Stardock CEO blames “diminishing” innovation in strategy games on missing DirectX 10 support for Windows XP


The last few years of PC strategy gaming have been a mixed bag, according to a certain Stardock CEO, and man-with-opinions Brad Wardell thinks he knows why. The first snow of a long winter for innovation fell with Microsoft’s decision to deny Windows XP users DirectX 10, and set in as 32-bit versions of Windows continued to be sold well past their sell-by date. The resulting restrictions have, Wardell thinks, “held back PC game development immensely”.

“Game developers have been stuck with DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory for the past decade,” wrote Wardell in Stardock’s 2012 Customer Report.

“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.”

With DirectX 11, developers can indulge in shader anti-aliasing and more easily build multi-core based simulations. And with 64-bit Windows, they can squeeze more into memory. Wardell believes there are “whole classes of games” waiting to be made once developers can take advantage of these advances.

“Luckily, after a decade long wait, we are nearing critical mass,” he concluded. “The days of games supporting 32-bit OSes is, thankfully, coming to an end. DirectX 10 as a minimum requirement has also arrived.”

Do you share Wardell’s disappointment in the current strategic zeitgeist?