Pre-E3 2006: Windows Vista

Bill Gates and Peter Moore arrived in Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood today to herald the renaissance of PC gaming, brought to gamers courtesy of the Windows Vista operating system.

Vista’s key highlights are security and media handling, but Microsoft plans on some huge additions for gamers as well. Live Anywhere will mirror the Xbox 360 services and introduce PC gamers to the excellent Live marketplace, friends list and messaging, and integrate Live across all gaming platforms, including mobile phones. Gamerscores and gamertags will also become universal, and PC gamers will be able to play Vista-powered games with their console buddies using the Live Anywhere matchmaking service.

Perhaps the biggest benefit for gamers playing on Vista machines will be the complete overhaul of the graphics system. Vista’s all-new DirectX10 engine takes the limits off what has been possible graphically - lush environments dense with unique elements that promise to completely suspend disbelief. New types of graphics shaders will allow exacting modeling of elements like sheets of water and flowing cloth. For an eye-popping example of a DirectX10 game that is pulling all of these tricks together, be sure to check out the Crysis trailer.

Crysis is one of Microsoft’s few planned Vista launch games, and early impressions have left us slack-jawed. Halo 2, Flight Simulator X, Shadowrun and Age of Conan are also notable launch titles that we’ll have more information about during the show.

Developers plan on publishing Vista games like Crysis with both DirectX9 and 10 versions of the game on the same disc. Gamers can play Vista-powered games with XP (DirectX9) right away, then roll with DX10 after upgrading to Vista.

May 9, 2006


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