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Microsoft PC Games (Games)

Valve Says Choice to Make DX10 Vista-Only Hurt PC Gaming 463

Posted by Zonk
from the they're-in-a-place-to-know dept.
Erris writes "Valve's President Gabe Newell is calling Microsoft's choice to make DirectX 10 Vista-only a 'terrible mistake' that has harmed gaming. His company's latest hardware study shows the strategy has not moved gamers onto Vista. The result is that almost no one is using the newest version of DirectX, and companies are shying away from creating new input devices that support it. Nine months after release, after Christmas, after graduation, and with school mostly back in session, still only 8% of gamers are using it." Update: 08/27 21:09 GMT by Z : An AC points out that these numbers may be framed poorly given uptake numbers for XP's release.
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Valve Says Choice to Make DX10 Vista-Only Hurt PC Gaming

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:17PM (#20375707)
    their inability to get memory virtualisation working for them caused MS to drop the requirement, and as such there is NOTHING about DX10 that makes it technically undoable on XP.

    yet here we are!
  • Proud of game makers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:18PM (#20375723)
    The reasons MS made DX10 Vista only is to force people into upgrading just so they can play Starcraft 2008. The developers are luckily breaking MS's grip but telling them, we're the content providers, the reason people buy your system now do what we need or we won't follow.
  • by Boa Constrictor (810560) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:19PM (#20375743)
    DirectX is one of the few things that Microsoft controls in its entirety. While the hardware and the drivers are (were) outside their control, DX is probably the only thing MS can withhold from users of XP without someone else devising a work-around. Come to it, are there any other "killer features" of vista (even if you assume blu-ray, etc. is mature)?

    Sure, it's bad for games and indeed gamers, needlessly straining the hardware more for one thing, not to mention content-protection, buying vista, etc., but it's a gamble MS are taking to force users onto their OS. Of course, it will shrink the DX10 market and thus slow graphics development of games. Who knows, maybe a little emphasis on other things would be good for the industry?

  • Too bad Valve. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IPFreely (47576) <mark@mwiley.org> on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:21PM (#20375763) Homepage Journal
    There is a lot more going onin DX10 than games. The whole driver-OS interface was changed. Those changes were necessary to put the 3D hardware into sharable mode.

    Now multiple applications and games can share the 3D hardware. In DX9/WinXP and earlier only one App at a time could use the 3D hardware. It needed to be done, and it could only be done with the cooperation of the OS. This cannot be put back into XP because this sort of control and separation could not be done in XP.

  • Vista is what it is, a bloated, DRM filled, resource hog designed to take more of your computer away from you and in exchange it gives you unrecognized drivers, unsupported software and nothing but aggravation. The new spectacular games that were supposed to be there are not there, all we can see are promises and vaporware for sometime in the future but for now all you get is pain and misery. Tell me again why I want that? Tell me Microsoft why DirectX 10 is so much more special? I see the side by side comparisons and I don't see much difference, certainly not worth me busting everything I own now and investing in something with no real tangible difference. I hear the FUD, the hear the huckster Microsoft cheerleaders saying how great it is but this is the internet and the voices of everyone else are heard loud and clear so the lying isn't being believed. 8 Percent using it? Sounds on the high side to me. It's just a matter of how long until Microsoft admits they've created a loser and perhaps we can get to real innovation. I won't hold my breath on that second part though.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dedazo (737510) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:23PM (#20375797) Journal
    No, 'Erris' (whose journal this got published from) is one of twitter's (the one linked to) sockpuppets.
  • by Climate Shill (1039098) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:28PM (#20375865) Journal
    If people buy Vista to get DX10 it's a win for Microsoft. If people are discouraged from using Microsoft's gaming competititor, the PC, it's a win for Microsoft. So it's not stupid at all.
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmai l . com> on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:29PM (#20375879) Homepage Journal
    Oddly enough there are projects to make Vista games (Direct X 10 games) and apps run on Windows.

    http://alkyproject.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

    It can be done, but Microsoft just wants people to jump to Vista. I think they are barking up the wrong tree. Gamers who want the best possible performance aren't going to jump to an OS that eats more resources and slows their rig down. I'll consider buying a Direct X 10 game the moment Wine/Cedega supports it.
  • Re:Too bad Valve. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:30PM (#20375881)
    Yeah, because we all want to run 3 games that'll eat up the GPU at the same time. Thats a function that could have EASILY be left out for XP. It doesn't need 3D support for it's GUI.
  • Re:Too bad Valve. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:33PM (#20375925)
    Oddly a simple google search disagrees with you. There are several projects which allow DX10 only games to run on XP. I guess DX10 could be built on XP. The most damning evidence is that DX10 began its beta's on XP. Sorry to disappoint you.

  • by happyfrogcow (708359) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:05PM (#20376295)
    You'll have to excuse me for not being able to test the following. I do all my gaming in Linux (no seriously, I do!)

    We all know that if you play music on Vista, it causes a degradation of network performance. What happens if you have a networked game decoding an MP3? Is this all handled in the game's own system, or does it depend on the OS to do it. Do you get a drop in network performance in the game? That would be incredible...

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:24PM (#20376515) Homepage Journal
    You guys can get exercised about the fact that this has been discussed here before, but it really is a pretty important issue to consumers.

    Microsoft is desperate to push Vista down the throats of computer users. The big app developers like Adobe are wise to that song and dance, so despite what was probably a concerted effort by Microsoft to get one of the big apps to release a "Vista Only" version, that's not going to happen. So, MS figured that they could go after what is usually a reliably pliant population, the gamer. In the past, just the mention of some new technology that would add a few texels (whatever they are), or provide more realistic fog (for all those games that are set in London, I guess), would get the gamer community lining up to pay thousands of dollars so they could be disappointed by the first game that made use of this new technology.

    But something has changed. Of course, gamers are still eager to get their hands on the hot gear, but they've been burned just enough times to know bullshit when they hear it. And Microsoft pushing a Vista-only technology for games that for some reason could never, nope, impossible, can't happen work on anything but Vista smelled exactly what comes out of the bull's ass.

    It might be time to wake up to the fact that we do not exist just for the purpose of providing huge corporations with record profits. Somehow, the ideas that businesses are supposed to try to give consumers what they want has been supplanted by the idea that now the businesses are calling the tune and we either go along or get off the bus.

    I think Microsoft would make an excellent example for the rest of the corporate world if we were to exert the power we represent as consumers. Every so often, we might have to take one of these corporations that have forgotten that the vendor/consumer transaction is supposed to be an equation and slam them up against the wall just to show that we can. Or, we can just go along meekly and become the consumables for the machinery of corporate greed.

    Personally, I don't care if Microsoft crashes and burns. Not if it makes room for a few new players in the arena of desktop operating systems. Hell, I sold all my MS stock a long time ago.

    Vista was a huge mistake. I believe it's really important not to let Microsoft weasel out of this one. For me, not using Vista is more than just being a smart consumer, it's a political statement. It would be worth sticking with XP for a few more years if only to get the message out that we are not going to be grist for their mill.

    Oh, and Apple, don't get too smug. You might be next.
  • by mattpalmer1086 (707360) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:17PM (#20377103)
    AFAIK, it's not MP3 decoding that causes the network degradation - it's whether the audio driver is used or not.
  • Re:It's not 8%! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Simulant (528590) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:46PM (#20377479) Journal

    What I think is that gamers haven't had a reason to upgrade to Vista from XP
    You have a point. I'm a gamer and a Windows Sys Admin. I've installed Vista a bunch of times but always end up annoyed and go back to XP. I just installed it again this weekend, to judge for myself whether or not DX10 made much of a difference in Bioshock (it didn't). I don't like Vista. They made a lot of bad decisions and, straight out of the box anyway (plus latest drivers), it's demonstrably slower and buggier under many circumstances than XP is on the same hardware. So far it offers nothing I want that XP can't provide. However, The games I play, DO work fine on it, and when the game comes along that looks significantly better on DX10 than DX9 without taking a massive performance hit, I'll probably be there. I'd prefer DX10 for XP though.... and I expect I'll be dual booting for some time to come.
  • DX 10 is not designed to force anybody to do anything. It was a big change in the way DirectX works so it required significant changes in the kernel's video system and significant changes in the structure of video drivers. That kind of thing is really hard to stuff into a service pack.

    I think that in the long term, the change (moving to the Vista video architecture) will be a good thing. The Vista video model seems to address a lot of real issues like sharing the 3D features of the video card (previously not a real possibility). In the short term, the change is a bit painful and offers no real benefit (just nifty eye candy and effects). If I were a game developer, I certainly wouldn't develop any games that only run on DX10.

    I don't think that is entirely unexpected -- most developers still support DX8. However, just like most developers can expect most of their gamers to have DX9 hardware and software, eventually developers will be able to expect gamers to have DX10 hardware and software. Then there will be benefits.

    In the meantime, I can understand some frustration. For example, due to my laptop's lousy video driver, I can't play full-screen video in DX10 (Aero transparency enabled) mode. However, if I switch to the "Basic" mode, suddenly all is well. So this is certainly painful.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Monday August 27, 2007 @07:30PM (#20377993)
    People are forced to go to Vista if they want DX10. Win.
    PC gaming is further messed up and more people go to console (Xbox). Win.

    The downside for Microsoft is what? People pissed with Microsoft tactics? Yeah that would be new...
  • Re:Too bad Valve. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Monday August 27, 2007 @09:49PM (#20379279)

    Yeah, because we all want to run 3 games that'll eat up the GPU at the same time. Thats a function that could have EASILY be left out for XP. It doesn't need 3D support for it's GUI.


    Google Earth, Media Center, WPF apps, and a lot more uses 3D.

    Why the hell shouldn't our GPUs multitask?
  • With a thorn like this in Microsoft's side, there is certainly a part of me that hopes that we will begin to see more OpenGL games released versus DirectX.

    Don't get me wrong, DirectX is a nice graphics library, but the seriousness of the vendor lock-in is just staggering -- and scenarios like this are a perfect example of a game development company's worst fears.

    This situation was created because not enough effort was put into OpenGL when it needed it the most to make it a truly cutting-edge standard. The blame for that particularly lies with Microsoft and their aggressive campaign for Direct3D (and DirectX). As a result, OpenGL languished for several years, with only incremental feature updates (to version 1.5, which IIRC wasn't even a real release, but more of a vendor patchset for 1.4). In the meantime, DirectX leapfrogged its way to version 9 with a ridiculous amount of features being added.

    OpenGL 2.1 finally came out last August (http://www.opengl.org/documentation/current_versi on/ [opengl.org]) to very little fanfare. About the only companies it really mattered to were the Xbox competitors, namely, Sony and Nintendo. The PC gaming industry as a whole didn't care, because they had a solution that was "good enough" -- DirectX 9.

    Now, OpenGL 3.0 is "on track" to be finalized at the end of this month. Whether that will happen is anyone's guess, but it looks like the DX10 situation has finally lit a fire under their collective asses. Who knows, we may even see an OpenGL 3.0 specification by September, but I'm not really holding my breath.
    http://www.opengl.org/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?u bb=get_topic;f=3;t=015351;p=0 [opengl.org]

    Of course, even though there's a brand spanking OpenGL almost ready to again kick Direct3D's ass performance wise, Microsoft has already taken steps to ensure that won't happen. OpenGL 1.4 (yes, 1.4!) is implemented in Vista as a translation layer to run Direct3D calls on the hardware. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct3D_vs._OpenGL#P ortability [wikipedia.org] This cripples OpenGL's performance advantage. Of course, if you want to run the newest OpenGL on the newest hardware, as you should, they've put another roadblock in the way with Vista: you have to use the Windows XP drivers, which disable the nice flashy Aero interface. At this point, you're probably thinking, "Wait, wasn't Aero a selling point of Vista?" Well, that certainly makes sense. Only hardcore gamers would want to trade off their interface for OpenGL's performance, but your average casual gamer doesn't care.

    So even if OpenGL 3 is technically superior, publishers probably won't adopt it because of the widespread view that it's slow (thanks to Vista's emulation). iD Software will likely use it as they always have, but it'll become harder to explain to your average user why he needs to install unverified drivers and disable his nice flashy interface just so he can run said game.

    It's almost sickening, really, when you think about the damage DirectX has done.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @10:12PM (#20379433)
    Come on. How many people who are running DX7 are likely to buy any game, let alone a new release? Since just about every game installs the required version of DX these people cannot have installed a game in the last 5 years. I'd be willing to bet that the 8% who are early adopters of DX10 (DXX?) would buy orders of magnitude more games than the 15% who are still running DX7.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Corwn of Amber (802933) <<corwinofamber> <at> <skynet.be>> on Monday August 27, 2007 @10:23PM (#20379533) Journal
    Wait. This could not be more the moment for Apple to start selling MacOSX OTS? They've already have support from id and EA. If they Just Had Games, as they already have Office and at least two OpenOffices AND Adobe CSx, well, they'd kill Microsoft in one year.

    Still dreaming... but ... if ever ...
  • by neverhadachoice (949216) on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @01:48AM (#20380821)

    Yeah .. problem is that you're not alone. Since moving to Vista:

    • I had to get a new mouse as my existing mouse would power the laser off for 5 seconds every minute or so
    • I can no longer play Freelancer as half the sound doesn't work
    • My Windows Home Server connector doesn't work (to be fair this is x64's problem, not all versions)
    • Media Centre Bigpond Movies doesn't work (I believe this may be x64 related also)
    • My ISO mounting program requires elevation to run
    • I've lost half of the controls for my sound card in the drivers
    • I can't use Winamp properly

    ..the list goes on. I consider myself to be above the level of the average user, and we've pulled that machine out in favour of an older MCE2005 box to drive the TV. Be aware that just because -you're- not having problems, doesn't mean everyone else isn't. The KKK are pretty friendly dudes, if you're a rich white guy.

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