it.
Starfield is Bethesda's biggest-ever launch, with six million players, though Steam stats indicate enthusiasm could be cooling. The game's concurrent player count has fallen below Skyrim, and its current Steam review rating is mixed, making it Bethesda's worst-reviewed game on the store, with the exception of Fallout 4 VR.
Yet, Starfield maintains a stronger position among non-Steam users. It is currently the most-played Xbox game, excluding perennial favorites like Madden, Roblox, Call of Duty, NBA 2K, and Minecraft, and it's the most popular PC game in the Xbox catalog.
Bethesda has plans for at least one expansion for Starfield but has yet to share specifics about the content or release date.