Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Microsoft PC Games (Games)

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

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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

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

Comments Filter:
  • by Soulfarmer ( 607565 ) * on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:16PM (#20375695) Homepage Journal
    Was there any other reason NOT to have dx10 support on XP than attempt to boost Vista-sales among gamers? If not, it is even bigger mistake. One should not try to shove new os's down our throat etc.

    Don't know what the biggest reason was, but still, seems like stupid thing to do.
  • Forced Upgrade (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ryanisflyboy ( 202507 ) * on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:26PM (#20375847) Homepage Journal
    Everyone will experience a forced upgrade. It is simply a matter of time. When your non-tech friend buys his next gaming machine it is going to come with Vista because XP won't be an option. I remember a similar reluctance between 3.11 and Win95. Eventually everyone got there - or skipped Win95 and went right to Win98. In another year the landscape will be much different. Microsoft will eventually pull the plug on OEMs who are still selling XP (Dell).

    This is a great time to consider an alternate desktop OS.
  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:31PM (#20375901) Journal

    When game developers chose to standardise their efforts on Windows they bit the hook. Now they are unhappy about being on the line. Too bad.

    We warned them. Now if some forward thinking company thought to maintain some cross platform efforts they are ready to seize a significant opportunity. Unreal engine? Id? Is that you?

  • by Gryll ( 23531 ) * on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:32PM (#20375915)
    I would bet that Microsoft was not narrowly looking at the next 12 months when they made the decision to require Vista for DX10. This is more like a 2-3 year strategy to force people away from XP and perhaps even Wine/Cedega. DX10 itself wasn't even targeted for todays graphics cards.

    That said, I don't think it's healthy for the industry and I dread the day I break down and install Vista to get the most out of Starcraft2.
  • by xigxag ( 167441 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:39PM (#20375993)
    It's pretty funny that Microsoft in its stronghold (PC OSes) made the same exact mistake that Sony made in its stronghold (consoles). Sony thought that tying Blu-Ray to its new console would be a win-win for format licensing and for the Playstation sales, but instead, high prices and lack of compelling software have kept people back. Similarly, MS thought that tying DX10 to its PC OS would be a win-win for gaming licensing and Vista sales, but instead, high prices and lack of compelling software have kept people back. As a result, people generally prefer to keep buying last-gen PS2's and Windows XP.
  • by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:41PM (#20376017) Journal
    Actually I'd say they are aware of the problems and are trying to fix them [istartedsomething.com]. Whether or not they fix them and whether or not that results in faster adoption remains to be seen.

    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.

    Alternatively, you can also hear the FUDsters and hysteria-inducing misleading rants about the DRM boogeyman, UAC and just about anything else in Vista. The "poor Google, they are being victimized by Microsoft" crap when Vista search is much better than GDS and all Google had to do was give the user the option to shut down the indexing service. The wailing cries by the AV snake oil vendors. And let's not forget the concerted efforts by the FSF to convince everyone that Vista is "defective by design" and directing their minions to the closest Amazon product page to astroturf and vandalize the hell out of everything. It goes on and on and on.

    I sure as hell haven't seen much more than FUD coming from the groups of people who would be the most affected once Vista gains traction. I don't have a problem with people doing that so much - Microsoft is known for those types of tactic as well. The problem is that the same people doing all this are the ones that have repeatedly claimed they own the moral high ground. The ones that claim Microsoft is not "honest". FUD always works both ways. It erodes your credibility when people realize you've been feeding them soup to undercut your competitors. It happened to Microsoft, and it will happen to them as well.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:41PM (#20376027)
    Regardless of the troll source, the point that DX10 being Vista only as a driving force for Vista sales: SO WHAT?
        Microsoft makes DX10, Microsoft Makes Vista, and Microsoft makes money, not good feelings, not altruism, but good old MONEY off sales of Vista. Last I saw, XP was a money drain on Microsoft as they no longer sell it but must still support it.
  • by zymano ( 581466 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:44PM (#20376059)
    Use opengl.

    These game producers are idiots.

    You got what you wanted when you only support Microsoft.

    They got you by the balls.
  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @04:48PM (#20376093)

    Is Microsoft obliged to provide new technology for old versions of Windows, free of cost? Graphics card manufacturers are free to agree on alternative standards, such as OpenGL, to expose new features of their products without forcing an OS upgrade or locking game writers into a particular OS. Last I heard, OpenGL works fine on Vista, XP, Mac and Linux.
    No, but they're smart if they do. DirectX keeps gamers wedded to the Microsoft tit. Let's be honest, the two drivers of PC tech are games and pr0n. When I made my choice between PC and Mac as a kid, I wanted the machine all my friends had and that was so we could share games. Going on a BBS? Hell, an Atari ST could do that with its cheesy 300 baud modem. My best friend had to suffer through that until his dad finally built a 386. But games? PC's were where it was at, at least for the then-current generation.

    There's a lot of Vista hate right now. If Microsoft was smart, they'd just release DX10 for XP and hope they get Vista ironed out by SP1 and DX11 and catch the gamers on the next upgrade cycle. If they don't, they're just giving more ammunition to the "anyone but Microsoft" camp. Vista's already making distros like Ubuntu look better and better. And we only have to look back to the sweeping mass extinctions in computer history to realize that no order is permanent.
  • Re:Too bad Valve. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:05PM (#20376297)

    There is a lot more going onin DX10 than games. The whole driver-OS interface was changed.

    That is a logical fallacy. The driver-OS interface changing does not necessitate the need for an gaming hardware API to be tied to a particular OS.

    The entire purpose of DirectX is to provide an abstraction layer ontop of the drivers in the first place. It's quite true that it might mean writing two versions of DX10 but the API does not depend on the changes Vista implemented.
  • OpenGL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kidcharles ( 908072 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:14PM (#20376409)
    This is what happens when you only write games for a proprietary API (and for that matter only a single OS). Newell and other game developers cannot truly be shocked about this problem; anyone with half a brain could have told you something like this was bound to happen when you are so wedded to Microsoft. If games were still developed with OpenGL, this would not be an issue. If games were written for multiple OS's, this would not be an issue.
  • by kendor ( 525262 ) <kennethfine@hotmail.com> on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:21PM (#20376481)

    As seems usual many Slashdotters seem to be overreaching, equating their fantasy lives with what's happening in the marketplace, and what most users are experiencing.

    Among machines I use regularly in Seattle and in Southern California I'm now running:

    • Two machines that use XP
    • A TabletPC with XP
    • A Dell XPSII laptop that was running Vista RC1, then Vista RC2, and as of a week ago is running the release version of Vista
    • A smaller Dell laptop that followed a similar upgrade path to the machine above
    • A new Dell 9200 Desktop with a quad-core Q6600 CPU and a DX10-capable GTS8600 video card
    I have used all of these machines to run a wide variety of software:
    • Office
    • the original Unreal Tournament from 1999
    • Homeworld 2
    • Visual Studio 2005
    • Visual Studio 2008
    • Photoshop CS2 suite
    • Sorenson's toolsets
    • Morrowind: Oblivion
    • ...and tons of other stuff
    The problems I have had to date?
    • In Vista RC1 headphone support on my laptops didn't work
    • Some of the more advanced developer tools I've used and plugins for VS.NET have required elevation to install correctly
    That's it, folks. Other than that Vista seems like a pretty decent tool that chugs along and mostly stays out of my way whether I'm using it for new or old software. It has not been the ordeal that some of you wish it was, and if my problems are limited to issues involving beta OS releases and installation issues associated with expert-level tools, I can't imagine Joe Sixpack is tearing his hair out over ubiquitious tools like say, Office.

    Part of being a good advocate for a cause like free software is having the maturity to be intellectually honest. Your hyperventilating every time the name of Microsoft is spoken doesn't make FSF any better or any more appealing. Indeed, people whose living depends on computing may shy away from free software solutions, afraid that they might attract more of your kind to the workplace. Who would want to work with such a negative personality type?


  • by ravyne ( 858869 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:32PM (#20376609)
    Its possible that features from DirectX 10 could be implemented on WinXP (indeed, most (all?) Direct3D 10 features are supported on XP through OpenGL extensions if your hardware supports it and you have the right drivers.) but make no mistake that it would *not* be the same Direct3D 10 we know from Windows Vista.

    One of the major goals for D3D 10 (and going forward) was to release OEMs from legacy baggage, a not-insignificant portion of which stems from the Win2k/XP display driver model which is simply not equipped to provide the facilities that both Vista and the graphics cards themselves need. There's also a signifigant "slimming" of the API (removal of the fixed-function pipeline, cap bits, etc.) which, BTW, is the exact same direction that OpenGL is going.

    What really would be the better solution? Creating two distinct next-gen 3D APIs for the XP and Vista lineages? I'm sure the IHVs would love that. Bring the XP D3D10-alike into Vista, continuing the status-quo of legacy-burdened software? Thats very forward-thinking. Hack a version of Vista's D3D 10 onto XP but having wildly different performance characteristics and losing all the benefits that stem from the new driver model? The software devs are just itching for yet another scenario to optimize for, I'm sure.

    Simply put, its possible to support most D3D10 features on XP, but it is *not* possible to create a single next gen Direct3D API that supports both Vista and XP without making severe concessions to performance and/or feature set. Sometimes you just have to cut the cord.
  • by zwilliams07 ( 840650 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:38PM (#20376673)
    Valve Says Choice to Make DX10 Vista-Only Hurt PC Gaming What should be said: Gamers say Developer's choice to use DirectX over OpenGL only hurts PC gaming. I mean seriously, if they thought it out completely, does it make sense to lock your product to another product that is controlled completely by one company? Yeah some will cite some shortsided reasons to use DirectX and ignore the major disadvantage.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:46PM (#20376751)
    Last I saw, XP was a money drain on Microsoft as they no longer sell it but must still support it.

    They still sell it.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @05:49PM (#20376785) Journal
    How about Wii and PS2/3? Maybe Mac? Mobile phones in a few years? All of these platforms support OpenGL or OpenGL ES. Using Direct3D gets you Windows and XBox. Now, if you use the latest version, it doesn't even give you most of Windows.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:08PM (#20377019)
    It's hard for game company VPs to understand how they will make money by releasing free software.

    Not releasing, using.

    He's talking about OpenGL.

  • by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:17PM (#20377105)
    and shun DirectX since it is controlled by one company which does stupid things like tie it to particular OS versions? Is OpenGL not advanced enough for modern games?
  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:19PM (#20377139) Homepage Journal
    I think he was talking about gamers who had Vista (which ships with DX 10 code wise) AND DX 10 capable hardware. An awful lot of people have not upgraded from DX9 gen cards yet, partially because of really bad driver support on Vista in the initial months after it's release.
  • by msimm ( 580077 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:22PM (#20377159) Homepage
    Everyone *will* eventually be using Vista. It's just a adoption thing. This should be expected to be slow, maybe a tad slower because of some of the wild mis-steps MS has made but you can not discount their unique position and monopoly.

    And yes, I know there are 'alternatives'. But Apples market is pretty specific and Linux no matter what anyone says is still quite a ways off (and yes, I use Red Hat in production and now Ubuntu on my secondary workstation at home).

    And FTR after over 8 years of Linux use, most of that full-time (as in no Windows OS anywhere in my home, including my wifes desktop) Ubuntu is the best I've seen from an end user POV. But it's still Linux and it still suffers from the same technical hurdles that will be part and parcel until either Linux based systems as a whole overcome (not likely, too many different goals) or someone seriously forks their set and reworks the system from the ground up to be a USER system.

    Now feel free to flame me. I know how well open discussions go over here (I won't take it personally).
  • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @06:29PM (#20377253) Homepage
    So you want to disclaim all the FUD on here by giving us your experience? Are you suggesting that you are a "normal", or perhaps "average" user so that your own anecdotal experience has any value to a wider audience at all?

    Lets see, you regularly use 6 machines! (Check, that's definitely average)
    And one of those machines is a quad-core with a DX10 graphics card (Check, completely average)

    So obviously your experience translates well for everyone. Gosh, we should all stop bitching and listen up. So apart from your moaning about those FSF boys not rolling over and spreading for Microsoft when asked, what of value do you have to say? Have you touched on the issue of the discussion - Microsoft bullshitting that they have technical reasons for holding back DX10 from XP when everyone and their mother knows that it's a decision made to drive sales of a failed operating system that nobody wants.

    Ooh, that's right you forgot to mention that subject.
  • by m50d ( 797211 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @07:16PM (#20377833) Homepage Journal
    This is great and all, but the way Microsoft and GPG used it, it has to be peer to peer. And each computer runs the sim. Which would be fine, if it weren't one of the most taxing games on a cpu currently existing. This would be fine in a homogeneous environment, such as the Xbox. However, PCs aren't. So if one person has a crappy computer, it will slow EVERYONE down.

    I suspect that has a lot more to do with the developer than MS pressure, since the same is true of Total Annihilation from 10 years ago, and you'll thank them for it in a few years if my experience with TA is any guide; besides, if extra load was placed on one of the machines, would there be a computer anywhere that was powerful enough to host a 10-player game?

  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @07:52PM (#20378231)
    Yes, yes, yes. Microsoft making DX10 a "Vista only" feature was clearly an effort to get folks to upgrade to Vista sooner rather than later. No one was ever fooled by Microsoft's claims about how DX10 could only be implemented with Vista's "advanced" architecture...

    Unfortunately, it hasn't been working out too well for Microsoft. Between the horrible driver support, expensive hardware requirements, and the general incompatibility issues you expect whenever upgrading to a major new OS, Vista has been mostly a bust for gamers (and even general users.) Furthermore, this doesn't even include the normal warnings about buying version 1.0 of ANYTHING for your PC - much less anything from Microsoft that hasn't had at least 2 SPs released for it, much less waiting for a major refresh, like Win95b.

    Then there's the whole DX10.1 debacle, which promises to make all existing "DX10" video cards obsolete before they've even gotten proper support. Whee! Microsoft sure loves them some gamers!

    Most gamers I know are putting off the upgrade to Vista for as long as possible - Microsoft's profits be darned. XP ain't broke, so why "fix" it with Vista which so far has proven to be more a step backwards than anything else?

    In my opinion, Microsoft wants to KILL PC gaming - and is using Vista and DX10 to do it. Think about it. How much does Microsoft make off every sale of a non-Microsoft PC game? Exactly $0. All those copies of HalfLife2 - $0. WoW - $0. Civ, BioShock, Sims - $0, $0, and $0. Sure, they make money on the sale of Vista, but that's what, one sale per gamer until Vista's replacement comes out 4-5 years later? Meanwhile, over on Microsoft's XBox side, EVERY copy of EVERY game sold results in a paycheck of $5-10 in licensing fees. This includes not just the games you see in stores, but also the titles you can download off Xbox Live Arcade. There's also the money Microsoft makes from selling Xbox SDKs to the developers - since they have no choice BUT to buy it - unlike on the PC where Microsoft has much less control on what software is used. Furthermore, the console market is exponentially larger than the PC gaming market - and has been for years. Microsoft even makes money from online play on the console with its Xbox Live service - which is yet another area they're making exactly $0 off of PC gamers.
  • Re:That's nonsense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ahnteis ( 746045 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @08:04PM (#20378355)
    Well sure. They could rewrite large parts of XP to make it work. But ... they already DID that. They call it Vista.
  • by Almahtar ( 991773 ) on Monday August 27, 2007 @10:46PM (#20379667) Journal

    sure as hell haven't seen much more than FUD coming from the groups of people who would be the most affected once Vista gains traction. I don't have a problem with people doing that so much - Microsoft is known for those types of tactic as well. The problem is that the same people doing all this are the ones that have repeatedly claimed they own the moral high ground. The ones that claim Microsoft is not "honest". FUD always works both ways. It erodes your credibility when people realize you've been feeding them soup to undercut your competitors.
    That was definitely the most powerful, potent, and insightful point of your post. Now let me leverage it against your main point. There is nothing wrong with having a monopoly... there is lots wrong with ABUSING IT. It's abuse because lots of people HAVE TO agree with Microsoft. It's not a choice. Random people throw FUD at MS and may have some effect. Microsoft shouts? Everyone has to listen, FUD or not, and many are too uneducated to know the difference.

    This is not hypocrisy. FUD is a completely different thing when you have a monopoly to back it.
  • Re:Forced Upgrade (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2007 @09:07AM (#20382787)
    Do you really believe that shit? It's obvious you haven't tried running many games on Wine.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson