In an attempt to boost popularity of its new operating system among gamers and a new application programming interface (API) among game developers, Microsoft Corp. plans to make DirectX 10-compliant graphics cores compulsory for personal computers carrying “Windows Vista Premium” logotype in mid-2008.
Microsoft Windows Vista operating system is the first OS from the software giant that actually diversifies computers with different hardware inside into systems that can carry “Windows Vista Capable” logo as well as “Windows Vista Premium” logo. Earlier Microsoft only issued logotypes that informed end-users regarding the operating system that their computer is designed for, e.g., “Designed for Windows XP”.
Currently, a “Windows Vista Capable” personal computer should include at least a central processing unit running at 800MHz, 512MB of system memory as well as a DirectX 9-compliant graphics processor. At the same time, “Windows Vista Premium” PC should feature at least 1.0GHz microprocessor, 1GB of memory, DirectX 9.0-compliant graphics adapter that supports pixel shader 2.0 with 32-bit precision and equipped 128MB of memory, 40GB hard disk drive with 15GB free space, DVD-ROM drive, audio output and Internet access capability.
Typically more “favourable” logotype makes people to choose one system over another, therefore, if computer makers want to sell higher-priced systems, they have to ensure that they carry “Premium” logo.
Starting from June, 2008, Microsoft reportedly plans to require DirectX 10-compatible graphics adapter inside systems with “Windows Vista Premium” logo. The decision is likely to increase popularity of games designed solely for DirectX 10 and Windows Vista OS, as currently numerous gamers tend not to upgrade their computers, but rather migrate to game consoles, such as Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii or Sony PlayStation 3. Some groups of gamers even start to use competing Apple Macintosh platforms, where games designed for Windows are available via emulation, whereas other groups even try Linux OSes. Meanwhile, the signal from Microsoft may catalyze game developers to pay more attention to DX10-compatible titles, which will ultimately make games more visually appealing.
In order to increase popularity of Windows Vista among media enthusiasts, Microsoft may also require independent hardware vendors (IHVs) to support hardware decoding of Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs on mainstream platforms next year.
The new requirements from Microsoft are more than likely to catalyze leading designers of graphics cores, such as ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. to transit their product families to DirectX 10-supporting lineups. Those IHVs, who will continue to sell DirectX 9-compliant graphics cores in the 2H 2008 will only be able to find their products inside low-cost “Windows Vista Capable” systems.
Microsoft Corp. did not comment on the news-story.