PS3, 360, Wii, and... Windows Vista?

Windows Vista is here, and with it comes the “next generation” of PC gaming (if you can call it a generation). Although newer PC games such as Oblivion have been able to compete well enough with their next generation console counterparts, Vista is going to bring a whole heap of new features to gamers (listed in the article for those who haven’t been following Microsoft’s progress with the OS).

One of the biggest improvements of Windows Vista for gamers is the implementation of Direct X 10, of course, and I think that once Crysis comes out we shall see just how amazing the games can look graphically running on the new operating system. Until then, I would actually recommend sticking with XP, as some older games have been reported to not run as well on Vista.

I had the opportunity to try out the final version of Vista just over a month ago, and although I didn’t try any games on it, the new interface felt very polished. Vista’s start menu especially impressed me because MS have finally replaced the annoying menus that pop out the side from Windows 95. Now the OS comes with a much sleeker tree menu, so that when you select an item, the subitems will appear below it.

Search is well integrated, so you can start typing in the “Run” box, and the start menu will dynamically change as you’re typing. I can’t say that the web browser has improved all that much… it’s Internet Explorer 7, which is also available for XP. It’s mostly playing catch up with other browsers at the moment and still has a long way to go before it reaches of quality of browsers such as Firefox and Opera. Everything on Vista at least looks “prettier” than with XP (the transparent windows are a nice touch), but this of course takes up more resources, so this may not be an improvement in everyone’s eyes.

The new Games Explorer seems well thought out from what I could see, although since I didn’t have any games installed besides Solitaire and the default Windows games, there was only so much that I could try. There seemed to be lots that you could do to restrict what games people on your computer were allowed to play. Hopefully older games (which will presumably not appear in the Games Explorer automatically when they’re installed) will allow users to add shortcuts to them to this menu.

Vista doesn’t run as an administrator by default which is great news for security, although it’s going to cause some headaches when running older programs and games. I think overall, this change was much needed, as Windows has typically been much sloppier than it’s competitors with regards to security in the past.

It’s good to see some better quality control and standards arising with the “Games for Windows” brand too, and Microsoft’s commitment to getting Xbox Live and Xbox 360 controllers working well on the PC… admittedly using controllers hasn’t been as simple as plug and play with some games, and hopefully this mean that there will be less “half hearted” console ports. I’m hoping that games like Halo 2 for Vista will include support for four wireless players so that it has all the advantages of a console (four friends playing the same room), but with the advantages that the PC has to offer as well (mods).

The performance on older PCs, and the price are really the only two downsides that I can see over XP. Some people have complained that Vista is merely Microsoft’s way of inflicting more DRM on us, and to further monopolise their position in the market - and while they are probably right - there are quite a few significant improvements for gamers, more than in any past Microsoft OS in fact. And eventually for PC gamers, once Direct X 10 becomes the standard, there won’t be choice… gamers will have to move off XP to Vista if they want to keep up with new releases. The price is also quite steep - US$379.99 for the Ultimate Edition. If you’re after a legitimate copy with all the features this is almost the price of the premium Xbox 360, and this is just for the OS. There are cheaper versions, but these are missing some features, so if you are planning on upgrading keep this mind.

So, what is everyone’s thoughts on this new gaming platform?

It changes nothing, it’s all hype, and the addition of the exclusive DirectX10 is actually a drawback as far as I’m concerned. Of course Microsoft doesn’t look at it that way since it’s a great way to force people to upgrade.

Anyway, it’s just another evolution of the OS like it’s been happening all these years. PC gaming will remain as it was. Sure we get nicer features, and it changes this or that for developers, but when did that stop happening for PC? New technologies were introduced all the time, and with every new DirectX release. Pixel shaders 1.3, 2.0, 3.0, bump mapping, normal mapping, and so on. This is yet another expected step.

It does bring some good things (again, as it always happens with a new version of anything) but I won’t be getting it for at least another year and a half. I need a major upgrade for it anyway, and I’ll be getting that when DirectX10 GPUs are available and cheaper than the skyhigh prices they charge @ first. By that time they’ll hopefully have resolved most of the initial problems too, and maybe upped the compatibility with past applications.

The price of the OS needs to be lower too, and programs as well as games actually have to make use of it you see. From benchmarks it’s not even any faster than Windows XP, and in some cases it’s slower.

While I won’t be upgrading for a while (cost reasons), I don’t have an opinion either way just yet. However, from what I’ve heard in regards to performance issues, a lot of that is because the drivers simply haven’t been fine tuned yet for most gaming hardware. It’ll increase in performance (supposedly) fairly dramatically within the first year or so after launch.

That being said, my XP runs perfectly fine and I don’t feel like spending a grand or so to upgrade my computer/OS to run it.

Well I don’t think we can judge what the reason is. In a year or so from now benchmarks won’t be again 100% objective because I’m sure at least some developers will put XP lower on the priority list so drivers won’t be as good as for Vista this time, for the newer hardware (which is recommended for Vista anyway) at least…

I’m sure DirectX10 will be more efficient than 9 for games that are made for it but like I said that’s just the reason Microsoft put up to force people to upgrade… I’m sure that had their plans been different DirectX10 would have worked with XP, at least in the ways that matter.

XP rocks too hard and I heard Vista was shite anyway.

Yeah, because the world has a very educated opinion about an operating system that’s been out for all of two days. >.>;;

It seems to me that the two main reasons why people are weary of Vista at the moment are (a) because they own older hardware and (b) because the price of Vista/new hardware is quite high.

I can understand anyone who is using a Direct X 9 video card, and has less than a gig of RAM wanting to stay well away from Vista for now. There isn’t much point in upgrading to Vista if your hardware isn’t going to take advantage of it.

However, new versions of Windows have nearly always run slower than past versions. That’s why the usual answer to help new MS programs run faster is “add more ram.” I don’t like this approach either to be honest, but if you have reasonably new hardware it makes sense to take advantage of it. You might as well have that extra eye candy turned on if it isn’t going to have a serious hit on performance. Especially if games like Crysis look more impressive.

Direct X 10 could have possibly been released as an add on for XP… but why would Microsoft give four years of work away for free? Admittedly Direct X 10 is the main reason why I’m interested in installing Vista (along with the better security features), and we won’t be seeing many games which take advantage of this new API for a while, but if games become better (in not just graphics, but stability, compatibility, etc) then I’m all for it. With modern hardware, a few frames per second less is not going to be very noticeable.

Whilst XP is currently a decent gaming platform, it could be a lot better. The fact that XP runs by default as an administrator is a huge security risk. Most XP applications were not designed to be run as a restricted user, which will hopefully change since Vista runs as a limited user by default.

I actually laughed a lot at this, very good comeback kudos my friend kudos.

Did Ken Kutagari actually say this?

PS3 is “for consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else.”

Jimkemon: … 4817#44817

nice review solo
i will get vista once most things are compatable, but at the moment windows XP does everything i want right now so i don’t really have a need to change

when (if) i get a new computer i will probably install it… (DX10 + crysis mmmmm)