The Death of PC Gaming

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Have I got a deal for you!

DirectX 10 is coming, and to enjoy the fruits of Microsoft’s pixel-bullying labors, you’ll need a few minor hardware upgrades.

You need to throw out that entry-level, mid-grade, or pinnacle video card you’re currently using and buy one that requires probably four times as much power and outputs who knows how much more heat. That’s going to necessitate some augmented cooling in your case and possibly your computer room, so be prepared to either play with your fan setup if you have a good case, or buy a new case if you don’t.

I did mention the power requirements, right? Yeah… you’re going to need a new power supply for this monster video card as well. That crusty old obsolete 500 watt dinosaur you bought two whole months ago has got to go as well.

So… about that DirectX 10 part: You’re going to need to upgrade to Vista as well if you ever want to use DX10, because Microsoft doesn’t plan on allowing DX10 upgrades for any of their other operating systems. Since you’re upgrading to Vista, you’re probably going to need more memory in your box, since all indications point to Vista using ~750 MB of physical memory, just to stand there and do nothing other than presenting a desktop. Are you excited yet? I sure am!

Now wait wait, wait… I want to make sure of something here. Are you what people might refer to as a ‘PC enthusiast’ or a ‘dirty overclocker’? Do you build your own machines? Tsk tsk tsk… That could be a problem.

Microsoft also plans on limiting Vista activations to a mere two ‘machines’, where ‘machine’ is defined as ‘significant hardware change.’ You know, the sort of change experienced when you, say, upgrade your motherboard and processor. If you plan on doing that, you may run into problems. This isn’t set in stone, mind you, but it’s possible that this ‘two machine limit’ is exactly that, a hard two machine limit.

The days of calling Microsoft and explaining that the old system you last activated your key on doesn’t exist any more just might be over. Personally I can’t see this happening, but that’s more of a dumbfounded “I can’t believe they’d do this” reaction than any hard logical-thought-process-arrived-at knowledge.

So where were we… oh yes! To enjoy the new eye-candy offered by Microsoft’s proprietary third API, you’ll need to buy completely new hardware (normal) with completely ludicrous power and thermal requirements (crazy), a completely new operating system (crazy), more memory (mixed reaction), and you may be stuck with the hardware you get for a long time, unless you plan on buying another license for that new OS (completely unacceptable, if true.)

So seriously, what the hell happened here? How did we let this happen?

I really lament the decline of the game industry’s support for OpenGL. The fact is – if more game developers supported OpenGL in their products, this sort of monopoly on your gaming rig wouldn’t exist. A game written in C++ and supporting OpenGL could be compiled to run on a variety of platforms – and in the PC market, variety drives prices down and freedoms up.

And as far as DX10 and DX10 cards… when isn’t too much too much? I mean sure, I love games getting progressively prettier and prettier, but every single one of us had the option of buying some insane SGI workstation that people like Industrial Light and Magic used 5 or 10 years ago to add realistic-looking special effects to movies.

We didn’t though, because that was too much cost for a living room solution. So what changed since then to make a $250 OS (guess), a $300 video card (guess), a $200 memory upgrade, and an undefined serious impact on monthly electric bills OK?

Is anyone else here disgusted, or is it just me?

If you can’t deliver the technology using processes that yield hardware reasonable for home use, don’t. And for God’s sake don’t make it mandatory.

If this whole situation is as bad as it seems to be, it spells the death of PC gaming for me. I’m sure the Dells and HPs of the world will be selling Vista DX10 machines so that Joe Sixpack can buy Yukon Hunting Simulation VII and Microsoft Eighteen Wheeler 2007, but I’m not going to.

I’m also not going to be buying Half Life 3 or Unreal Tournament 2009 or SimCity 5, etc… because I’m not going to buy a video card that requires fuel rods or an operating system that requires more hardware just to sit there and drool prettiness compared to the games I play today.

Peter Ramins aka InThrees @ OCForums

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Discussion
  1. I got a version of vista that I am still a little scared to even install. I saw in someones signature about needing a nuclear reactor to power the OS
    Actually I have been talking to a few people about RC2 and they say its maybe 10-15% slower at the moment.
    Also you can still activate Vista retail as many times as you wan't yoy just cant activate vista OEM that many times.
    Also my DX9.0 video card does a fairly good job and uses less power 9700 pro. But hey its 3 generations later and its faster than those orginal cards. DX10 will come along the same way.
    Also I was looking at my windows 2000 setup it uses about 80mbs of ram at idle. My windows XP X64 setup uses about 240mb at idle thats a 200% increase in memory usage. So hey thats a pretty huge increase in ram usage and thats been what 4 years since windows XP came so what the heck 750mb for an OS thats running everything off the install. Its been 4 years after all.
    Honestly nobody here really wanted XP but they bought it and they will buy vista and quadcores and power hungry video cards becuase they are chasing the almighty I have a good enough rig to do everyhing that I do which honestly for just about everyone here was 3 rigs ago.

    Honestly nobody here really wanted XP but they bought it and they will buy vista and quadcores and power hungry video cards becuase they are chasing the almighty I have a good enough rig to do everyhing that I do which honestly for just about everyone here was 3 rigs ago.

    I for one wont. I know, for everyone like me that will not be strangled into buying the newest and best(im still happily using my xp1800 @2.3), there are at least 2 others willing to plop down the money on the 733T systems. I am now going back to counsels, if this is the future. They are cheaper, and offer great graphics. I was never a huge fan of FPS, i have been more of a RPG player.
    I know my system is showing its age, (still use a 9800pro), but what they are asking for, is insane. I will upgrade to COnroe, as soon as I can, and then sit on it for 4 years, like I have with my older system. I will not, cannot afford those types of upgrades, mayby if I could I might, but I cant so I wont. I like the idea getting the most bang for your buck, but Vista sounds as though it just blew me off of PC Gaming, and into a different market now.
    Mayby this is what MS wanted. Designing games for PC is not as profitable as Counsel games, or mayby im wrong. This way MS can have their cake(Vista) and eat it too (XBOX360). I dont know, just my 2 pennies.
    Also you can still activate Vista retail as many times as you wan't yoy just cant activate vista OEM that many times.
    Wrong. The "rumor" is that even a retail copy can only be activated twice.
    No PC gaming isn't dead...maimed perhaps, but not dead. Everyone wants to assume that Vista is going to be the death knell of a ton of things. I remember this exact same FUD when XP came out. Everytime a new and sweeping change happens people start to panic. Rumor X becomes rumor Y and so on. It's worse than ever this time because there are a few sweeping changes occuring. Vista needs more hardware(OMG so did XP!). DX10 is only going to be on Vista(um.... didn't a lot of game makers start requiring XP?). The new video cards are furnaces(anybody remember the dustbuster? it's back. And it'll leave in shame same as the last time). Come on people. Wake up. Given time Vista will become a prettier version of XP. Even Microshaft realizes it can only push so hard. They will end up giving the user what they want in time or they won't sell Vista. Actually they will sell Vista, right up until the average buyer at Hell...er Dell and Worst Buy start complaining. If the systems price goes up because it TAKES that much to run the OS...well, pricing is the main reason that the big boys are popular among the Sixpacks.and If the OS causes the system to be incredibly expensive, chances are they will opt for the older OS( unless they have no clue at all and no one helping them). And you can bet that Mikey and company are going to keep selling XP based systems for a while, hedging their bets. In the end it'll be the same old story. We, the enthusiasts, are going to get drug along by the inertia of the sixpacks. Or held back if you prefer to look at it that way. My advice is the same today as it has been for 20 years. Be patient and make informed decisions. It's not always good to be the first kid on the block to have the new toy.
    It's not always good to be the first kid on the block to have the new toy.

    Perfectly worded! Since coming to this website many years ago, I have found this to be the golden rule. I cannot think of anytime that a new product came out, and it was the end all beat all of its kind. There is always room for perfection, I understand that. Having said that, I may at some point (1 year or 2, or until the next jaw dropping rpg comes out) when I will buy Vista. Out of the gate, hell no. Hell no. Hellllll nO. I do understand though why people dont want to buy it. I wont buy it until it becomes the only feasible way to play The Elder Scrolls 5 or whatever. Until then though, I wont buy it. In fact I seem to be on a 4 year upgrade cycle. I upgrade every 4 years. This next upgrade will be the first one where I save my old computer though. I trashed the last one, i went from 600mhz to 2.3 ghz. That was a nice jump.
    I am going to give counsels a try for a change though. Its been years( anyone remember Sega Genesis, or Super Nintendo), its been that long since i bought a counsel.
    (um.... didn't a lot of game makers start requiring XP?).
    No, there wasn't a single game the REQUIRED XP, all games ran on XP as well as 95/98/2K/ME. The other way around wasn't true tho, a lot of old games can't run in XP.
    The only game I've EVER seen that REQUIRES XP is Flight Sim X, which requires XP SP2 to even start the installation.
    It wasn't quite the same when XP came out. The activation caused an outcry yes, because it was something never done on this scale before. But you can still activate XP as many times as you like. Also XP still RAN on most old hardware. Vista will not even be usable on PC's most people buy NEW today, that's the difference.
    When XP hit the average PC was just above minimum specs, so it ran and was usable at least. This is something completely different.
    A fairly standard "Joe's home PC" today is a sempron 3000+ or Celeron 2.6 with 512 MB ram and some onboard GPU. That can just barely start Vista, with 13MB free RAM and constand swap file thrashing as soon as you open a single menu or do anything at all. Don't even dream of running some software on it.
    If there's anything to this Vista activation rumor then it means you can change hardware once, and once only, then you buy a new copy of Vista. Big question is, does Microsoft still think that the only hardware worth keeping track of is the motherboard? Or will it deactivate even if you swap CPU? Graphics card(s)?
    Futhermore, Something I noticed at work with RC1, if you install an unactivated copy without a key, and get the option to go into reduced functionality mode after 30 days, you need an internet connection. Without internet Vista can't run in reduced functionality mode but works like XP and simply refuses to start.
    I don't know if that's changed in RC2.
    Everyone is taking the 'Death of PC Gaming' remark as an absolute observation. I think a strong argument can be made that the 1-2-3 punch combo of Vista, DX10, and power/thermal requirements for DX10 cards is death for pc gaming as we know it, but what I meant was more at a personal level.
    I like to consider myself fairly typical when it comes to my computer - I may overclock and tweak what I have, but what I have is almost never cutting edge, and it's never pinnacle. I've never bought a single pc component that cost more than $300 EVER. Sure, i've window shopped and wanted them (video card, EE processors, etc) but the realist in me (and the "real" person in me) always shot it down. What I have done is bought strong components that were likely to a) have life in them and b) offer some upgradeability.
    I haven't even moved to PCI-e or ddr2 yet. I've been thinking about it, and I had planned on getting a core2duo system come spring... but now i'm not so worried about it.
    Personally I really do think this is a major change in how pc components and the marketplace (you and me) will interact. It's a move away from the open architecture and free market towards a solidifying of the proprietary apis and "strategic partnerships" with hardware vendors that is allowing Microsoft a stranglehold on your desktop.
    I mean - let's use two examples: Legal Joe and Warez Joe.
    Legal Joe can spend $300 on a mid-to-midupper range DX10 card (guess), $60-$100 on a power supply to run it (guess), and $300 for a legal copy of Vista. (guess.) We'll assume he already has a gig of ram, but frankly I think that's a big assumption. He can then spend ~$50 per DX10 title. With me so far?
    Or he can spend $300 - $500 on a console and peripherals, and then $50 - $60 per title. He can also rent games very easily for his console.
    Illegal Joe can spend $300 for that same video card, the same $60-$100 for a power supply, probably find some method to use Vista without paying it (weak maybe at this point), and then download his games. If the embedded DRM and other functions of vista don't make it impossible.
    Or he can spend $300- $500 on a console, mod it, and download games for it. He can still rent games, too.
    All I'm saying is that the combination of changes coming have made consoles attractive like never before... and I really dislike consoles.
    Putting my own situation in terms of the buying choice Legal Joe is facing - I have a computer. I can play all my old titles on it, I can surf the web, answer email, write documents, edit pictures.
    And I can save myself the cost of moving to a restrictive DRM-embedded Vista system by buying a console and renting most of my games.
    No, there wasn't a single game the REQUIRED XP, all games ran on XP as well as 95/98/2K/ME. The other way around wasn't true tho, a lot of old games can't run in XP.
    The only game I've EVER seen that REQUIRES XP is Flight Sim X, which requires XP SP2 to even start the installation.

    OK, my bad. I haven't done a lot of game shopping lately and I made a bad assumption.
    When XP hit the average PC was just above minimum specs, so it ran and was usable at least. This is something completely different.
    A fairly standard "Joe's home PC" today is a sempron 3000+ or Celeron 2.6 with 512 MB ram and some onboard GPU. That can just barely start Vista, with 13MB free RAM and constand swap file thrashing as soon as you open a single menu or do anything at all. Don't even dream of running some software on it.

    OK, but really, How many standard Joes are even going to worry about installing Vista. Most Joes out there will just assume that it's time for a new machine(meaning machine and OS).This statement really only applies to enthusiasts like us.
    If there's anything to this Vista activation rumor then it means you can change hardware once, and once only, then you buy a new copy of Vista. Big question is, does Microsoft still think that the only hardware worth keeping track of is the motherboard? Or will it deactivate even if you swap CPU? Graphics card(s)?

    This is what I mean by the FUD factor. What if's are fine and dandy, but I still believe in Occam's razor. The most logical is probably most likely. The most likely route for M$ is going to be the same as they have used. That being that the Mainboard is the machine or greater than 25% of the hardware changing.
    Futhermore, Something I noticed at work with RC1, if you install an unactivated copy without a key, and get the option to go into reduced functionality mode after 30 days, you need an internet connection. Without internet Vista can't run in reduced functionality mode but works like XP and simply refuses to start.
    I don't know if that's changed in RC2.

    I can't comment on this. I haven't and won't be playing with the beta. I probably won't buy Vista until I have to(roughly 2 years at next major upgrade cycle).
    InThrees... Consoles are becoming more of an attractive option. However consider that the current consoles are basically pc's running a custom OS. I would say that some predictions from the past are coming true.http://www.overclockers.com/tips01014/
    The article pretty much nailed how I feel.
    “Just Say No”
    No, I will not pay $300-$400 for an OS much less pay for more than once.
    No, I will not install PSUs over 500 watts. I have an equally demanding aquarium hobby, multiple systems, an old house with old wiring and a tight budget that won’t allow it.
    No, I wont care what vast (i.e. slightly noticeable) additions DX 10 and its cards will bring. That boat sailed long ago (think it was boat 8).
    No, I wont pay over $300 for a piece of hardware to run games and I am not buying more that once every 18 months.
    You ruined it for me. I don’t know exactly who “you” are, but PC gaming…heck all gaming has become like that sick old relative you don’t call or visit. Its there in your mind, but figure it would be best if someone just pulled the plug.
    Digital Gaming
    ~1978~2006
    R.I.P.
    Just like when 2000 and me came out and us gamers stuck to 98 for a while thats what will happen with vista.
    IMO The real threat to PC gaming is the trend to developers to not care about the pc because the market is 360, ps 3, etc...
    PC-Gaming's dead AGAIN?!?! That's like the fourth time this week! Who's running the server?
    Anyway, it's getting a bit exhausting hearing about how PC-Gaming is dead, Sony's going under, Intel has had it, IBM is finished... Somehow there seem to be a lotttttttt of 256MB video cards being sold. Even a lot of 512s these days. And there are a lotttttttttt of games coming out.
    I remember I was made a lifetime subscriber to Computer Games and Strategy Plus, a magazine that got smaller and smaller as computer games (and strategy games in particular) began to diminish. It was renamed and re-published lated as "Computer Games" when the market began to pick up. Then I left the country or something. (That was to live in Japan.) Just before I left Tokyo I picked-up something called "Max Payne." It was the last game that I had seen previewed in Computer games. By that time the industry was booming again. By the time I moved to France Warcraft III, Age of Mythology, and Rise of Nations had all been released. You could almost bring back Computer Games and Strategy!
    The point is, the computer gaming industry, not entirely unlike the video game industry, is subject to the ebb and flow of both technology, and popular demand. And of course an X-Factor for both innovation and dumb luck. The last time I remember computer games dying was when EVERY GAME was a first person shooter. This was during a time when video game sales were plummeting because every game was a Street-Fighter II ripoff (which even ripped ITSELF off with no less than half a dozen versions of the same game). The market had gotten ridiculous (prompting the parody title and all-time classic: Rise of the Triad), and sales went down. Video games once again reached out for the mainstream with the release of The Sims. A game I never played but got a lot more people back into gaming and got game publishers to once again try something new.
    As far as I know, however, computer gaming isn't even in a SLUMP now. Let alone dead. It's been years since I've seen so many stores... and here in Europe Internet Cafés catering exclusively to computer gamers. The idea of a cyber café created exclusively to play multiplayer computer games was unthinkable back when I was really heavy into gaming. But broadband technology and more online games have turned Internet cafés into the arcades of the future while REAL arcades are all but dead.
    So I dare say the heart of PC Gaming is still beating. (And from what you see you should believe me. Now the old one's may be barely breathing... BUT....)
    Now that XP has matured it's very comfortable to use. Once Vista has had a chance to mature it will be useable as well. I've tried RC1 and ran it for a few days. Hardware and driver support blows as it always does with a new OS. Once the industry has a chance to figure Vista out the gamers will follow slowly.
    I have a 360 and it's good but I still prefer the PC.
    No PC gaming isn't dead...maimed perhaps, but not dead. Everyone wants to assume that Vista is going to be the death knell of a ton of things. I remember this exact same FUD when XP came out. Everytime a new and sweeping change happens people start to panic. Rumor X becomes rumor Y and so on. It's worse than ever this time because there are a few sweeping changes occuring. Vista needs more hardware(OMG so did XP!). DX10 is only going to be on Vista(um.... didn't a lot of game makers start requiring XP?). The new video cards are furnaces(anybody remember the dustbuster? it's back. And it'll leave in shame same as the last time). Come on people. Wake up. Given time Vista will become a prettier version of XP. Even Microshaft realizes it can only push so hard. They will end up giving the user what they want in time or they won't sell Vista. Actually they will sell Vista, right up until the average buyer at Hell...er Dell and Worst Buy start complaining. If the systems price goes up because it TAKES that much to run the OS...well, pricing is the main reason that the big boys are popular among the Sixpacks.and If the OS causes the system to be incredibly expensive, chances are they will opt for the older OS( unless they have no clue at all and no one helping them). And you can bet that Mikey and company are going to keep selling XP based systems for a while, hedging their bets. In the end it'll be the same old story. We, the enthusiasts, are going to get drug along by the inertia of the sixpacks. Or held back if you prefer to look at it that way. My advice is the same today as it has been for 20 years. Be patient and make informed decisions. It's not always good to be the first kid on the block to have the new toy.

    I agree. Well said.:beer:
    Rumors, how about some real facts!:mad:
    I agree no reason to jump at a POS OS now. Wait until they figure all the important things. I has some nice features and I will eventually switch over but not in the near future
    Why would Microsoft bother releasing DX10 if it DIDN'T care about the gaming community? They want YOU to upgrade the hardware, they want YOU to buy Vista, they want YOU to use the lastest DX. Move on.
    I agree that it is getting very annoying to upgrade the hardware constantly but that's just they way it always used to be.
    Back in 2001 I got a $1100 PC. It was: P3 1GHz, 128MB SDRAM 100, Intel integrated graphics, no AGP, 40GB HD. $1100. It came preinstalled with Windows Me but it had a "Windows XP compatible" sticker.
    Now, please tell me how well does Win XP run on 128MB of RAM? Not too well, eh? Well then, we have exactly the same situation here.
    Move on.
    128MB of RAM back then costed around $100 if not more. Today you can get 1GB for $100. More than enough for Vista. 128MB is NOT, I repeat NOT enough to run XP smoothly. So, actually, we are in a better situation now.
    Last but not least, Computer Gaming World just changed it's name to Games for Windows. Next month will be the first issue. Now, what does that have to do with anything? Well, CGW (Nevermind... GFW) partenered up with Microsoft and came up with this.
    Games for Windows is also a slogan that will be on tommorow's Windows Vista compatible games.
    We just entered a new era in PC gaming.