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Games a no show at Vista launch

Bill Gates himself may have been on hand to launch Windows Vista in the UK yesterday, but despite a range of gaming features being touted for the new operating system, none were on show at the high-profile event held at the British Library.

Bill Gates himself may have been on hand to launch Windows Vista at the British Library yesterday, but despite a range of gaming features being touted for the new operating system little was on show at the high profile event.

Gaming applications were glossed over during the keynote presentation and while partners such as Universal Music and ITN were used to showcase new Vista functions, there didn't appear to be any games publishing partners or executives from Microsoft's own Xbox division in attendance.

Vista promises cross-platform gaming between the Xbox 360 and PC, as well as incorporating the console's popular Achievements system into PC titles. Games developers are working with DirectX 10 for Vista, with titles such as Crytek's Crysis and Funcom's Age of supporting the new operating system.

Microsoft is also in the middle of a new Games for Windows push, again using Vista and unified branding to assure gamers that confusion over possible incompatibility is no longer an issue.

But despite all of this, Microsoft had little to offer in the way of soundbites for the gaming community.

"It's an extremely important audience for us, although we didn't really focus on the gaming aspects today," said David Weeks, Windows client marketing manager for Microsoft UK, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz.

"We're expecting the games industry to build on Vista and we expect great applications to come out in the future and really use the power of the PC to its fullest. Obviously, when DirectX 10 comes out we're going to see cross-platform games. And that's going to change the whole parameters of gaming."

During his keynote Gates, together with British Library chief executive Lynne Brindley, revealed 3D images of rare Leonardo Da Vinci codices, with the Microsoft chairman commenting, "Graphics were originally created for the gamers - who are a very demanding audience - but now we can apply them to other areas."

He also pledged that Vista will allow users to "play games that are of a whole new level of realism and connecting up with other people around the world".

Microsoft was happy to talk up the security functions of Vista, which allow parents to set limits on gaming time and apply industry standard rating systems - and as Weeks put it, "check that my daughter is doing homework instead of playing games".

Some developers have questioned what they see as excessive safety features in Vista, but Weeks denied that Microsoft had received negative feedback from the gaming industry.

"The game development community hasn't told us it's too security heavy," he said.

According to Weeks, "Windows Vista can take it to the next level. PC gaming will become much more mainstream." However, there was little evidence to support this on show at the Vista launch event, which focused on standard entertainment features such as the option to record TV programmes and create photo slideshows - rather than the features which are designed to breathe new live into the PC gaming market.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.