I have many people asking me whether Windows Vista is suitable for gaming.
I suppose to use that as the title for this post, but I decided to change it. The reason being, whether you like it or not, Windows Vista is here to stay and will eventually replace Windows XP. Rather than discussing whether Windows Vista is suitable for gaming, it would be more worthwhile discussing why Vista is going to replace WinXP and become the next gaming platform.
Taking a look at the multi billion gaming industry, it is not hard to see that 90% of the games are designed to play in Windows. It is obvious that Microsoft benefits the most out of this. As such, it would be foolish of Microsoft if they were to make their latest generation of OS unsuitable for gaming.
If you ever study Vista in details, it is easy to see that Vista is really built with gaming in mind. Here’s why:
1. DirectX 10
Without a doubt, Vista’s latest DirectX 10 technology is changing how the game is designed in the future. Microsoft discarded its DirectX 9 architecture and rebuilt DirectX 10 from the ground up. Its newer shader model allows game designers to create game with higher graphical quality.
In addition, DX10 also has more rigidly defined specifications, which means more consistency among the various hardware. Rather than worrying about the compatibility of the hardware, game designers can now focus more on the features they want to implement.
As compare to DX9, DX10 also has a better resources management and load balancing between the CPU and GPU. More graphical calculation are now offloaded to the GPU, which means faster gaming performance without increasing the CPU load.
2. Game Explorer
Windows users should be very familiar with the Windows Explorer where you can manage your file and data easily. There is also the Internet Explorer that Microsoft incorporate in its OS since Win98. In Vista, Microsoft includes a Game Explorer to enable the users to easily manage their games. Players can now install, organize, launch, and remove all of their games all in the Game Explorer. Plus, game-related information such as publisher, developer, website addresses, and game ratings can also be shown on the Game Explorer.
3. ‘Game For Windows’ (GFW) Branding
Since the launch of Vista, Microsoft has been actively promoting the ‘Game For Windows‘ brand. All game has to meet the following standard in order to receive the GFW tag:
- Quality. Games have to pass Microsoft performance and reliability standards.
- Compatibility. Games must be able to run on both XP and Vista, including both 32 and 64 bit editions. Other compatibility includes Microsoft XBOX 360 controller for Windows, including the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows, widescreen resolutions and more.
- Safety features. Game must be able to support the Vista parental control features, which gives parents more control over the type of game their children play.
- Easy to Play. Games must be easy to install, find, remove and most importantly, incorporate into Game Explorer
4. Games for Windows LIVE
This GFW LIVE is an extension of the Xbox 360 LIVE. What it does is to provide interoperability between the Xbox 360 and Windows Vista platforms. This means that Vista gamers can now play against Xbox 360 gamers in real time.
5. Native Support for Xbox 360 Controller
Vista includes the native support for Xbox 360 controller, which means users can now have a larger choices of gaming controller. Simply plug in the Xbox 360 controller to your Windows Vista PC’s USB connector, and you’re ready to go. New accessories include the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows. This allows you to connect the Xbox 360 wireless controller, wireless headset, and wireless racing wheel to your PC.
When Vista first launched, there was not a single DX 10 graphics card and game around. This explains why there is a lot of uncertainty and argument of using Vista as a gaming platform. With the launch of DX10 graphics card by Nvidia and ATI, along with the newer generation of DX10 game (Crysis, Company of Heroes), gaming in Vista has only just started.