It’s the graphics factor that is mostly responsible for driving sales of video games for the PC. PC users are a conservative audience that has got used to the existing game genres while game publishers have limited opportunities to promote interest to new e-entertainment paradigms.
There are hardcore gamers who spend most of their time playing best titles of all the genres. This audience can be targeted by visual realism and high quality of special effects, not even by the gameplay as such. And these gamers do not save on the hardware components of their PC systems. As a result, game developers and publishers take kindly to every technical innovation like advanced hardware physics processors, new GPUs or new APIs. One way or another, all of this has a positive effect on the sales volume.
On the other hand, PC users must be able to access those technical innovations for the introduction of them into games to be justifiable in the publisher’s eyes. For example, there are only few games that support Ageia PhysX processors which require a money investment on the user part. The same goes for modern graphics subsystems. No one is going to publish a game that can run normally only on newest and most advanced hardware because this makes the game inaccessible for the majority of users.
Anyway, every publisher and developer knows that all devoted gamers are going to obtain high-performance graphics cards sooner or later, so introducing new technologies is indeed reasonable. For example, the 2004 release Far Cry was at first recognized by enthusiasts only. This game enjoys certain popularity even to this day although back in 2004 only advanced PC configurations could run it at an acceptable speed and with maximum quality of visual effects.
Thus, every publisher and developer is interested in touting their project as featuring new technologies, high-quality visual effects, and exciting gameplay, but they are also interested in targeting their product at as broad an audience as possible.
Hardware developers are interested in selling as many of their products as they can, too, even though they often confess that the first generation of a new type of hardware solutions is mainly for software developers. So, they are interested in indirect advertisement of their new products by software developers and, consequently, in the introduction of newest technologies into games, too.
At the end of the last year and in the first half of 2007 the leading GPU developers – ATI as the graphics group within Advanced Micro Devices, and Nvidia – introduced their first generation of DirectX 10 compatible GPUs, Radeon HD 2000 and GeForce 8. Each company wants to sell as many new chips as they can and they do have the opportunity because a number of developers have announced formal support for DirectX 10 in their newest projects. The most anticipated project, Crysis from Crytek, is scheduled for release in November this year.
Crysis is not yet available even as a beta or demo version, so we can only make guesses at how beautiful and exciting the new game from the developer of Far Cry will be. However, there already exist games, namely Call of Juarez, Company of Heroes and Lost Planet, which are said to benefit from Microsoft’s new API.
In this article we’ll check out if the support for the new API in the mentioned games is a mere formality or the new games are indeed much better than the previous generation of game projects. We’ll also make sure if modern graphics cards can cope with the increased graphics load.