AMD Adrenalin Driver is Causing DirectX 9 Games to be Unplayable on PC

AMD brought out a major video driver release to end out 2017, and it's causing a lot of trouble with older PC games. The Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition (17.12) replaces the older Crimson Edition software and brings an updated UI interface, greater support for integrated Radeon ReLive recording features, and a host of bug fixes and added support for graphics APIs FreeSync, and various game fixes.

With the new software is a significant driver update, and in addition to adding the above features, it's had an unintended side effect. Players are reporting issues with many older games, specifically those running on the DirectX 9 API. Command and Conquer 3, Command and Conquer Red Alert 3, Command and Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight, Battle for Middle Earth 1 and 2, and The Witcher Enhanced Edition are among the DirectX 9 titles that have been reported as buggy under the new driver.

The good news with these issues is that it doesn't seem as though all DirectX 9 games are affected. The bad news is that AMD stated in their support forum (concerning the Command and Conquer titles), "This title is from 2007, so we are unlikely to devote any valuable engineering resources to this issue, which is most likely caused by outdated API modules."

AMD has done an excellent job digging itself out of the slump it had been in since the release of the FX-series CPUs and HD 7000-series GPUs. I was excited since I'm still rocking an FX-6300 and an HD 7950 in one of my secondary computers, and even have five years that combination is still great for mid-level gaming. However, with continuing shortages of their new Ryzen CPUs and Vega GPUs, and now not even ensuring compatibility with recently used graphics APIs, it looks like AMD might be setting itself up for a fall.

Considering that popular game releases from as soon as the beginning of 2017 were still using the DirectX9 API, it seems ridiculous that AMD doesn't want to look into this. My advice to anyone with an AMD GPU that intends to continue to enjoy the compatibility that we've come to expect from the PC platform, don't update to any driver dated after 12/12/2017 or later. I sincerely hope that AMD walks this back and investigates the issues players are experiencing. If not, I know plenty of people will be turning to NVIDIA for their next GPU purchases.