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Is Windows 7 a revolution for PC gamers?

“I don’t really have anything for you on that right now!” she demurs. “But you can imagine. What we can say is that we want to be visionary. And between the kinds of things that we are doing on Xbox, such as Natal, and the opportunities around the fact that we own the gaming platform on PC. And we now have this new touch interface...” her voice trails off, until she picks up the beat and is straight back in with... “But do we want to continue innovating? Absolutely! And we have lots of great games publishers who will be there with us to do that. So that’s really the only statement I can make at this time on that.”


Above: Leila Martine, Microsoft UK

Microsoft’s latest ultra-casual, free games offerings in Windows 7 are clearly perfect for mucking around with on netbooks. And we have to begrudgingly admit that the new online elements in games such as Checkers are pretty addictive. The market for netbooks is only going to continue to grow in 2010, with machines getting a size boost and more over the next year, as more manufacturers make use of Intel’s new thin and light ultra-low voltage (CULV) processor.

However, Martine thinks the most exciting time for gamers will be “when more of the NVIDIA Ion netbooks start to arrive on the market, when we’ll start to see significantly better media capabilities on netbooks, much improved graphics.” Though she is quick to add this: “It won’t be power gaming by any stretch of the imagination, but the overall experience will be much improved by moving some of the processing duties to the Ion GPU.”

But when it comes down to proper games, things come down to DirectX 11. Microsoft’s latest graphics and sound controller has seen improvements in terms of overall performance, shadow modelling and tessellation from DirectX 10, and it now allows your PC to use graphics cards to do a lot of the grunt work of running a game. All of this basically means you get better frame rates and faster gaming. And that you won’t find yourself sat waiting in load screens anywhere near as long.

Windows 7 also opens up opportunities for stuff like ATI’s bleeding-edge Eyefinity tech, which can now be used to set up any flight sim or driving game fan’s ultimate gaming experience – outputting your game to six hi-def screens at once. We’ve played DiRT 2 on such a set up and our eyes almost bled with joy.

“Windows 7 brings a lot to the PC gaming table, in my mind,” agrees Richard Huddy, Worldwide Developer Relations Manager for AMD. “There’s that list of technical features, most notably all the new stuff in DirectX 11. But on top of all the new technical benefits there is another really important trend.

“Consoles have really taken off over the last few years. But what I would say is that the majority of gaming publishers are developing for the PC, if only for the sheer numbers. So the variety of PC gaming has only continued to flourish. In terms of new devices coming out, new touch control technology coming out, we are continuing to innovate. And it’s that innovation that is really key for this latest version of Windows 7.”


Above: Brian Joyce, Alienware

The fact that DirectX 11 software support is also available in Vista massively helped the transition from Vista to Windows 7 for games developers. Back in November 2005 when Vista first came out the take-up of DirectX 10 by games developers was relatively slow. It took around six months after the OS’s launch for the first DirectX 10 game to ship.

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.

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