Reader Submission #119 – Please Sign Up for Groove Music

getphoto1-ashxThe launch of the very first fully-featured Forza Motorsport title on Windows-based operating systems hasn’t exactly gone to plan. Widespread reports of massive stuttering issues and other technical gremlins have surprisingly lead to a situation where the best possible Forza experience can be found on vastly inferior hardware. To close out the weekend here on, Alex K. has sent in a Reader Submission detailing his time spent cruising around the virtual rendition of Australia’s Gold Coast; a piece which indicates the ladies and gentlemen of Turn 10 Studios have made some phenomenally poor decisions in the months leading up to release. Incompatibility with a common PC steering wheel, as well as an intrusive push for users to check out Microsoft’s answer to iTunes are just some of the reasons Forza Horizon 3 feels extremely misguided.

kl2l8nbHey guys, I’m just writing in to let you know I’ve made a huge mistake. I didn’t listen to the articles discussing the performance issues found in the PC version of Forza Horizon 3, and I went out and bought the game regardless. I’m a humble simpleton when it comes to sim racing; I don’t own a multiple input wheel but rather a stock G27. I assumed that considering Forza 6: Apex supported Logitech’s jack-of-all-trades wheel, Horizon 3 would as well. Boy was I wrong.

Although the game claims to support the G27, it doesn’t recognize it on PC at launch. For anybody. On any configuration. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s a hilariously ridiculous situation. Anyways, I discovered that little “known issue” after I’d already bought the game. So I figured I’d suffer through it until the patch was released. Unfortunately, it’s now been two weeks, and we still don’t have a patch. In fact, no word has been said about any patch being in the works, or what it will allegedly fix. The only thing that popped up is a Windows 10 update that fixes the download issues people were having with the Microsoft store.

Now I’m a patient guy, so I’ll wait. I continued to plug through the game without any real force feedback, and I’d like to say that the game’s physics on simulation mode are actually quite fun. But Horizon 3 suffers from serious continuity and flow issues. For instance, if you’re competing in a multi-race championship, the game will randomly drag you across the map to an unrelated showcase event held at one of the festival sites, yet because I raced a random AI driver on the way there – a casual occurrence in the game – suddenly I don’t have to go to the festival site anymore. The game can’t make up its mind when it comes to laying out the road ahead. There is just too much going on and it pulls me in far too many directions. And only after I visited the festival site it originally dragged me to did the game suggest for me to finish my championship first.

But then, and this is the kicker, Microsoft decided it was a good idea to push it’s new Groove Music Service on me. I’ve never even heard of this shit before. Apparently it’s a re-branded Xbox music service. Which is fine if they want to go that route, but quite frankly I’m not interested. So the game offers me a 14-day free trial of Groove, or to outright decline. Really? This is what it has come to now? A push of a failing service inside of a game? Obviously I say no, but then the in-game music service stops working. The car sounds and speech and all that work, but now I have no music – some of which I actually liked.

I was even willing to let it go; I’ll just fire up my own music in the background, and it’ll be fine, right? Wrong! Now you’ve got this huge annoying text in the middle of the screen telling you there is a Groove playback issue. And it doesn’t go away, it just sits there, mocking you and your purchase, like you’re some kind of chump for buying their ad of a game.

What. The. Fuck. Are they for real? Who coded this? A teenager on a weekend or a professional studio? I’m not sure anymore. At that point I rage quit and immediately contacted Microsoft for a refund. I own a lot of broken games, such as Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, and No Man’s Sky, because I’ve managed to find something enjoyable in those titles. But this game is something else; the push of their failing Groove service on me was the last straw.

forza-horizon-3-experience-billboard-locationsThis reminds me of the time Microsoft was going all-out in their shilling of the Zune, which as you may remember failed especially hard. I don’t really understand why Microsoft believes it’s a smart idea to enter into markets with established powerhouses already; do they really think they’ll dethrone iTunes? Probably not. On the other hand, it’s cool they’re trying shit like cross-platform online play; I booted up Horizon 3 at my buddy’s house on his Xbox One, and we were able to enter a session with our boy Sev on his PC and run a race or two – though I’m not exactly sold on the netcode or overall gameplay experience.

Unfortunately, the whole Groove music thing can be chalked up to Microsoft being Microsoft, and in a few years people will look back on Horizon 3 and be like “oh God that’s the game that was pretty fun aside from the Groove thing Microsoft cancelled six months after launch and shit up all the menus.”

The lack of G27 support is pretty sad. I’m not here to make excuses, but when Kunos or Slightly Mad Studios have these kinds of problems at launch, at least you sort of expect it and can make bets with your friends on the exact kind of glitches you’ll come across. For a huge developer such as Turn 10 shipping a game in this state – from the framerate problems to the most common PC wheel not working – that’s just bizarre. I don’t know how you give the thumbs up to put this thing on store shelves, because with how many G27’s are floating around, a lot of people are gonna find out in a hurry that corners were being cut behind the scenes.

It’s a shame to hear all this stuff about Horizon 3, because I really liked the original and thought it was one of the best racing games ever. Heavily commercializing it with things that most users won’t care for, and failing to catch bugs that directly affect people’s enjoyment of the product is definitely not the way to maintain a positive relationship with your customers.


37 thoughts on “Reader Submission #119 – Please Sign Up for Groove Music

  1. Are Microsoft deliberately killing off Windows as a gaming platform? With the work Gabe Newell did in porting Doom to Windows 95 to prove that it was a viable gaming platform over DOS, it feels as though they just don’ give a shit any more.


    1. Well, I’m the one who submitted the email and I know pretty well how computers work, or at least how software works and Groove service has nothing to do with “how computers work”. James edited some parts of my original email, which is fine, as English isn’t my first language and I don’t write for a living. What was lost in “translation” is that after declining Groove, all the regular, local ingame music stopped working and I was left with a big text across the screen saying “playback error”. Quick Google search didn’t result in any meaningful resolutions, just more people with the same issue.
      Now, if you don’t experience these issues, good for you, but are you really so shallow, self centered and elitist that you can not comprehend that other people with different configuration than yourself could have issues that are unacceptable? And is knowing what Groove is or how it works was a prerequisite to owning the game? Didn’t think so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nah that was not lost in translation at all. Hobo simply chose not to comprehend that part.

        Dismissing the service offer and losing the in-game music without warning is a problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. psst
        did you try
        pressing dpad left and right to change stations
        and not the radio off option or groove, an actual different station, like timeless for the mad dj and mad tunes


  2. Microsoft has already said they are adding support for more wheels including the g27 very soon in the first patch.

    The game has like 6 great radio stations and groove is an option.. A really good option unless 10 bucks for any song ever is too expensive

    I got a solid 60 fps on a 290x with medium settings. I just bought a gtx 1080 and now I get 60 on Ultra no matter what and I can play 4K without issue

    An i5 is not going to cut it anymore you need something with multi-threading, new APIs require CPUs to be beefy.

    This is an open world game which means your GPU also needs lots of fast memory and it needs to have solid DirectX 12 support. Sometimes Games come out and you actually need to upgrade this is one of those times. This came as an indicator that it’s time to upgrade because games are only going to be demanding on your Hardware so stop complaining an upgrade because all those pieces you been playing are ugly shit the graphics are terrible they don’t require powerful PCSl, this does. So will a lot more games going forward


    1. Nah, the game is a performance abomination which leaks memory all over the place. It really is just abysmally ported. The longer I play the game in one sitting, the worse FPS I get and when I check the performance window of the task manager it shows that all my RAM is used up, but when I go back to processes only a couple GB out of my 16GB are used up.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Also, The Witcher 3 (which looks even better than Horizon 3) runs at a steady 40-50FPs at 1440p/Max details for me, Horizon 3 barely runs at 30fps and regularly dips below that as well. If this is not a sign for horrible optimization, then I don’t know what.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You realize that a single car model in forza has more polygons and advanced effects on it than the ENTIRE screen in Witcher 3 right? Witcher 3 also isn’t running a 300hz physics simulation.

        Get a better pc its that simple. If I can run it at 4k ultra 60fps on a gtx 1080 and 1440p medium on a 290x all stutter free the issue is YOUR HARDWARE not the game.


        1. Okay now I know you’re a troll, no one can talk this much bullshit 😀 You do realize physics is handled entirely by the CPU and has nothing to do with graphics, yes?


    3. “An i5 is not going to cut it anymore you need something with multi-threading, new APIs require CPUs to be beefy.”

      That whole sentence ranges from stupid to plain wrong.
      An i5 with higher clock speeds is better in 99.9% of games;
      you might want to google what multi-threading means;
      it is actually the other way around with dx12 needing way less processing power cpu-wise because of its smaller overhead.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Correct.

        In addition, he has a Pascal and thinks it offers robust >FL11 dx12 support. Clearly misinformed.

        I try to ignore him, almost every comment has ridiculous nonsense hidden under a very thin veil of knowledge.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am a gamer and I do own all the consoles. I also own a gaming PC

          i7 5820k @ 4.8ghz custom liquid cooling. That’s 6 cores, 12 threads for you smart folk.

          32 gigs ddr4 w/custom water blocks

          Nvidia gtx 1080 with custom water block and 3d printed back-plate.

          2 Intel PCIE SSD’s, one for the OS one for games and 2 SATA 3 WDBlack 4TB storage drives and 1 Samsung pcie m2 ssd.

          HTC vive
          Oculus DK2

          Those are nice when I sit in my FORZA pro seat evolution leather racing chair but I use a bagel as a wheel and your wife’s tits as my gas and brake so it’s only half done. Gotta replace the chubbers wife.

          I know I know that’s pretty weak for a gaming PC but I can only make so much more money per day.

          All hooked up to a 70 inch 4k hdr TV and 1500 watt Denon Dolby Atmos surround setup

          But I own consoles…so I must be stupid! Oh consoles the horror.

          You people are pretty sad but it’s highly entertaining.

          I am the best resource this site has for inside information and technical expertise but because I think forza is fun…free to

          I was with some developers the other day showing them comments you people here make. You should be proud, you made it onto the fridge of idiocy. Some of you are even being watched by a bot grabbing your comments just to make fun of later.


      2. Uh no backwards. Dx12 spreads CPU use across as many cores as possible with core 1 directing which core gets what task. More cores and note threads means better performance.

        You go on believing that i5 is good…keep at it because the more dx13 and vulkan games that come out that push the envelope the less games you will be running at good settings.

        What would I know…I only have a computer science degree and have worked in hardware engineering, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics…but I defer to you sir

        Hey! How bouts you just go read how these new APIs work? All the evidence to support my claim is easily found on google but why research when you can insult people …


    1. Have you unlocked at least the 3rd festival location yet? When you do so it’ll ask you what radio you want to sign next as a sponsor and Groove will be the only option afaik. It’ll then ask you if you want to try out a 14day free trial of the service.


      1. I unlocked everything, in fact I just got ending credits. When unlocking festivals I always had a choice of ingame radios (two per festival). Not a single word about some “Groove”.


  3. Regarding the Groove playback error message. I received the same error message on Xbox One after I chose NO to signing up. Using the D-PAD on the Xbox One controller I just pressed to the right and it switched to one of the other 8 stations I have available. The groove option is now gone. I don’t know what D-PAD right is on the keyboard layout, but try that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This. Playback error when selecting the Groove radio is, frankly, to be expected if you turn down Groove but it doesn’t stop you from pressing a button and changing radio.

      Somewhat I hope Alex was just baiting James and got a successful hit.
      Because the other alternatives are:
      – he doesn’t read the screen and missed the bit about using the dpad to switch stations
      – he pressed once, got on the “radio off” setting and fired up outlook to write an angry email


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