'

Two gaming dead ends of 2007

That never ending quest for better and better frame rates means that gamers will spend their money on pretty much anything that will allow them to get the edge on their opponents and frag them just that little bit faster. However, not everything leads to better performance. 2007 saw two technologies aimed specifically at gamers which have turned out to be about as effective as herbal viagra - PhysX and DirectX 10.

That never ending quest for better and better frame rates means that gamers will spend their money on pretty much anything that will allow them to get the edge on their opponents and frag them just that little bit faster.  However, not everything leads to better performance.  2007 saw two technologies aimed specifically at gamers which have turned out to be about as effective as herbal viagra - PhysX and DirectX 10.

PhysX

The lack of games support also didn't do the platform any goodPhysX was pretty much doomed from the moment that id Software co-founder John Carmack called it pointless.  The lack of games support also didn't do the platform any good.  Oh, and once Intel decided to buy Havok  instead of Ageia, it was game over. 

PhysX was always going to have a tough time.  Any bit of hardware that relies on having third-party support is going to find it tough.  Even Dell pushing PhysX on the high-end XPS systems has failed to give it any real traction, and the move to mainstream quad-core processing in 2008 will be the final nail in its coffin.  Why bother with a separate card when a spare core on the CPU can do the work?

The problem with PhysX is that it's hard to measure the tangible.  What it delivers falls into one of three categories:

  • Eye candy that kills game play
  • Meaningless eye candy
  • A game where you must have a PhysX card to play it

None of the above sells games.

DirectX 10 -->

DirectX 10

Oh, and don't be fooled for one second into thinking that jumping on the DirectX 10 hardware bandwagon makes your system future-proof - it doesn'tThe other gaming dead end of 2007 is Microsoft's DirectX 10.  Experience has taught me to view new releases of DirectX with a great deal of suspicion.  Remember DirectX 8 which offered pixel and vertex shaders?  Apart from a few demos I don't remember any significant number of DirectX 8 games hitting shelves until DirectX 9 came along and replaced it.  Same thing with DirectX 9, the only difference being that when DirectX 9 capable games did become available, GPUs of the time had a tough time running them at speeds much better than a PowerPoint presentation. 

History is about to repeat itself with DirectX 10.  Now while Microsoft wants you to believe that you're in the stone age if your not DirectX 10 ready, you can't help by notice that DirectX 10 games are, well, rare.  In fact, there are no DirectX 10 games available.  What there is instead are games which have DirectX 10 code unceremoniously shoved in alongside DirectX 9.  Sure, these games (such as Company of Heroes) look good, but you get better frame rate from a flip-book. 

Oh, and don't be fooled for one second into thinking that jumping on the DirectX 10 hardware bandwagon makes your system future-proof - it doesn't.  By the time that true DirectX 10 games are released, current DirectX 10/10.1 hardware will be junk. 

Thoughts?

<< Home >>