Microsoft's much-delayed new PC operating system, Windows Vista, is finally finished - with the software giant announcing that the OS has gone to manufacture this week.
However, the OS will not be shipping to consumers until January 30th. Business customers get first dibs on Vista, and will be able to get hold of copies of the software in the next few weeks.
From a gaming perspective, Vista has been pushed by Microsoft as being one of the most significant upgrades to the PC platform in recent years. The OS upgrade includes a number of major features that integrate games as a central part of the system, including the latest version of the DirectX platform, DirectX 10, and online community features which are compatible with the Xbox Live platform.
Many major upcoming PC titles will rely on DirectX 10 for high end visual effects - and while most games will continue to be compatible with Windows XP for some time, developers are expected to move their titles exclusively to Vista and DirectX 10 over the course of the next few years.