Stardock: PC gaming is about to break free of 'poisonous' decade-old standards

By Stephen Totilo on
microsoft, report, directx, pc gaming, 64-bit, stardock, kotaku, 32 bit, strategy

Every year, the people at PC developer Stardock (Sins of a Solar Empire) release a report to tell their customers and fans how they're doing. Here's the 2013 edition [PDF]. But before you hop over there, check this out:

The report usually includes some interesting analysis about the state of PC gaming. A standout chunk from this year's report discusses a decade-in-the-making move forward for PC games:

For strategy gamers, the last few years have been a mixed blessing. There have been some great titles released but the innovation in strategy games has been diminishing. This is not the result of a lack of game design or inventive thinking. The problem stems from a catastrophic decision made at Microsoft: not giving DirectX 10 to Windows XP users

Microsoft continuing to sell 32-bit versions of Windows well after the hardware stopped being natively 32-bit has held back PC game development immensely.

Game developers have been stuck with DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory for the past decade. While this hasn’t harmed first person shooters (they only have to manage a handful of objects at once), it has been poisonous to other genres. Next time you’re playing an RPG in first person with no party you can refer to DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory as a big reason for that.

With DirectX 11 we can go to town with shader anti-aliasing and lowering the development capability requirements on having a multi-core based simulation (right now, nearly all of a game’s simulation occurs on 1 thread on 1 core). And with 64-bit, we can fit a lot more stuff into memory.

There are whole classes of games waiting to be made that require these kinds of advances. Luckily, after a decade long wait, we are nearing critical mass. The days of games supporting 32-bit OSes is, thankfully, coming to an end. DirectX 10 as a minimum requirement has also arrived.

Sounds good to me. My PC's more than ready for this new status quo. Yours?

Republished with permission. Stephen Totilo is an editor at Kotaku.

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