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Is Windows 7 a revolution for PC gamers?

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The hype machine surrounding October’s launch of Windows 7 has come and gone, and there are still plenty of gamers yet to be sold on the direct benefits gained from shelling out for the new OS. Perhaps it’s those raw emotional scars, painfully scratched by the memory of that Vista upgrade. Or, more likely, they have yet to actually play a DirectX 11-powered game that shows off what Windows 7 is going to do for PC gaming.

Alternatively, if you have already installed Windows 7 but have still to push DirectX 11 gaming to its current, hugely-impressive limits, it’s likely that you don’t fully understand what’s under the hood of Microsoft’s new OS. Sure, it makes your PC faster, more stable and secure, gives it a bit of spit and polish with a more Mac OS X-esque look and feel, but what else has it delivered?


Above: Video walls are also supported in Windows 7

Brian Joyce of Alienware says, “Windows 7 is a must-have for PC gamers because it outperforms XP and Vista where gamers will notice it most: in games. Dell are experiencing a nearly 10% increase in select in-game benchmarks over Vista, nearly 20% quicker boot times, and full DirectX 11 support.”

Microsoft UK’s Leila Martine told us, “With Windows 7 we’ve made a lot of enhancements around general performance, which is the baseline, in terms of decreasing the overall size of the OS, making sure the memory footprint was a lot smaller, so that overall the PC is a lot snappier and things like start-up and resume times are much quicker.

“2010 and 2011 will be very good years for PC gaming. I mean, the stuff that we see coming through on console tech is all about reviving the console – stuff like Project Natal which is aiming to make Xbox 360 more accessible to a wider market. Also, it looks like the console vendors are keen to make lots of public announcements about how they are not updating their hardware over the next year. Previously there’s been a sense in which console hardware development has acted as a kind of drag or brake on PC gaming hardware development. But now with DirectX 11 you can take many of the assets from an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game and simply render them at a far higher quality than is possible on those two devices.” 

Martine holds the impressively lengthy job title of Windows Consumer Business Group Lead, which means she is the authority on what Windows 7 means for gaming. She sees the user-interface design, stability, and speed improvements as combining to make an important starting point. “Because when we start to think about the future of gaming on the Windows platform, there are so many new devices that are coming out on the market such as netbooks, touchscreen desktops, new high-end PCs, all of which bring new opportunities to PC games developers.”

Touchscreen control has been one key aspect of Windows 7 hyped by Microsoft. Martine confirms that, “In terms of incorporating touchscreen input into power gaming, our corporate team at Microsoft is continually talking to games developers about what they need and how we can work with them to help them deliver it.”


Above: Windows 7’s touchscreen controls could genuinely revolutionize gaming

What Microsoft refers to as the ‘touchscreen ecosystem’ is being developed very quickly, with the software giant promising us new and different types of touch-controlled games within the year. Details on exactly what these might be are currently scarce. Martine remains resolutely tight-lipped when pressed on plans to bring Project Natal to the PC.

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15 comments

  • Cogglesz - January 15, 2010 5:50 a.m.

    i'm still sticking with xp, its a lovely OS. personally i dont see there being any point in having 6 screens, i mean it would ruin the gameplay having a big line in the middle of the screen with another two lines horizontally. and you'd get a monitor or lcd tv the same size for a forth of the price. just fancy show off shit that any normal thinking gamer would avoid.
  • mentalityljs - January 12, 2010 5:07 a.m.

    @ aion7 I agree, i personally don't feel the need to upgrade until it's required, or until i have the money. Also, fyi there IS a 64-bit XP. It's XP Pro jsyk.
  • JohnnyMaverik - January 10, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    IDK, Windows 7 sounds great when you look at games coming up, but then you look at the games you already have and you're like... eh, can I get Deus Ex running on Windows 7? I'd rather wait until I buy a new machine that comes with it, rather than upgrade this one, that way I'll have a machine with Vista and 7, which suits me great.
  • festafreak - January 9, 2010 7:28 p.m.

    If you are in school, It may only be college/university, you can get win7 for 40 bucks or 30 american (i think). I'm in college in Canada and I went to digitalriver.com and got win7. It is microsofts digital distribution site. Do some research, it's legit. Anyways. I haven't used win7 much yet because all my 'stuff' is on vista still :( It's so hard to get an OS back to where you had your old one. But seriously... 40 bucks for win7 Pro. It's just the upgrade version, but I was able to install it on a new partition.
  • FriendlyFire - January 9, 2010 6:08 p.m.

    7 is probably the best experience I've had with Windows in a while. It's slick, stable and it works well. The GUI is far more responsive than even XP and that for me is the largest plus (well, that and having a workable 64 bit version). To those for whom 7 doesn't work, make sure you didn't use the "upgrade" option. A clean format is the only way to go for OS installs, otherwise you're just begging for issues.
  • Hobojedi - January 9, 2010 5:37 p.m.

    I'm still running XP.. I should probably upgrade soon.
  • richtaur - January 9, 2010 6:34 a.m.

    "The market for netbooks is only going to continue to grow in 2010…" not sure where you're getting that; I've been hearing there's no room in the market for netbooks anymore since the new "superphones" are almost as powerful (Nexus One, etc.). For example: http://recombu.com/news/ten-things-mobiles-have-made-or-will-make-obsolete_M11191.html
  • GameManiac - January 9, 2010 3:59 a.m.

    I can agree with loonyman978 and JustTheBoBreaker on this article. I have Vista (on an HP Pavillion dv9933cl Laptop) and don't have any problems with it, even though i bought it off of a friend for $500. If I were to answer this rhetorical question on Windows 7 being a revolution, I'd say "I don't know because I have Windows Vista and a limited budget."
  • aion7 - January 9, 2010 2:01 a.m.

    If there was a 64-bit XP, I probably wouldn't consider any other OS for gaming. I still don't plan on switching to 7 until it is relatively bug free, and more games require above XP.
  • theturbolemming - January 9, 2010 1:36 a.m.

    Answer: No. I just switched over from Vista to 7 and have since had tons of problems with my games. Red Faction: Guerrilla plays at double speed for some reason, Left 4 Dead 2 spontaneously combusts, Team Fortress 2 only plays on half the screen.... It's horrible.
  • JustTheBoBreaker - January 8, 2010 11:24 p.m.

    I never really had a problem with Vista either. The Windows 7 commercials do make it look pretty awesome though
  • lovinmyps3 - January 8, 2010 11:13 p.m.

    I'm not really a PC gamer but I want Windows 7 anyway. Vista is kinda annoying me.
  • loonyman978 - January 8, 2010 11:07 p.m.

    I've just upgraded my laptop to 7 but tbh, i dont notice any change from vista. I never had a single problem with vista, i dont know why people hated it so much.

Showing 1-15 of 15 comments

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