Forza Horizon 4 is the first installment in the Forza series to arrive onto Steam. While the racing franchise has existed on PC since the free-to-play Forza Motorsport 6: Apex – with the first full-fat installment on the platform being Forza Horizon 3, they’ve always been exclusive to Microsoft’s own Store platform and operated as Universal Windows Program apps native to Windows 10.
With this recent release however, Forza Horizon 4 on PC now has two distinct editions: The Windows 10 version that has existed since launch (and is included in Xbox Game Pass for PC) and now the Steam installment. Both offer the exact same Forza Horizon 4 experience you know and love already, so if you already own the game on PC or are a Game Pass subscriber, then you can most certainly skip this one unless you really wish to have it in your Steam library. Do keep in mind that any existing game progress from Xbox consoles or the Windows 10 version won’t synchronize with Steam, so you’ll have to start from scratch with a separate save profile.
Exclusive to the Steam version of Forza Horizon 4 are Steam Achievements and Trading Cards, so if you value those, then you’re covered. It does require an Xbox Live account, but sign-up is free, and Gold isn’t needed to play online. Forza Horizon 4 on Steam also supports cross-play with the existing Xbox and Windows 10 versions, so regardless of which platforms your friends play on, you can all race together seamlessly. This same logic also applies to tunes, liveries, custom routes and Super7 events, so everyone has access to the very same user-generated content – absolutely everything created and shared by the community up to now and beyond can be enjoyed by all.
Thanks to a review code of the Steam version provided to me by Turn 10 Studios, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit the Horizon Festival UK from the very beginning, which proved to be an excellent reminder of just how brilliant the opening hours of Forza Horizon 4 are. Whilst the introduction sequence that lets players experience a taste of all four seasons in just under 10 minutes is as awe-inspiring and stunning as ever, there is some noticeable stuttering throughout each seasonal transition as the framerate adjusts from 60FPS (or higher) to 30FPS and suddenly increases again – which breaks the immersion of these otherwise mesmerizing changeovers.
It isn’t just an issue with the opening sequence, however. The pre-race loading transitions that show off your vehicle and character present similar stuttering, while finishing a race freezes the game for a few seconds. None of these issues are game-breaking, however, but they’re not present on the existing Windows 10 version, which means they should be fixable in a future patch. The framerate did show some notable drops during gameplay, and while few and far between, the overall stability of the game seems to be better on the Windows 10 version overall – though I expect the Steam release will continue to be refined overtime. In addition, if you’re a wheel user, you might need to perform some file tweaking before hitting the open road. Luckily for you, Forza Support has you covered with this useful tutorial. There's also currently no rumble feedback in the triggers for Xbox One controllers, though Turn 10 has acknowledged this issue, along with several other problems and is currently investigating them.
Despite its age, Forza Horizon 4 remains one of the best open-world racing games on the market and if you’re interested in playing it on PC, but you don’t know which version to choose – I’d boil it down to the following scenarios. If you’re an Xbox Game Pass member and you’re invested into the Xbox ecosystem, choose the Windows 10 version. It’s included in your subscription, you’ll be able to play and synchronize your data on both PC and console, and the downloadable content is also discounted. If you’re exclusively a PC gamer and you’ve built up a large library of Steam games and you value the ecosystem of Steam Achievements and Trading Cards, then the Steam version is undoubtedly the perfect choice for you. Just keep in mind that Forza Horizon 4 on Steam is being sold at full price, starting at $59.99/£54.99/€69.99 for just the Standard Edition, so I’d say it’s worth holding out for a sale considering this game is more than two years old. There’s also the highly affordable Xbox Game Pass option – which is the one I personally recommend to everyone, as new members can sign up at just $1 for their first month!
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your own preference. Me personally? I’m already an avid Forza Horizon 4 player who frequently switches between the game on Xbox Series X and Windows 10, but the Steam version allows me to start from scratch and experience everything the Horizon Festival has to offer as you rise from the bottom of the chain and make it onto the roster! There’s also nothing that beats the feeling of adding that dream car to your garage once you’ve saved up enough credits to afford it. It’s quite a surreal but fun experience having only a few vehicles to choose from for each race. However, my circumstance and desire to play through the game again from scratch is certainly unique and most will be disappointed that their existing progress doesn’t carry over to the Steam release – but in that case, it’s just best to stick to the Windows 10 version.
There is one major benefit for all Forza Horizon 4 players with this new Steam edition, however. The Horizon Festival now has thousands of new drivers and you’ll find them cruising around in Horizon Life, competing in modes like The Eliminator or Online Adventure and even crafting their own unique Super7 events or designing custom liveries and tunes for everyone to download. New players mean even more racing fun to be had, and thanks to the Steam community, the Horizon Festival has only gotten even bigger, and that’s an exceptionally good thing. No matter if you play on Xbox, Windows or Steam, there’s plenty of new opportunities for fun, friendly competition at the world’s largest automobile and music festival!
For everything else you need to know, be sure to read our complete review of Forza Horizon 4, as well as the Fortune Island and LEGO Speed Champions expansions.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he keeps the website updated with new and relevant content, including news stories, reviews and opinion pieces for the games he likes writing about the most. He also tweets too much, probably.