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article imagePC gamers outraged as Black Ops III stutters and stalls

By James Walker     Nov 6, 2015 in Entertainment
The next instalment in the hugely-popular Call of Duty first-person shooter series is now available worldwide but has quickly attracted complaints from huge numbers of gamers, including PC users who are finding Black Ops III stutters and jerks.
The triple-A title's Steam rating has quickly plummeted as its listing has become flooded with negative reviews from dissatisfied players. The game is failing to perform at a playable frame rate on anything but the highest hardware, despite publisher Activision claiming it should run without issues on lower-end computers too.
TechPowerUp conducted an investigation which concluded Black Ops III requires 16GB of RAM and a high-end graphics card such as an Nvidia GTX Titan X or GTX 980 Ti to run stably. The RAM appears to be the major factor as the game would crash "as little as 10 seconds into gameplay" if only 8GB was installed, even when using a system with a 980 Ti.
Further investigations concluded the game requires huge amounts of either system memory or video memory to run smoothly. When using 8GB of RAM and a GTX Titan X — a card with 12GB of dedicated video memory — there were no problems, as with using 16GB of RAM and the 6GB GTX 980 Ti. Both configurations result in over 18GB of total memory, compared with only 14GB with the 980 Ti and 8GB of system memory.
Of course, many gamers can't afford components as high-end as this and simply want to play Black Ops III on their computer without any hassle, even if it means lowering the quality settings. Activision says a minimum of 6GB of RAM and a graphics card with 1GB of memory is required but the game is crawling along or crashing completely on systems equipped like this.
Players will be pleased to learn that developer Treyarch acknowledged the issues in a post on Steam yesterday. It said it is working on a fix and has identified an issue that occurs when running on Intel Core i5 processors that could lead to "very low frame rates."
The company is working on a fix but offered some guidance to players in the meantime. People experiencing issues could try changing "WorkerThreads = 4" to "WorkerThreads = 2" in their config.ini file in the game's installation directory or alternatively try setting an FPS cap to just below the monitor's refresh rate. Details can be found in Treyarch's post.
Black Ops III isn't the only PC title to be ruined by low performance this year. Batman: Arkham Knight shipped with similar issues, many of which have not been resolved to date and apparently never will be. Publisher Warner Bros. is now offering refunds to everyone who bought the game. It seems unlikely Activision will have to do the same as it is already working on a fix and no issues were noticed during the beta testing period of Black Ops III, suggesting a bug was introduced in the period between the beta and the final release.
It isn't just PC gamers that are unhappy with Black Ops III though. The game is primarily designed for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 but is also available — with many features disabled — on the older Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, the graphics on the latter consoles leave a lot to be desired, particularly on the Xbox 360.
Quality comparison between Call of Duty Black Ops III on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. [Via Candyland video...
Quality comparison between Call of Duty Black Ops III on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. [Via Candyland video]
Candyland ran side-by-side benchmarks of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One in a video on YouTube. It is to be expected that the Xbox One would have better graphics but the extent of the difference is so significant that the Xbox 360 variant ends up looking like a game from many years ago, almost approaching PlayStation 2 quality when considering colour range.
Additionally, reports are circulating that say the game also has poor performance on the Xbox 360, even with the bare-bones graphics. While the Xbox One breezes along at 1080p and 60fps, the 360 has been observed to have issues sustaining a stable 30fps.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III is available now on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Steam for PC. The latest title in the massive Call of Duty franchise looks set to be another firm favourite this Christmas, as long as Activision quickly works out the bugs that have ruined its launch for many.
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