DirectX10 Editorial

Aron Schatz
February 22, 2007
DirectX10 Editorial
What do normal PC users think about Microsoft's decision to lock out its own older operating systems from using their latest API? It is horrible! Read more for the full opinion.

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With the release of the new Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced a key component that would give users good reason to upgrade, in the form of DirectX 10 (DX10). What this means for the end user, is better looking games that use fewer system resources, in a nutshell. The launch of a new version of DirectX could be compared to the launch of a new system in the home console world.

Unfortunately, Microsoft did not deem it necessary to release this upgrade to users of it's "defunct" operating system, Windows XP. This truly frustrated many people, and for good reason. In the past, Microsoft has released DirectX upgrades for outdated operating systems, so that users who may not have the money, or just don't like the next version, could still play the latest games and utilize the latest hardware.

This is, of course, just a continuation of Microsoft's push to dominate its users. While I have no REAL problems with Microsoft products like many other users do, I do find this to be quite frustrating. Many people will not be able to purchase Vista, because of the steep price point: One can expect to pay in the area of 230 dollars for the lowest model that includes Vistas highly flaunted "Aero Glass". What does this mean for the honest user? Being stuck with Windows XP and praying that Microsoft has the good grace to give XP some DX10 lovin' too. For Microsoft, this means more people will be pirating their software. And finally, for the video card makers, this means a drop in sales due to the fact that if people cannot obtain the software needed to run the newest games, why buy the card needed to do so as well?

Lets take a look at this from the Devils Advocate stance, just to be fair. If you are shelling out the big bucks to pay for a DX10 card, then you should have enough money to pay for Vista, right? At this point, yes, you should have the money, but that does not mean you have to have the desire. And with budget DX10 models just around the corner, the next generation of computer gaming is within the reach of budget minded gamer; well, it would be, if they desired Vista.

This is also screwing over Microsoft's faithful customers. I own a legal copy of XP, but I'll be damned if I plan on buying another version when I know that it will be left behind as soon as Microsoft makes enough changes to release a whole new version of Windows. Oddly enough, it was not always this way. In fact, Microsoft was still kind enough to release new versions of DirectX on Windows 95 until the year 2000, five years, and four operating systems later. So why is Microsoft cutting users of their LAST operating system off? Because they can. Windows has become the standard. Over 89 percent of desktops include Microsoft only operating systems, and most new systems come with some version of Windows pre-installed.

But that is not a good enough reason for me. One of the key reasons that Microsoft is using as an excuse for not releasing DX10 on XP is that the way Windows XP is written, a major upgrade such as DX10 would not simply drop into the system, and it would take a large amount of coding, and most likely another service pack to get it to integrate properly. As far as I'm concerned, tough stuff; their customers paid over 200 dollars for a product that is no longer being supported by the newest software. This would not be so bad, but Microsoft needs their cash, so they are STILL selling versions of Windows XP in stores. Yes, Microsoft is still making money off of a product they cannot be bothered to keep up to date.

From a business standpoint, this all makes perfect sense. Sell a system that is stable and secure for a low amount of money, just put enough work into it to keep it floating, then release a new horse from the stable. I can respect that, but I still have the right to dream. People need to stand up and look around, because Microsoft will continue to push out (uncompleted) projects as long as consumers will buy them. I am not saying Vista is a bad thing, in fact I am a big supporter of the project, and have great hope for its future, but I still have a right to be disappointed in Microsoft's decision to cut the majority of its users off from the technological tit.


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