Microsoft Will Not Release DirectX 10 for Windows XP

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.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. While I do develop games for a living, the ethical core of my being despises much of microsoft and vista are doing. I’ve been able to witness first hand, the nagging, dragging, customer hating horror that is vista. I see a good crop of apple converts being made by microsoft’s latest effort. Maybe not nearly as many as should actually switch, but far more than microsoft would hope.

  2. > “If MS doesn’t releaase an XP version i think we’ll be swapping over quicker than expected.”

    I believe that is exactly what they intended :)

  3. To play Crysis properly you’ll need a DX10 PC. If MS doesn’t releaase an XP version i think we’ll be swapping over quicker than expected.

  4. @Dark Angel: Ah, thanks for pointing it out. It’s just simply because majority of indie games companies build their games using DX7 or DX8. In fact, I know only one independent studio (which actually has over 20 guys working there – so it’s hard to say if that’s considered ‘indie’ studio…) which uses DX9 in their games. All indies I’ve met use DX7/8.

    Of course there are indies who mod (like your team) or make freeware games. They are in different situation, but in terms of sales: it won’t have effect for them either.

  5. How do u reach the assumption that “us indies” use dx 7/8.

    DX9 is much cleaner, easier to use, and powerful that 8, which is why many of my fellow indies and I use dx9 (and openGL…)

    Anyway, the fact is that major new games will be built on 10, so if I want to play commercial games ill have to *buy* vista.

  6. I am thankful to Microsoft for their decision. Because, transition to Vista will require decent hardware upgrades, probably very few percent of gamer community instantly do that (upgrade). So DX10 will be available for that percent of gamer community for the next two years. Since, these gamers don’t represent the majority, our (indiegamers) main target platform won’t change. (For dx developers)

    But If it was supported in WinXP, DX10 would be a concern of us. That’s why I’m thankful to MS…

  7. Well reasoned, and indeed it makes you wonder how many big guns will release DX10 games when the potential market is intially going to be very small. I’ll be sticking with XP for the next two years at least, (darn i’ve only just gotten used to it)

    thanks for the visit

  8. I totally agree. Another point is that anyone that really wants that extra boost that DX10 is going to give them is probably going to have a pretty expensive computer anyways so they’re likely to get Vista pretty quick. I don’t think that it will make too much of an impact even among the hardcore gamers.

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