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How 'Games for Windows' Will Change PC Gaming

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the branding-makes-the-grass-grow-brand-brand-brand dept.

PC Games (Games) 392

Joystiq has a short piece up talking with Windows (GFW) Marketing Director Kevin Unangst and PR Manager Michael Wolf about the future of the 'Games for Windows' initiative. With the launch of Vista, Microsoft is making a big push to turn PC games into a 'console-like' cohesive brand. Instead of relying on the good name of individual publishers to sell titles, Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo. Along with the new gamer-centric features in Vista, and the tie-in to Xbox 360 with 'Live Anywhere', this is meant to reinvigorate the PC games market for the sometimes not-so-savvy consumer. From the article: "By making gaming a priority in the Vista experience, Microsoft is molding a powerful pairing of the Games for Windows and Xbox 360 brands. To some extent, this is based on a hope that Live Anywhere will be embraced by GFW developers and publishers, pulling Xbox Live (and your Gamertag) outside of the 'Box, in turn encouraging an unrivaled virtual community. But there are simpler touches that also spark our interest. For example, start up Vista's Minesweeper, connect your 360 controller, and enjoy a subtle rumble each time you slip up. It's the melding with the familiar that will drive new and lost consumers to the Games for Windows brand."

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392 comments

If they can pull it off... (2, Interesting)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292072)

Anything that brings the usability of a console with the flexibility of a PC together is a good thing in my book. An XBox Live system for the PC+XBox would be welcome too.

Re:If they can pull it off... (5, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292164)

Anything that brings the usability of a console with the flexibility of a PC together is a good thing in my book.

But ultimately that would just turn PC gaming into second-rate consoles.

Personally I'd like to see the exact opposite -- PC gaming that is more appropriate for a PC. For instance windowed gaming: There are a tremendous number of games that can only play in fullscreen mode, yet I like the ability to hop between applications without a time sucking, crash-inducing schism, not to mention that I like to see all of my other windows.

Windowed Gaming (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292280)

Personally I'd like to see the exact opposite -- PC gaming that is more appropriate for a PC. For instance windowed gaming:

The only game I can think of at the moment that really makes use of a windowing environment is Angband [thangorodrim.net] . Ironically, most versions use ASCII graphics.

The basic versions I've seen tend to have one 80x24 window for the map, another for the inventory, etc.

Re:If they can pull it off... (3, Insightful)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292804)

I would also like to see more "light" games that are less graphic-intense and more *gameplay* oriented.

However, the two are not going to be mixed anytime soon. Windowed games are going to be less performant, simply because you're going to be operating your desktop at a much higher resolution than you're going to be playing your game (unless you have an uber-card that can do 1900x1440 at 120fps, in which case your game window might not *fit* on your desktop).

Re:If they can pull it off... (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292214)

Anything that brings the usability of a console with the flexibility of a PC together is a good thing in my book. An XBox Live system for the PC+XBox would be welcome too.

Honestly, I think Microsoft has the right idea except they're only 10 years too late. 10 years ago, in the wake of Window's 95, everyone wanted someone to make PC gaming a more user friendly experience that didn't require endless patches and work to play games; today if people want something that is inexpensive and easily plays games they're going to buy a console without even considering a PC.

Re:If they can pull it off... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292442)

everyone wanted someone to make PC gaming a more user friendly experience that didn't require endless patches and work to play games; today if people want something that is inexpensive and easily plays games they're going to buy a console without even considering a PC.

Ah, but with the online capabilities of the latest generation of consoles, the joy of endless patching is coming to consoles too. You ain't seen nothing yet.

Re:If they can pull it off... (2, Interesting)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293078)

No, they did this 10 years ago - they're just folowing SOP, rehash what's been done but call it new.

Gaming 10 years ago (specifically for Windows) had online communities. Remember DOOM? Duke Nukem? The Star Wars games?

When IE4 hit the playing field, coupled with the Zone (the MS online community) it was a booming community.

This is just market spin to keep mindset so that the Windows platform is synonymous with games and gamers will not venture off elsewhere.

The casual gamer does not care what platform he plays on. He cares only if his chess game will work.

Re:If they can pull it off... (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292218)

It will never be done right under windows though.

'Games for Windows' Will Change PC Gaming (-1, Troll)

master_kaos (1027308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292076)

Wow, how fascinating. Who would of thought new games will change PC Gaming.

Embrace and extend (3, Funny)

GodHead (101109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292086)

Brilliant stragety. Worked wonders for the borg.

Until that one lady captain made them emo.

Re:Embrace and extend (0, Offtopic)

wojtalsd (1005693) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292172)

The band godhead has been around for years... Atleast 6 years that I know of.

Re:Embrace and extend (1, Offtopic)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292222)

Until that one lady captain made them emo.

Do not forget Hugh. [wikipedia.org]

He brought the concept of individuality to the Borg. And I just don't have the energy to discuss Lore's [wikipedia.org] role.

LK

oh boy (5, Funny)

SydBarrett (65592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292122)

Forget Minesweeper, I want multiplayer solitaire with voice chat.

Re:oh boy (4, Interesting)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292258)

Is it just me, or is minesweeper with a controller horribly unappealing? Its a timed game, with small little boxes to click. A gamepad doesn't seem up to the challenge. Especially since there will be a mouse already attached connected to the computer.

Re:oh boy (5, Funny)

David Nabbit (924807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292868)

Is it just me, or is minesweeper with a controller horribly unappealing? Its a timed game, with small little boxes to click. A gamepad doesn't seem up to the challenge. Especially since there will be a mouse already attached connected to the computer.
It doesn't say that you use the controller to play minesweeper. You just use the mouse, put the controller somewhere else, and "enjoy a subtle rumble each time you slip up."

Re:oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293808)

I think you meant "every time you 'slip up'"

Re:oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292846)

Well, I would enjoy multiplayer minesweeper. No, seriously!

New and lost? (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292178)

"It's the melding with the familiar that will drive new and lost consumers to the Games for Windows brand."

So they have given up on all the current gamers, eh?

Besides that amazingly stupid thing to say, which I'm sure was more of a slip-of-the-tongue-while-trying-imitate-Nintendo, PC games have always been wildly different. Trying to make them somehow the same by making them all use the same box design is crazy. (Same meaning moreso than they already are, considering they are all the same shape and size, etc etc.) Requiring the logos to be the same spot, and the requirements in the same spot, etc etc will only stifle the creativity of the box designers. It will not somehow create a community for pc gamers that didn't exist before and draw in people that have been resistant to PC gaming.

Those people DO NOT CARE.

If you can build a Wiimote for PC and not get sued, THEN you can probably get some non-gamers to care. (Or another suitably wonderful and fun controller.)

Re:New and lost? (5, Funny)

bhodikhan (894485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292538)

Maybe a Wimote shaped like a small chair? A least Balmer would have something to throw around while he's playing.

Re:New and lost? (2, Interesting)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292750)

If you have to link into Live and use the features of Live (sorry gamespy) they might get me to pay attention when I look at a game. "Will this game support pain-free multiplayer set-up? Yehp, it's got that logo thing.. good to go."

-GiH

Re:New and lost? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293652)

Yeah, as I just said in the other reply, I didn't RTFA. This GfW campaign isn't what the summary says at all. This looks like something worthwhile after all.

Re:New and lost? (5, Insightful)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293518)

They're not talking about those people.

Most likely, they're talking about the rapidly-growing "casual gamers" crowd.

They want a super-smooth and polished purchase, install, and play path for casual gamers. They want an experience as reliable and smooth as that of purchasing a game for a console, but for a computer with Windows installed.

On a console, the hardware is basically identical. The OS software is basically identical. The controllers are standardized, and perfectly regular.

There is never any ambiguity, in a Nintendo Wii game, about what the "(A)" button refers to, and what the "[B]" button refers to. The same on a PS2 controller, with an X, a triangle, and so on. The game developers know exactly how everything is laid out.

There are never install problems, you just put the disk in, and it works. If it doesn't work, it's because the disk is bad. There are very simple decision trees at work here.

When you're in the store, looking for the Wii games, there's no difficulty finding them. Not only are the sectioned, but all the titles have the same look and feel. Hoards of consumer psychologists have found out that Brands Work.

They want to make it possible for there to be "Windows Games," which work on Windows just like N64 games work on an N64. Platform, platform, platform.

It's a sensible strategy.

They're not talking about games that hard core gamers play. They're not talking about your community. They are talking about a super-fast growing market segment. Businesses love super-fast growing markets, it's where all the action in determining what the landscape will look like is. Things that don't grow are basically set in their patterns, and change is only made very slowly, unless the market is being torn apart by some obsoleting force.

Re:New and lost? (4, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293614)

Until I read your post, I had not considered that the summary might be completely stupid. I'm not sure what I was thinking.

Basically, when it said "Instead of relying on the good name of individual publishers to sell titles, Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo." I think it meant it. There's nothing like that in the article. Nothing.

Instead, the article is about a 'branding' scheme by Microsoft where they will certify that the game meets certain standards and functionality, and can wear their logo in return.

I'm interested in that.

I was not at all interested in MS making every single game publisher wear their logo if they want it to work on Vista, with nothing in return for said Monopoly.

I should have RTFA.

Re:New and lost? (1)

GodaiYuhsaku (543082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293636)

You do realize that there are drivers out there for the Wiimote?

It isn't 100% (I haven't found numchuck support) but the wiimote itself is useable.

www.wiili.org

Re:New and lost? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293696)

Requiring the logos to be the same spot, and the requirements in the same spot, etc etc will only stifle the creativity of the box designers.
I think the customers are more important than the box designer. If anything, it's simple design. I would like to see gaming publishers act more like CD and movie publishers: release games on Tuesdays, not whenever they ship. While a $30-$60 console/handheld game may not be an easy impulse purchase like a CD or movie, it makes sense for new games to be out on that day, and not on some unknown schedule that relies on shipping routes.

I can see the marketing slogan now... (5, Funny)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292216)

"Trust us."

Another Tactic to Discourage Multi-Platform Titles (5, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292228)

This is yet another tactic from Microsoft to discourage the development of multi-platform titles by tying games to Windows even more.

Re:Another Tactic to Discourage Multi-Platform Tit (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292556)

Yah think?

One of the top reasons people cite when they reconsider moving to another platform is the unavailability of the games they like, or the reality that the games don't become available until months later. That's an advantage MS would like to preserve. Every game written for DirectX 10 / Vista rather than OpenGL / multiplatform is a step in that direction, and every effort to make OpenGL a second-class 3D API on Vista is too.

We've see where this will lead... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292900)

Share and Enjoy!

Re:Another Tactic to Discourage Multi-Platform Tit (1)

alexhard (778254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292992)

This is yet another tactic from Microsoft to discourage the development of multi-platform titles by tying games to Windows even more.
Which, of course, is a Good Thing (TM)! If games today weren't made both for the PC and the consoles, maybe they would be a bit less retarded..Or maybe even have usable interfaces!


PS. Yes, it's Oblivion I'm talking about.

Re:Another Tactic to Discourage Multi-Platform Tit (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293272)

This is yet another tactic from Microsoft to discourage the development of multi-platform titles by tying games to Windows even more.
Which, of course, is a Good Thing (TM)! If games today weren't made both for the PC and the consoles, maybe they would be a bit less retarded..Or maybe even have usable interfaces!

I do believe the parent was talking about Windows/Mac/Linux type of multi-platform, not PC/console.

Re:Another Tactic to Discourage Multi-Platform Tit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293730)

This is yet another tactic from Microsoft to discourage the development of multi-platform titles by tying games to Windows even more.
Which, of course, is a Good Thing (TM)! If games today weren't made both for the PC and the consoles, maybe they would be a bit less retarded..Or maybe even have usable interfaces!

I do believe the parent was talking about Windows/Mac/Linux type of multi-platform, not PC/console.

Who cares then?

Re:Another Tactic to Discourage Multi-Platform Tit (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293496)

That's an interesting point. Would a Windows/Mac game (packaged in one box) be eligible for the "Games for Windows" label? Or would the studio have to choose between separate packaging and forgoing the premium brand?

I don't know if this is gonna change much... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292242)

The whole games for Windows isn't introducing a whole lot. The ratings system to compare your hardware to game requirements is great, but not for me, i can read the requirements and know what my system can and can't do, but good for teh newb. I can't imagine hooking up a 360 controller to my PC as one of the features of PC gaming over consoles is the fact that a PC gets to use a mouse/kb and the console is stuck with a controller. The joy of getting a rumble cause I messed up in Minesweeper isnt' go to hit me as it's not very likely that I'm going to play minesweeper. I dunno about this, I thought the new Direct X was really the only interesting thing about gaming in the MS world.

Re:I don't know if this is gonna change much... (1)

wilgibson (933961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292824)

I can't imagine hooking up a 360 controller to my PC as one of the features of PC gaming over consoles is the fact that a PC gets to use a mouse/kb and the console is stuck with a controller.

I actually have a 360 controller just so I can use it on my PC. While I don't use it for most games, I have found it works great for games like Phantasy Star Universe.

Windows games (5, Insightful)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292244)

Of course MS wants to emphasize gaming on their OS. Many people, myself included, would never touch Windows again if it weren't for the games... But I find this stupid: "To earn the GFW brand, a title must comply with certain Microsoft-tested specifications, including ... compatibility with the Xbox 360 controller." Another example of MS bullying game publishers to adopt its standards. Do all PC gamers have an Xbox or like its controller? Why not other PC-only gamepads that might work better? Besides, what true gamer would limit their FPS experience with a friggn' console controller? But simplifying install (and uninstall) and system reqs makes sense. Too bad it took so damn long.

Re:Windows games (1, Insightful)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292570)

I've been running games on the PC for at least twenty years, and I've tried a shitload of gamepads. In all that time, none has been decent. Not a single one. I'm quite happy about MS finally forcing a standard here. The Xbox controller is a hell of a lot better than decent, and it's not hard for Logitech or any other producer to create a pad using the X360-controllers control scheme.

Great point (1)

sandmaninator (884661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292798)

Also, there are many games for Windows that were originally developed with a console-style control in mind. The two I've played are the GTA series and Lego Star Wars. A quality, standards-based controller for those console-port-type games would be great.

Re:Windows games (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293054)

While the Xbox360 controller is great, the D-pad plain old sucks.

Re:Windows games (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292654)


Coder: I am not going to dumb down mouse control in my games to make it GFW compatible.
PHB: If the game is GFW compatible we will sell more so do it!

Re:Windows games (4, Insightful)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292776)

I think one of the reasons they're targeting the Xbox 360 controller is because of the mess that exists currently. Currently, button assignments differ wildly for gamepads. I think Microsoft is hoping Logitech and other vendors will adopt a similar layout, at least with regards to the naming of the buttons, etc. It also gives developers something to target as well, so that one game doesn't have the fire button as button 1, while another has it on button 7, because the developers tested with a controller from different manufacturers. That would even help with current games, because at least the gamer is going to get the same button configuration between games.

Besides, what true gamer would limit their FPS experience with a friggn' console controller?

I don't think MS is going to remove the ability for developers to target the keyboard and mouse, I think they just want the gamepad to work as well, which isn't too bad of an idea - giving the user a choice is always a good idea.

Re:Windows games (4, Informative)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292800)

Yep.

I'm pretty sure that everyone I know, friends and family alike, would drop Windows for Linux in a heartbeat if the following two conditions were met:

1. Device manufacturers (especially printer, scanner, and other external device manufacturers) started shipping easy-to-install Linux drivers on a CD.

2. All new games ran on Linux

That's it.

They'd switch to OSX, for that matter, given that the above conditions were met for it. Satisfy those two requirements, and Windows either dies or is forced to change (and probably get MUCH cheaper) to make itself relevant.

Those two items are the only things maintaining Windows' dominance. The OS would become about as relevant as MS-DOS were it to lose those two exclusivities; that is, it would be a legacy OS. MS probably knows this, and the last thing they want is for the hardware or gaming markets to become more open to other operating systems. This move has nothing to do with anything but locking in the gaming market, no matter what PR they come up with to promote it.

Re:Windows games (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293120)

I really don't think businesses care about #2, and #1 can almost always be controlled by avoiding certain hardware. The real problem is sheer momentum. There's a ton of software that's only written for Windows, because the relevant businesses only run Windows. And they only run Windows because that's what the software requires. If you break that circle, *then* Windows's dominance might end. Games don't really factor into it.

Re:Windows games (1)

quintesse (654840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293660)

On the other hand all the "research" being done on the TCO of Windows versus Linux always point out that training your entire workforce to use Linux is a large cost factor. If everybody would be using Linux at home (come on, just TRY to imagine it at least!) that would be one less reason not to introduce Linux in your company. Of course the very people that make those kind of decisions would be using Linux at home as well and would be far more amenable to the very idea of using Linux in the first place.

Re:Windows games (1)

dgrati (877339) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293658)

I don't want to add a "me too" comment but I'm a true story of failed Linux Migration.
I deleted everything on my home computer and moved to Suse (my first time exposure).

I was in awe of the interface and the wealth of customization available for the interface.

But...I'm an avid gamer and couldn't:

1- Get my ATI Radeon 9700 Pro work flawlessly with the computer.
2- Get wine to play games.
3- Couldn't find my fav titles for Linux. Quake 3 is a bit too old now. :)

But worry not, an old PC is now a perm Linux machine AND an additional hardrive gives me the linux exposure.
Get games to work on Linux I would switch in a heart beat! I kid you not.

Re:Windows games (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293704)

Those two items are the only things maintaining Windows' dominance. The OS would become about as relevant as MS-DOS were it to lose those two exclusivities; that is, it would be a legacy OS.

Oh, totallllly. Cause, you know, all those corporations that use Windows as their standardized desktop, e-mail serving, PIM, and databasing solutions, not to mention the OEM contracts that Dell, gateway, IBM, etc have with Microsoft account for like, what, 2% of total sales for Windows? Most Windows users are DEFINITELY home users and not corporate users looking for a unified office computing environment. And, pft, government DEFINITELY doesn't use windows in the majority of it's offices and computing environments. So, like, if microsoft DIDN'T focus on the gaming/home user market, they TOTALLY would fail as a company. Definitely the volume of gaming titles and factory compatibility with new hardware is the ONLY thing keeping Windows relevant in the modern business world. The ONLY thing. For sure. Definitely. you're TOTALLY right. COMPLETELY right. One Hundred and Ten Percent right. Yup.

Re:Windows games (1)

Sefert (723060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293832)

I think this is very insightful. Unlike one of the trolls that replied to you - gamers drive change. They're usually running the latest computers and the latest software, and they're the ones getting hit up around the water cooler for advice. Even by the boss. I used to be an I.T. guy for years, maintaining a large multicity WAN, and I probably would've used more linux in that network setup had I been more comfortable with it. But - all my education was MS based. Would I have pushed to get put on Linux courses if Linux had been a hard core gaming system? Damn straight. Would I have pushed it to my friends? Absolutely. But those two main factors you mentioned always stopped me.

Wow (3, Funny)

ipooptoomuch (808091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292264)

I have waited almost ten years for them to put rumble support into minesweeper! oh boy!!! I can barely contain myself.

Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292294)

This is your wake up call. MS intends to leverage their OS monopoly to give themselves and advantage in the gaming console market. This also provides another layer of defense around their core, OS monopoly. This is bad news for all of you, Nintendo, Sony, and Apple. They're also trying to build out DirectX tools to make the PC and Xbox a one stop shop. This is their classic strategy and it works, unless the existing players form a good, open standards based partnership. You're all influential OpenGL houses. You all have a vested interest here. Sony has already moved towards making OpenGL models key to their gaming platform. Now is the time for all of you to abandon trying to build lock-in strategies in this field and start making a concerted effort to interoperate. Build a game development toolset that makes OpenGL games on Windows, PS3, Wii, and the Mac a single entity. Beat MS at their own game. Give Blizzard and Id a call. You've got one shot at this guys, and if you fail your media enterprises are going to be easy targets. Get to it!

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292522)

the thing is, everyone wants to be M$ with regards to the OS and game market, they all want to lock people in so that they can't leave. Even the nice guys of the market won't open up everything. Just leave those damn closed source games for PCs - you have genuine choice here in a way that you don't do with consoles. Look at all the great open source games that are out there;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_open_source_g ames [wikipedia.org] - nexuiz is ace, but you're not just limited to FPSs, get nethack aswell... and some other great ones too

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292690)

the thing is, everyone wants to be M$ with regards to the OS and game market, they all want to lock people in so that they can't leave.

Sure they do, but if they're trying it while going up against a company that has a monopoly they can leverage they'll lose. Sony is part of a cartel and has some leverage to bring to bear. Apple has a near monopoly on iPods they can exploit (and nothing to lose from interoperability). Even so, unless they work together to take shares in a competitive market, they'll fall further and further behind as isolationist entities.

Even the nice guys of the market won't open up everything. Just leave those damn closed source games for PCs

They don't need to open up very much at all, simply to collaborate on an open standard toolset. None of them have a lot to lose by this and mostly they keep technologies closed out of reflexive secrecy.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292588)

You must be on crack if you think that Microsoft's push of DirectX will sway the console wars. Game studios which put out multi-platform games are not interested in abandoning their multi-platform market in favour of the oh-so-lucritive PC and XBox market. There is much more money to be made in selling the same game on numerous platforms instead of only 2.

The only explanation for your reasoning is that it will simplify development - but the only one who is having trouble with their dev kits (at this point) is Sony, so your argument goes out the window. No pun intended.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293156)

You must be on crack if you think that Microsoft's push of DirectX will sway the console wars.

Yeah, people have said the same thing about other markets they embraced.

Game studios which put out multi-platform games are not interested in abandoning their multi-platform market in favour of the oh-so-lucritive[sic] PC and XBox market.

MS already owns a lot of those game studios. They will buy more as they need to. And they don't need to change the minds of entrenched players, if they can win over the new development shops. Already a lot of games are developed with DirectX tools, simply because the tools and skills are cheap and easy. Some of those new companies move on to make good, multi-platform games, but some have enough important people with a DirectX-only skill set that they stay with it out of momentum. Every one of them, is just that many more Windows/xbox exclusive titles that contributes to their win. Maybe it won't happen with the Xbox360, or even the next generation of consoles, but it only needs to hit critical mass once, and then it is theirs.

There is much more money to be made in selling the same game on numerous platforms instead of only 2.

There are different types of costs. There is overall cost and their is up front investment cost. If a new company wants to make a game and they can cheaply use existing DirectX talent and kit the Xbox and Windows, they'll do it. Hell, a whole lot of small time companies already do so and all they hit is the Windows market. Unless they have a toolset that competes and lets them hit a similar number of end users for similar or lower upfront cost, this number will slowly grow.

The only explanation for your reasoning is that it will simplify development - but the only one who is having trouble with their dev kits (at this point) is Sony, so your argument goes out the window.

Game developers always complain about dev kits, for every platform. Anything that makes it easier, or cheaper in the short run is a real competitor. This is a proven market strategy and it will be benefitting MS. The only question is how much will it benefit them and will it be countered.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (3, Insightful)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292660)

Dammit! Stop comparing DirectX to OpenGL!!!! You can't!! If you are going to compare OpenGL to something compare it to Direct3D

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292772)

Stop comparing DirectX to OpenGL!!!! You can't!! If you are going to compare OpenGL to something compare it to Direct3D

I didn't compare the two, I made mention of them as parts of development toolkits. Neither of them constitutes such a toolkit in and of itself, but they are recognizable to the average reader, while mentioning SDL and the like and Direct3D results in a bunch of irrelevant questions.

Where have you been? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292736)

Blizzard does not care about open standards.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292738)

Sony won't listen. Notebook battery explosion made them deaf.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (1, Flamebait)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292768)

Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! This is your wake up call. MS intends to leverage their OS monopoly to give themselves and advantage in the gaming console market.

Oh no! Microsoft intends to leverage their OS monopoly in the game market, by introducing consistent labeling and experience for Windows games in Vista! Shit! The world's lost!

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292928)

... Looking back, most industry executives agreed that the singular moment that brought the "Consortium of the Willing" together was a lone post on what was then just another Internet forum, and not the brain center for the world government it is today: "The post from '99 [99BottlesOfBeerInMyF] really just got things started," says Steve Jobs, "Up until then we were kind of sitting around wondering what to do with all these piles of money we had. We knew about Microsoft and games, but we didn't have a direction to go in." John Carmack of id Software and Rocketry Superstores agrees: "It wasn't so much what he said - we figured it out pretty easily as things got started - but it was the way he said it. 'Get to it!' Man...still sends a shiver down my spine. 'Get to it!'. We weren't getting to it before, and then, after that post it was like 'ok, we need to get to it and get this done.' And that's what we did." Coming up next on Behind the Games: the fall of Microsoft, and '99's battle with fame and amphetamines.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (3, Funny)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293204)

Coming up next on Behind the Games: the fall of Microsoft, and '99's battle with fame and amphetamines.

I'm really more of a whiskey and hallucinogens kind of guy... and I'm way too ugly to be famous. They'll attribute all my hard work motivating major corporations to someone with less facial hair.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (1)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293002)

For the most part this is really a non-issue for most game developers ...

With the exception of Massive studios, most games that are developed licence a game engine from a third party vendor; large developers will choose the Doom 3, Unreal 3, or Source Engine while smaller studios will look for something less expensive (and most indies moving towards Torque or open source engines). The fact that Microsoft has made cross platform development for the XBox 360 and PC easier only means that Epic will require less time to create an engine; at the same time Epic has the resources to create an engine that works on (practically) all platforms regardless of the cost associated with it.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293374)

With the exception of Massive studios, most games that are developed licence a game engine from a third party vendor; large developers will choose...

This is true, but not all games use one of the cross-platform engines, and not all games can run on an existing engine. This move does not target existing players in the market, most of whom presumably have the sense to maintain portability. This targets new development shops that want to get started on the cheap. Every year there are dozens of mostly unsuccessful and a few successful games that are developed entirely with DirectX based technologies because of the low up-front cost. The successful ones go on to make another title, often based on the same, since most don't have the skills to do a really portable title. This provides a real edge to Windows and now the Xbox, over other consoles that aren't getting this spillover. There are a lot of Windows machines out there and a lot of DirectX developers. Combined with all the development houses MS has bought up, this is a significant influence on how many exclusive games they will get and we all know it is just one or two games that are exclusive to a platform that can really sway a buyer.

Re:Hey Sony, Nintendo, and Apple, Listen Up! (1)

Khakionion (544166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293198)

Well, the Torque game engine kinda already does that, with OpenGL no less. One codebase runs on Mac, Linux, Windows, 360, and I'm sure it could move to Wii and PS3 given sufficient motivation.

Whatever it takes, I do agree that it's time to crush D3D before it gets any more entrenched.

Considering how few consumers want Vista (3, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292308)

I'm predicting this will fail.

True, 2007 will not be the Year of Desktop Linux, but that's only because most people who won't buy Vista have no need to replace their old computers yet. Most of us will be moving games onto Mac or consoles, and abandoning the Windows desktop or laptop.

Re:Considering how few consumers want Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17292908)

Nobody is that desperate to move to a Mac for gaming. It's an even more locked in platform than Vista!

Console emulation (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292322)

I know that this will never happen, but it would be awesome if MS could release a PC addon, say an optical drive that could read and play 360 games on your PC. I think they would stand to gain far more than they lose. But what do I know, Im not a marketroid.

Re:Console emulation (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292700)

Way a drive when xbox games use the same dvd disk as any other dvd.
You need a pci / pci-e card with the xbox cpu on it.

Re:Console emulation (1)

Clever7Devil (985356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292790)

On the surface it sounds like a stellar idea. "We make money on software, and lose money on hardware; let's sell the software to people that already own hardware!" In a way they already do this by porting titles to Windows. Of course, this doesn't happen until the game has been out for months(years) on the console. Even when a port does occur, the multiplayer is generally seperate. (This is understandable in FPS's, controllers will never beat equally skilled mice) There is also an issue of hardware compatibility. A game built for XBox 360 only ever has to run on XBox 360.

The number one issue keeping this from happening is also the most insidious: It's just easier to pirate software that you can read from a computer.

Re:Console emulation (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292888)

How do you not realize that the Xbox 360 uses DVD media? They could theoretically sell a PCI board that contained the CPU and a software package that would run the game on any GPU, but why? That's a lot of development cost for something that's only usable by geeks. Just spend the $300-400 on the damn console, and get the benefits of being able to hook it up to your TV and use it as a DVD player.

awesome! (1)

ajenteks (943860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292376)

For example, start up Vista's Minesweeper, connect your 360 controller, and enjoy a subtle rumble each time you slip up.

Lo-ooh-sing never felt so go-ooh-od!

Changes little (4, Informative)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292460)

"Redmond is requiring that all titles use similar packaging and a distinctive logo."

The inclusion of a distinctive logo doesn't change the need to turn the box over and read the fine print for "required" and "reccomended" hardware to play the game. Console gaming works because a Wii is a Wii is a Wii.

Re:Changes little (1, Interesting)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292764)

Absolutely. What would be interesting if there was a certain minimum performance (say, 40fps average, never dropping below 30fps for more than a second) required for a minimum hardware spec. So if your hardware is GFW-certified and the game is GFW-certified, you know it won't run/look like crap. That would be worth doing.

Re:Changes little (3, Interesting)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293396)

Absolutely. What would be interesting if there was a certain minimum performance (say, 40fps average, never dropping below 30fps for more than a second) required for a minimum hardware spec. So if your hardware is GFW-certified and the game is GFW-certified, you know it won't run/look like crap. That would be worth doing.
That couldn't work. On a Windows PC, the hardware is not the only thing that detemines the FPS you get in the game. You musn't forget the horde of spyware, viruses and other malware running in the background eating up memory and CPU.

Re:Changes little (2, Informative)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292864)

I think the System Rating in Vista is supposed to assist with this - when you install Vista it assigns your system a rating, I believe games are supposed to be labelled with the minimum System Rating required to play them. Sure, it's not as simple as a console game that's going to just work, but it's better than before.

Re:Changes little (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293312)

The System Rating tool is still buggy and can use some work like there may a game that needs a 4 cpu but only a 2 gpu or there may be a game that needs a 2 cpu but a 4 gpu and this tool makeing the part that has the lowest number the number for your entire system.

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060529-6934 .html [arstechnica.com]
http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/02/16/vista_computers_ to_have_5_performance_tiers/ [tgdaily.com]
http://www.microsoftmonitor.com/archives/2006/05/v ista_system_ra.html [microsoftmonitor.com]

Re:Changes little (1)

guitaristx (791223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293770)

a Wii is a Wii is a Wii.
+1, Inevitable Parent to Lots of "+5, Funny" posts.

Great live needed for on line play (3, Informative)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292590)

Pc gamers may not like have to pay for live to get online play with pc games and that also means
NO MODS when playing online.
Being forced to use M$ servers for on line play would be a bad thing.

ID software games may be forced to drop mac, linux, and opengl If they want to be part of this.

"Gaming for Windows" disingenuous (4, Informative)

andphi (899406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292610)

Why don't they just call it, "You really should own an XBox 360. Go buy one"?

FTFA: "Computer Gaming World was also renamed as Games For Windows to help drive Microsoft's new brand."

Also, it's good to know there's another gaming rag I can safely ignore.

In summation, I really enjoy watching people I don't trust announce what they'll do to shove things I don't want down my throat.

I can see another advantage to this (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17292644)

By doing this you can make all the games the same size and possibly smaller then they are now. The big advantage of console games is they fit into such a small space you can fit many times more games then you can the large unwieldy boxes PC games still come in. While this is somewhat of a security measure I think the corporations at large would be willing to trade a higher theft risk vs being able to put out more games.

Maybe with this change the EB games near me will have more then just a small off-center rack of PC titles.

Re:I can see another advantage to this (1)

Carbon Copied (909743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293256)

What the hell are you talking about?

I have a shelf full of PC games and they're exactly the same size as the dvd cases consoles use.

Where the hell do you live that they are using those old big boxes for PC games?

Re:I can see another advantage to this (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293868)

Indiana. Now we can say we have big PC game boxes and corn!

Re:I can see another advantage to this (1)

vecctor (935163) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293274)

This has already happened, really. Back in the day the boxes for PC games were huge, but now they are pretty small - about the size of a DVD case but maybe twice as thick.

Monopoly Abuse Again (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293032)

So MS is once again leveraging it's monopoly on the desktop to gain market share where they can't dominate without (game consoles). Wasn't there an antitrust case or something?

The first thing that comes to mind... (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293086)

...would be a headline from 1995, or possibly something circa 1989... NOT 2007. Microsoft needs to get its head out of its ass, and realize that people are not going to see Vista as a revolutionary new tool that will change their lives. NO operating system has ever been THAT important to layman. Even Windows 95, as big as it was, changed gaming only slightly... most game developers, back then, still prefered to code for DOS, as they could get more power out of it. It wasn't until about a third into the life-cycle of Windows98 that a large percentage of games were being made for Windows. I remember back in the "Whistler" days, Microsoft said the same thing, the next OS was going to revolutionize gaming, make it more convenient, and draw huge new demographics in. Eh, PC gaming has grown, sure, but GAMING has grown, and PC gaming has actually grown far less than console gaming in the last 5 years. Anyone who's not an uber-gamer is just sick of compatability issues, and other inconveniences. Also, the bottom line is that anything in the "entertainment room" is going to dominate gaming, over anything that is in the office, until people feel able to sit back in an armchair or sofa and play a PC game, consoles will win.

PS3 and linux? (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293096)

I am sort of hoping that with the PS3's use of open standards (sorry for the marketspeak), games would be relatively easily ported to Linux. Sony could release a set of libraries, and make porting games from PS3 to any system, including Linux or Mac, reasonably easy. Changing includes and optimizations and target system in your makefile, and without too much trouble, you have a game for all platforms.

Re:PS3 and linux? (2, Funny)

Zorque (894011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293320)

I agree. Sony is trying to lose money these days, why not take it a step further?

They've tried this before (1)

Kasis (918962) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293114)

I'm not anti-microsoft by any means. But does anybody else remember the Multimedia PC spec MS came out with in the mid-90's? MPC1 for example was a 386 or greater with 2MB RAM and a 2x speed CD-ROM, MPC2 was a 486 with 4MB RAM and a 4x CD-ROM. Might not have remembered it quite right but it was meant to simplify and standardise PC specs.

Everybody ignored it then, too :)

Spend $2K to play console games? (2, Insightful)

HycoWhit (833923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293148)

Wait--Microsoft wants me to spend $2K on a PC running Vista so I'll have a better gaming platform? Personally I have no desire to upgrade to Vista. XP works just fine plus there are no worries about DRM or Microsoft's wonky securtiy code.

Has M$ done something to prevent a USB mouse and keyboard from being plugged into the XBox360? Why isn't the future of PC gaming a console with a mouse and keyboard?

Broader Gaming Base - Marketing Dominance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293344)


With the upcoming use of DirectX 10 and these gaming standards being pushed by Microsoft, they are setting themselves up as the platform of choice, be it Windows or XBox as the platform. "Hey come code your game with Windows or XBox and you'll have either platform coding semi-portability." or something along those lines. When they edge out other platforms of choice, then Sony, Nintendo and the others will begin to understand what anti-trust and market dominance means. Microsoft is not worrying about being the top dog right now. They have money to burn. They are, however, working the old snake machine to snuff out competition on other platforms. Game on!

360 Controller Requirement (1, Interesting)

Roceh (855826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293346)

Although it'll be nice to have a proper centralised player matching service on the pc, much like live on the 360. The biggest concern for me is the mandatory 360 controller compatiblity to get games for windows certification. For RTS games this is going to result in horid UI's which have to work with both a mouse and a controller. Also as the games will most likely be cross platform with the 360, the controller will take precedance in the UI design. So games for windows will most likely mean that all the pc gets in future is 360 ports that require a controller plugged into the pc to play decently.

Ultimately while this seems like its a bold new push for windows games, in reality I can see this reduce the distinctiveness of PC games against 360 games (the control method) and hence push more people onto the cheaper wholely owned microsoft platform ... the 360.

I love it! (2, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293366)

For years, we (tin hat specialists?) have been yelling that tying your games to DirectX = being swallowed by the MS behemoth. MS described DirectX as a (superior) API to existing technologies.

Now, finally, I feel vindicated. "Games for Windows" games will get all kinds of features that won't work on non-"Games for Windows" games.

Hopefully, this will be make OpenGL, OpenAL, SDL, etc. . . look even better (as they've been rapidly improving of late) in comparison to the DirectX suite of APIs.

Fp 8IGGA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293522)

Why feel the need to hate Microsoft so much? (5, Interesting)

ActiveNick (1039446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293562)

Seriously? Yes, I'm a Microsoft MVP, yes I'm a software architect who specializes in Microsoft .NET technologies, yes I'm a big Windows gamer, I also have an Xbox and an Xbox 360, I'm an Xbox Live subscriber, so yes, you can call me a fanboi. But it amazes me to see that in the eyes of so many readers here, Microsoft can do no right. Whatever they do, you'll see the glass half-empty. Sure they tried gaming on Windows before and the MPC spec too, and it did not work. It does not mean the idea is bad, it means the implementation is. Look at pen computing: since the late 80's many companies (other than Microsoft) tried to push for pen computing and failed utterly, whereas Microsoft decided to take a crack at it and was very successful with the Tablet PC. Sometimes the approach has to change, not the idea. Ask any entrepreneur, they know. I'm happy this is coming to Games for Windows. do not need a nice box and I can easily read specs, but I also recognize that common folks (not everyone is a geek like us guys) will find it useful, and the extra testing will only help quality. And so what if Microsoft uses their Windows dominance to help the Xbox? Look at Sony... 70% of the console market and they cannot innovate beyond a faster CPU and they have such an arrogant attitude. And if Linux is supposed to be an alternative to Windows, then it needs to have what it takes. If you say "I only play on Windows because Linux has no hardware drivers and no games, it means there is no market for these. Linux still has to get a lot better for it to be used by average folks at home on their desktops. It is a great server OS, but it just does not cut it for desktops, and to beat Microsoft, you have to build something better, no destroy Redmond. I'm open to a discussion here, but please ask yourself, is there anything that Microsoft could do as a business that would ever please you? Honestly?

Re:Why feel the need to hate Microsoft so much? (1)

Carbon Copied (909743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293738)

If they were actually making changes anyone wanted I would love microsoft. All they are doing is cementing their monopoly on PC games which anyone can tell you is no good thing.

I don't want to only be able to run the cutting edge games on Direct X 10 for vista. I don't want to have my game developers jump through hoops for brand label appeal.

The reason people dislike microsoft is they make sure people have to buy XP/Vista/whatever to do what they want. I don't blame microsoft for doing it, but i don't like it. Sure if I had directx 10, I would use it to make people buy my new operating system, but people really don't like being messed around with like that.

The reason I won't be getting Vista is because I don't want to support microsoft's attempt to control PC gaming. I don't want "live anywhere", I don't want any of the crap Microsoft are offering bar Direct X 10. Hopefully some game developers will get their act together and stop playing into Microsofts hands. I think windows are going to see a big backlash in its short sighted attempt to get everyone to buy vista.

In the end its about dishonesty.

Most gamers worth there salt dont give a crap about anything microsoft is offering bar DirectX 10, and when microsoft pretend that Vista is GOING TO REVOLUTIONISE PC GAMING, when all its doing is making DirectX 10 exclusive, then people aren't going to like it, me included.

"I'm open to a discussion here, but please ask yourself, is there anything that Microsoft could do as a business that would ever please you?"

Some people eh.

Re:Why feel the need to hate Microsoft so much? (1)

ActiveNick (1039446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293902)

Would you prefer if the OS market was segmented 25% four-way? Do you really think that all hardware and all games would be supported on all four OS? Do yo really think that games would cost $10-20 cheaper on PCs than on consoles like they are now? You would end up with some games being available for some, and others for other OS. Some would be exclusive. The smaller developers would only make the game available on one OS, ignoring the other 3.
Sure, monopoly is not great, but it also makes some things easier. PC gaming would suffer a lot more in a segmented market. Developers use DirectX because it *is* easier than coding straight to the hardware like they did for DOS. Microsoft gave us that. And DirectX 10 leverages new infrastructure in Vista, it's not a lockdown to force an upgrade.
Many people complain there are not enough incentives to upgrade to Vista, well DirectX 10 is one of them. And if Microsoft found a way to port DirectX 10 to Windows Xp, then people would complain Vista has even less values... how do you win?

Re:Why feel the need to hate Microsoft so much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293888)

I'm open to a discussion here, but please ask yourself, is there anything that Microsoft could do as a business that would ever please you? Honestly?
Switch to linux?

How microsoft Pushed Game companies to Linux.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293626)

Seriously... I see this as probably a, more than gentle, nudge against game
developers to move again look at linux as a gaming platform.

Silly silly silly silly :)

I don't care WHAT the choice is ;) If you take it away, people get upset :)

In the immortal words of Chinese Vader... (1)

traffichazard (972675) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293740)

DO NOT WANT.

I quite enjoy the "cluttered mess of disparate titles" that has provided me with entertainment more flexible and varied than anything available on any of the consoles for the past 20 years. I enjoy console gaming too, but the PC is my chance to get away from the limitations of console and vice-versa. What do current PC gamers really stand to gain by combining both sets of limitations?

I'm sick of this stupid trend of making PC games more "console-like" in an effort appeal to a wider audience and make porting to console easier. If I want to play console games, I'll play them on a damn console. Quit screwing the existing market for the benefit of a market you're trying to create.

Minesweeper with a gamepad? pass. (1)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17293772)

I own two Logitech iFeel force feedback mice (don't bother, they've been discontinued for a while) that would be ideal for something like this. I'd rather use one of those for Minesweeper than an Xbox 360 controller. Unreal Tournament was pretty fun with them. Too bad that more games didn't support it.

Granted I haven't been in the PC gaming scene for a while but I thought that the main draw was things like lots of RAM, decent graphics cards, a hard driver, and its unique keyboard/mouse controllers. Since console gaming has pretty much taken all of those with the exception of the keyboard/mouse controls, PC gaming is much like the Wii; focusing on control rather than specs.

Sticking an Xbox 360 controller into a PC is like sticking a Gamecube controller in a Wii.

Haven't bought a game in a couple of years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17293870)

Gaming has gone, in essence. I haven't bought a title in a couple of years - I was going to buy one a couple months ago (FM 2007) but realised it offered only small improvements on previous releases while taking twice as long to actually play (not through gameplay, just through how much of a resource hog it is).

Again literally tonight I was thinking about this. I have been playing Civ3 a lot the past couple of weeks (I always seem to play it a lot around the festive season for some reason). I was thinking about getting Civ4 since it has been out for a year and the price is now half sensible, but reading on wikipedia found out it installs saftedisk4. My previous experiences with that little nasty suggest it will force me to uninstall cloneCD & Daemon tools - how wonderful the feeling is when I try to play a game that I actually went out and bought with my hard earned cash and the publishers see fit to treat me like a criminal.

In short, gaming today is nothing but sub-standard sequels, resource hogs and games that simply don't entertain. While HL2 fits those bills it was a rarity in that it *was* good - but even it was tainted with the "protect (!!) our intellectual property at all costs" obsession, aka steam - and my experiences with that little "I'll just connect to the internet because I want to" piece of software stopped my getting EP1.

MS, the company that hasn't innovated anything in its history, can take over PC games if they wish to - in fact they are perfect for each other, sequel after sequel costing a fortune (both in development and consumer terms), resource hogs that are less innovative and satisfying with each iteration. Match made in heaven.

As someone who up to 2003 bought roughly 4 or 5 titles a year they have lost me, and until the gaming industry moves to a situation where the most high brow thing being produced isn't endless pathetic expansion packs for something as pathetic as the sims then I won't be buying many (if any) more.
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