Technical playtests are part and parcel of game development. They allow devs to tweak their game's code and optimize it ahead of launch. This is especially true for multiplayer titles like Battlefield 2042. It's also not uncommon for early testing periods to have performance issues. However, these problems very seldom lean towards the PC side as opposed to consoles.
For the better part of the past two decades, PCs have grossly outperformed consoles in terms of gaming performance.
This is why the reports of Battlefield 2042 running so much better on the Xbox Series X when compared to the PC are so interesting.
Why is Battlefield 2042 on Xbox Series X outperforming the PC?
Electronic Arts just launched its first-ever technical test for Battlefield 2042. EA invited only "a few thousand participants" for the game's initial test and although the developer has made it clear that it has zero-tolerance for leakers, apparently some credible participants are still choosing to speak about their experience in the test regardless.
In particular, Tom Henderson, a credible Battlefield leaker, claims he is getting reports that Battlefield 2042 is running "much smoother" on the Xbox version.
— Tom Henderson (@_Tom_Henderson_) August 14, 2021
It would have helped if Tom specified which Xbox console he is talking about. Even if it's understandable that the earlier build of Battlefield 2042 runs better on consoles than on the PC, it is more concerning if the Xbox Series S (or worse, the Xbox One and Xbox One X) outperforms PCs.
Of course, as we've already said, the technical test isn't using the final version of Battlefield 2042. One plausible explanation for Battlefield 2042's performance issues on PC could be the lack of driver support. AMD, in particular, is notorious for taking its time in releasing driver updates for new games.
Because Battlefield 2042 is an unreleased game, Nvidia and AMD might not have rolled out official graphics card driver updates yet. Speaking of Nvidia, Battlefield 2042 will reportedly support both NVIDIA DLSS and NVIDIA Reflex on the PC at launch.
If you're wondering why there has been no mention of Battlefield 2042's performance on the PlayStation 5 yet, that's because just before the technical test started, EA announced that it had to postpone the testing schedule for PlayStation consoles. This makes it impossible to confirm if the PlayStation 4 and 5 versions of Battlefield 2042 also run better when compared to the PC version.
Ultimately, this isn't yet indicative of a significant issue with Battlefield 2042. If nothing else, the unusual performance disparity between Xbox consoles and PC only proves the importance of technical tests.
In case you're wondering if there are more tests coming, EA has confirmed that it has an open beta scheduled for September. There is also the rumored PlayStation-exclusive early playtest for Call of Duty: Vanguard scheduled for the week last of August.