Gaming in 2010 and Beyond - Where do we go from here?
The other day I took a look back at 2009 and the applications and games that have been released. I was rather unimpressed with what I saw. Out of the games that were released only a couple stood out as having any redeeming value. Even Modern Warfare 2 is diminished by choices made by Infinity Ward regarding the multiplayer side of the game (despite record breaking sales). 2009 was really not much of a good year for gaming. For the most part we were given follow-on titles and remakes of old ideas. Even Borderlands (which claims to be a unique game) turned out to be a new twist on an old idea.
So why was 2009 such a disappointing year for gaming? Well, one of the biggest reasons was the change of the guard with respects to Direct X. It looks like many developers held their breath while waiting on Microsoft, NVIDIA and AMD to drop the DX11 shoe. Out of those that did release games, most were stuck back on DX9 (a decision made to get the most money out of their titles). The only game of note that was DX10 (10.1) was from a company formerly known only for their benchmarking software. FutureMark released an online game called Shattered Horizon that not only uses DX10.1, but also had more than its share of firsts. In fact, the number of DX10 and 10.1 titles is still very short three years after the launch of Vista.
Sadly it seems that our investments into DX10 hardware have gone to waste. Game developers have either ignored it or only implemented halfhearted support for the feature set available there. This is a direct reflection on the poor market acceptance of Vista. After all, why spend the money on DX10 development if the majority of your potential purchasers are not using it?
But if DX10 has been overlooked by the developers, what then of DX11? Will we see a move towards this new standard? We know that Windows 7 has had a significantly better adoption rate and received far better reviews from the press (the same ones that slammed Vista), but as of today we are still only hearing about a handful of games that will be coming for DX11. Of these only Battlefield Bad Company 2 is a title really worth watching.
Oh, I know that someone will remind me that Dirt 2 is going to be DX11 and will be in stores during the first week of December. However, no matter how good Dirt 2 will be, it is still aimed at a relatively small portion of the market. There will be other titles, but again these are relatively small and again will have only a small impact on the gaming market. So it seems we are looking at a bleak future for DX11 gaming in much the same way as we did with DX10.
Or at least we would be, if it were not for a small, tiny, little (and much despised by AMD owners) thing called "The Way it's Meant to Be Played".