Four to Two
4. DirectX10 To Be Windows Vista Only
Even bigger than the delay of Windows Vista to January 2007 was the revelation made by Microsoft in 2006 that their OS will be the only one that will support DirectX10, their next generation PC gaming API. All those cool new graphical features will be denied to Windows XP owners when DirectX10 launches with Vista in January.
Thereís always a transitional period with each DirectX release but the fact that DirectX10 launches exclusively to Vista caught some PC gamers off guard and some complained that Microsoft was too quick in dumping Windows XP which will likely be around on many gamerís PC for a couple of years to come. Yet itís also true that the first true DirectX10 games will be few and far between in 2007 which should ease the transition as gamers make their way to upgrading to Vista.
3. E3 2007 Scaled Down
For over 10 years, the Electronic Entertainment Expo has been the single biggest event for major PC and console game announcements. The massive show got attention from both game and mainstream media as tens of thousands of people checked out what was coming up in the next year. Huge announcements, big parties and booth babes all combined to make E3 a gamerís dream come true.
That dream may have come to a halt as the ESA announced last July that they were scaling back E3 in 2007 to an invite only event with only a few thousand attending in a series of hotel room suites in Santa Monica rather than the massive Los Angeles Convention Center. Rumors flew that the game publishers got tired of spending millions of dollars for E3 exhibits, parties and other expenses. Most of the details of the new E3 2007 are still under wraps at the ESA. With president Doug Lowensteinís planned departure before E3 2007 begins it remains to be seen how E3 will make the change from a huge party to a small meeting room event.
One thing that is clear is that with the scaling back of E3 there are efforts being made to fill the void with events like the Game Developers Conference, PAX, and the German Games Convention being expanded and a new and so far unnamed October 2007 event in LA planned. It looks like cancelling E3, rather than saving money for publishers, will simply redistribute their funds to other shows.
2. AMD Purchases ATI
Itís without a doubt the biggest story in the PC hardware industry in 2006 as PC processor maker AMD announced in the summer their plans to purchase graphics chip maker ATI. The deal, which officially closed this year as well, has huge effects for PC gaming as well. With the purchase, AMD plans to enter the graphical race head on against ATIís former rival NVIDIA. AMD has already announced plans to create a hybrid graphics-PC processor for release sometime in 2008. More ominous, however, is the prospect that AMD is simply buying ATI for its engineers to help in AMDís struggles against Intel.
At the moment the effects of this purchase have yet to be felt by the PC gamer-consumer but we should soon see how AMDís purchase of ATI will change PC hardware and as a result the choices and features that PC gamers will have. Will this deal help or hurt NVIDIA? How will Intel be affected? 2007 will be the time when PC gamers will get a full view of how this important event will affect them.