How to Improve Skyrim Lag Performance on PS3

While The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim patch 1.2 did help fix the lag/frame rate issues plaguing PS3 users since the release, there are still some who are experiencing the long-term play issues.

In a recent statement from Bethesda, they have acknowledged that they are "aware" of the situation and have been looking at their specific issues by "reaching out to a number of those users to collect save games".  They have, however, narrowed down the causes for the lag on PlayStation 3.

"Right now we know it’s not one thing, but a combination of smaller ones that some folks are seeing, but others are not. Some seem to be the PS3 autosaving in the background (you can turn that off), some may be SPU AI updates, and some may relate to dynamic system memory allocation."

Unfortunately, these fixes won't be in the upcoming Skyrim 1.3 patch, scheduled to release sometime this week.  This means PS3 users will have to find an alternate way to enjoy the otherwise great game.  As they continue to work on updates for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC, a Bethesda community manager has posted a few "helpful pointers" that can help the game's performance on PlayStation 3.

A few pointers, posted on the forums, include:

  • Turn off auto saves. This can cause temporary stuttering since the PS3 saves these files in the background. This is most noticeable with large saves when fast traveling to a new area or entering a new area that auto saves.
  • Clear space on your hard drive. Skyrim makes heavy use of the hard drive, and freeing up space on here seems to help many people. Hard drive speeds also differ in PS3 models. Some users have reported increase performance by upgrading their drives.
  • Waiting for time to pass. Many things are running in the world depending on what quests you've done or places you have visited. Using Wait or Rest options, passing time will clear up some of these. It depends how long you wait, it may take up to 30 days for some items. Saving, resetting, and loading after this will have the largest effect.

This isn't a guaranteed fix, nor is it a long-term fix, but it should help while Bethesda works on a new patch that will hopefully address the PS3 lag issues.  It has also been recently reported that some Xbox 360 users are now experiencing similar lag issues, though there has been no confirmation on that.