It's not a good look given that Starfield is one of the most hotly anticipated releases on the PC for an age. But with the game now entering Advanced Access, early adopters with Intel's Arc graphics cards are reportedly suffering widespread issues including plain old crashes, failure to load and catastrophic image corruption.
Intel has issued a tweet acknowledging the problems and promising a fix in time for the game's full launch on September 6th, just a few days away.
Both Nvidia and AMD already have Starfield-optimised drivers available. That fact along with how high profile this game is doesn't make for a good look for Intel. After all, Intel is attempting to break into the highly competitive gaming graphics market and convince gamers to take a risk with its GPUs rather than go with tried and tested Nvidia and AMD hardware.
Arguably, all will be well so long as Intel does have a fix in time for the full launch. Moreover, Intel has certainly made significant strides with its driver quality and performance since Arc graphics cards launched last year.
However, from day one it's been driver quality that's been the problem for Arc. The hardware has always looked decent. That's why it can occasionally shine—when the drivers are working well in a given game, the full power of the hardware is obvious enough.
Intel's next-gen Battlemage GPU architecture is expected to release around next summer and current rumours suggest it could perform on par with an Nvidia RTX 4080. That will only be possible if Intel gets its Arc drivers in order.
By way of example, with the original Alchemist based Arc A770 GPU the early rumours suggested a GPU on par with an RTX 3070 or even RTX 3070 Ti. In the end, the A770 was more in line with an RTX 3060 or 3060 Ti, and often slower even than that. The reason was poor driver quality. The A770 GPU hardware itself very much is comparable with a 3070 and 3070 Ti.
Anyway, here's hoping Intel has a fix very much in hand.