DirectX 10 absence from Windows XP “catastrophic” and “poisonous”, says Stardock boss

By Brenna Hillier
11 April 2013 22:56 GMT

PC-centric developer Stardock has struggled thanks to Microsoft’s failure to implement DirectX 10 in still-popular 2001 OS Windows XP.

In Stardock’s 20912 consumer report, as reported by Develop, CEO Brad Wardell said that PC development has been held back “immensely” by having to cater to DirectX 9 standards – which only allows access to 2GB of RAM.

Before you point out how many excellent PC games do cater to Windows XP and are apparently unconcerned by it, Wardell noted specifically that genres like shooters haven’t had to compromise the way strategy games, Stardock’s bread and butter, have.

“There have been some great titles released but the innovation in strategy games has been diminishing. This is not the result of a lack of game design or inventive thinking. The problem stems from a catastrophic decision made at Microsoft: not giving DirectX 10 to Windows XP users,” Wardell said.

“As a corollary, Microsoft continuing to sell 32-bit versions of Windows well after the hardware stopped being natively 32-bit has held back PC game development immensely. Game developers have been stuck with DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory for the past decade. While this hasn’t harmed first person shooters (they only have to manage a handful of objects at once), it has been poisonous to other genres.

“Next time you’re playing an RPG in first person with no party you can refer to DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory as a big reason for that.”

Wardell said there are “whole classes of games” waiting to take advantage of advances like anti-aliasing, more-memory and multi-core. Happy, he noted that after more than a decade, 32-bit OS support is starting to die off at last.

As well as making games like Galactic Civilizations and Elemental, Stardock is a PC software development company.

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