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Electronic Arts last night revealed FIFA 15, running on the Ignite engine for the first time on current-gen consoles as well as the PC platform (yes, I didn’t know this at the time and called it wrong). The requirements for the PC have been published and I can see why EA Sports last year said that the PC platform “wasn’t in a position to run the game acceptably on the low-end.” It seems like the company wanted to wait for the bigger hitters on the market to land with high minimum requirements first before they tried to launch the Ignite engine on PC and now I see why.

EA says that FIFA 15 on the PC will have the same core features and graphical fidelity of the consoles, which means that if you want the same experience as the PS4 and Xbox One, you need to be running on hardware capable of keeping the game happy at 1080p and 60 frames per second. Check out the minimum requirements to see what EA defines as “low-end.”

Recommended Specifications:

  • OS: Windows Vista/7/8/8.1 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel i5-2550K @ 3.4Ghz
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Hard Drive Space Required: 15.0 GB
  • Recommended Video Cards: ATI Radeon HD 6870, NVIDIA GTX 460 or better
  • DirectX: 11.0

Minimum Required Specifications:

  • OS: Windows Vista/7/8/8.1 -64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Q6600 Core2 Quad @ 2.4Ghz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Hard Drive Space Required: 15.0 GB
  • Minimum Recommended Video Cards: ATI Radeon HD 5770, NVIDIA GTX 650 or better
  • DirectX: 11.0

This leads me to believe that not only is Ignite very similar under the hood to the Frostbite 3.0 engine, it’s also just as demanding on lower-end hardware as Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. The minimum required hardware is pretty basic – a quad-core processor and a video card costing around R1500 will run the game just fine. So long as the processor has four threads and is faster than the Q6600, that is. Actually, it’s pretty easy to find second-hand Core 2 Quad systems in good condition these days, so meeting the minimum requirements isn’t difficult at all. Even a Sandy Bridge Core i3 is more than enough.

Not surprisingly, having a 64-bit OS that isn’t Windows XP is a must and you need at least 4GB of RAM to play the game. I hope that EA Sports avoids the fiasco that accompanied Call of Duty: Ghosts, where the game didn’t launch if you didn’t have 6GB of RAM, even though it uses much less than that. With the graphical bar set with a Radeon HD5770 or a Geforce GTX650, this means that AMD’s Kaveri quad-core APUs will be able to play it nicely at 1080p 30fps and there’ll also be enough horsepower from Intel’s Iris Pro graphics as well, even though that platform is very expensive.

I’m not sure Intel HD4600 graphics will be enough for the game but perhaps lowering the settings and dropping to 720p will make it playable for anyone getting this for their Intel-based laptop. That means that any of the Richland or Trinity APUs from AMD will also need to drop to 720p, which isn’t a train smash. FIFA has always been playable on a wide range of systems, you just need to meet the OS and memory requirements.

Moving forward for the PC, though…

If a sports game in 2014 requires, at the very least, a quad-core processor, then I can firmly say that only overclockable dual-core processors will be “good” for gaming in the forseeable future. These new games are developed on PC and then ported to the current-gen consoles, yes, but the fact remains that the developers are now using the extra threads on the PC platform like people expected them to when quad-core processors first appeared on the market in 2008.

If you’re gaming on a dual-core processor, you’ll need a GPU that is beefy enough to take most of the workload as you increase the resolution and graphical fidelity. And even that won’t be a very efficient setup moving into late 2014 and 2015 games.

Raising the bar for hardware will be a long and arduous task, though. Many people won’t see the need to upgrade their rigs for newer games and instead shoot for less-demanding titles or even indie games. With those people still being on the Steam and Origin clients and participating in the hardware surveys, that will skew the results developers are looking to when they see if core count has improved significantly among gamers in the last seven years.

While computing workloads haven’t significantly hindered performance on the PC platform to spur people to upgrade in droves, there’s certainly something to be said for how the gaming industry is able to make people upgrade just so they can play the latest Call of Duty or whatever new MOBA is out and becoming popular.

Source: EA Sports blog

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