Anyone remember Games for Windows Live? It was that parasitic entanglement of PTSD-inducing software, purpose-built to drive legitimate game buyers to piracy. GFWL clung to life as an early scout SCV might – or StarCraft 2 at all, for that matter. Games for Windows Live lived a relatively short life, but each day of its existence felt like eternity spent in a quagmire haunted by the crushed souls of developers pressured into marketing deals with Microsoft, watching in abject horror as their games received lashings for interminable crashes and login bugs.
Mercifully, it was killed. Put down and leaving developers to scramble and update a few good legacy games – DiRT 3, Batman, and Street Fighter included – to work without the GFWL lifeline. Or anchor, as it were.
Good news! The Gears of War Ultimate Edition is coming to PC. Windows made this surprise announcement just today -- but for some reason this announcement comes with a little deja vu. Why does it feel so familiar?
Here’s one reason: It was almost 10 years ago… Halo 2 was finally, after three long years, coming to PC; but what we weren’t prepared for was:
The Vulkan API has completely taken over AMD's low-level Mantle application program interface, somewhat of a peer to Microsoft's DirectX 12.
It's a competitive space. Mantle tried to push the industry toward more console-like programming – and we mean that in positive ways – by getting developers “close to the metal.” Low-level APIs that bypass the insurmountable overhead of DirectX 11 are the key to unlocking the full potential of modern hardware; DirectX 12 and Vulkan both get us closer to this, primarily by shifting draw calls off the CPU and reducing bottlenecking. GPUs have grown so powerful in their parallel processing that they can assume significant workload that was once placed upon processors – this benefits gamers in particular, since the majority of our workloads are more easily pushed through the GPU.
Games for Windows Live was one of the worst things ever to happen to PC gaming – and we state that with unwavering confidence. GFWL often broke to such a degree that it'd be easier for folks who legitimately purchased games – DiRT, Batman, and plenty others – to go pirate them after the fact. Through the great mercy of our Microsoft overlords, GFWL was eventually discontinued and, through further effort by developers and communities, stripped from games within which it'd been defectively embedded.
By this measure, we'd mark any GFWL comparison as among the most gruesome within our small corner of the PC gaming world. It remains to be seen just how pervasive the new Windows Store is, found in Windows 10, but Microsoft is keen to start figuring out what its audience looks like.
Windows 10 was officially released yesterday. With Windows 10 comes DirectX12 and some other changes, such as Xbox Live for the PC. Of course, Windows 10 (and Dx12) also requires new drivers. Both AMD and nVidia have released drivers within the last week to support Windows 10. Because Windows 7 and 8.1 users can upgrade to Windows 10 for free within a year, these drivers are significant to migration as a potentially large portion of users will be shifting simultaneously.
We’ll first cover AMD’s newest 15.7.1 driver, then nVidia’s 353.62 driver.
Users on the cutting edge of Microsoft's new Windows 10 builds should likely already have build 10162, which launched on July 2. The build was Microsoft's third Windows 10 build in a single week, reinforcing the company's commitment to a nearing launch date. The OS is slated for a July 29 release.
At a GDC press event today, Intel showcased its first Iris Pro-enabled CPU on a desktop motherboard -- socketed -- alongside Dx12 updates and gameplay capture advancements. The spotlight reaffirmed Intel’s commitment to LGA-socketed CPUs for the immediate future, offering desktop users with low TDP requirements a high-powered CPU and IGP solution. Valve further emboldened its argument by pointing toward Steam’s hardware survey, which now shows Intel’s graphics solution as consuming approximately 20% of the GPU cross-section. NVIDIA holds the majority of GPU marketshare.
Long-standing giant Microsoft posted its quarter four earnings and revenue report just recently, claiming 6.6 million Xbox units (One, 360) shipped during 4Q14. The company says its remarkably high console sales volume is a large contributor to a $26.5B gross revenue, producing $5.8B net income for the software and hardware company.
Minecraft went from being a very simple indie game to incredibly popular -- almost overnight -- with tons of features in three short years. Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, holds a golden cube of a game, one that has even gotten the attention of Microsoft.
Microsoft's Halo was a revolutionary title when it first shipped in 2001. Combat Evolved on the Xbox soon moved to the PC with a "Halo: Custom Edition" free expansion, adding new maps, flamethrowers, and other user-generated content tools. Halo 2's 2004 launch introduced the likes of dual-wielding, competitive online multiplayer, and broke global video game sales records within 24 hours of release.
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