Microsoft announced that they won’t release DirectX 10 for Windows XP:
Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest maker of software, will not release next-generation graphics application programming interface (API) called DirectX 10 for the currently shipping Windows XP operating system (OS), instead, the company will keep the new API strictly for the forthcoming Windows Vista OS, despite earlier assumptions about DirectX 10 for the XP.
There’s a heating debate going on at indiegamer.com about the issue: people taking stances, giving reasons for this, blaming Microsoft, or giving other information about the issue.
Before blaming Microsoft, ask what this will really do for independent game developers. The answer is: pretty much nothing. One reason why this doesn’t require us indies to worry is that Windows Vista won’t be available until some time in the future (some say it will be available on December 2006, but I would bet 2007 or 2008 to be more likely) – and it’ll take some time for people to upgrade their older versions to Vista. Most of the blog readers here use Windows XP, but out of all readers (who have windows) there is about 20% who have either Windows 98, Windows NT or Windows 2000 – rest of having Windows XP. So, it’ll propably take another year or two (or even more, as it requires quite much horsepowers from a computer) to get people to upgrade their OS to Vista.
But the second – much more important – reason why DX10 for Vista only is not such a big deal: most of the indies who sell their games use DX7 or DX8 (or Mac or OpenGL). Maybe the DX10 is a major issue for big game studios whose game has to offer the latest graphics widgets, but has no impact for us indies – we can focus on innovation rather than latest technology. Vista will have backwards compatibility (propably even DX5 games will work), so it really doesn’t have much impact for us indies.
As I mentioned earlier, you should question authority now and then. In this kind of debate you can see people blaming Microsoft and worrying about the ‘bad future of indies’… basically making the issue much bigger than it really is. I suggest you to make up your own mind, make your own judgement about the issue and deal with the facts – somebody might be making fuss out of nothing.