I am sure you will agree with me that one of the biggest selling points of Vista is the fact that it supports DirectX 10. Although the first DirectX 10 games are still forthcoming the prospect of DirectX 10 compatibility and the sense of future proofing that comes along with it is enough to get many gamers watering at mouth just by the mere thought of it. So does not that justify the purchase of a copy of Vista, especially if you are a tech savvy gamer? Well yes, provided that you can still play the games that you enjoy playing today whilst waiting with baited breath for the first DirectX 10 games to hit the shelves, right?
Well, not quite. According to Microsoft their new operating system is downwards compatible with Windows XP and DirectX 9, hence games that run on Windows XP should run fine on Windows Vista. Chris Donahue, manager of Microsoft's Games for Windows group, when questioned about Windows Vista's compatibility with popular games even noted that over 1000 popular games were tested and should run just fine. So why do popular games such as Counterstrike, F.E.A.R, Half-life 2 and the ever so popular Doom 3 fail to run on Microsoft's latest? And adding to that, why do many games that do run suffer such a hefty performance penalty, slowing some games that run fluently on the same configuration with Windows XP down to a slide show at best on Windows Vista? Do not tell me the above mentioned games were not on that list Microsoft checked compatibility for, as those rank near the top of all time favorites. But do tell me how Microsoft wants to pitch the "more entertaining" phrase in lieu with the fact that game play with some games is now more reminiscent to watching a slide show?
But there is more. For example NVIDIA has been quite clear about that fact that their new GeForce 8800 series graphic cards run best on Windows XP, even though the "Windows Vista Compatible" sticker is prominently displayed on every retail box on the shelves. Apparently NVIDIA has some more homework to do in terms of getting their drivers ready for Vista, ironing some of the kinks out and getting the performance at the same level as with Windows XP. Does this mean that Windows Vista is not quite ready to replace Windows XP as the gaming operating system of choice just yet? Well, that is putting it nicely. For the time being compatibility issues and significant performance penalties with Windows Vista make it a bad choice if you are a gamer and want to enjoy the performance of all the latest hardware to its fullest. As mentioned in my previous column, it is best to wait another six months and re-evaluate to see whether the cards have shifted in Windows Vista's favor yet.