Game Developers Conference 2011: Day 1

Windows Gaming Update

You remember Windows, right? That operating system from Microsoft that runs on more PCs than any other OS in the world? Microsoft still sees Windows 7 as a major gaming platform. In fact, the PC Gaming Alliance recently announced that PC games had grown 19% in 2010, with worldwide sales of over $16 billion. So, PC gaming is certainly healthy.

Kevin Gee of Microsoft’s Advanced Technology Group presented an update on Windows gaming and what Microsoft is doing to keep the platform growing and vibrant moving forward.

Gee opened by noting that worldwide PC sales in 2010 increased by nearly 14%, to 346 million units. The gaming segment of the PC business now incorporates a huge variety of game types, from browser-based Facebook games to casual games to MMORPGs and high-end titles for hardcore PC users. Gee went on to note that Valve’s Steam Hardware Survey now shows that 34% of Steam users are using Windows 7 64-bit, so 64-bit penetration and growth is quite high. More interesting, DX10-capable hardware now comprises the majority of GPUs installed, at 56%.

Discrete graphics card market share, always a minority of installed GPUs, is expected to remain steady, even in the face of better-performing entry-level GPUs being built into CPUs, like AMD’s Fusion-based APUs and Intel’s Sandy Bridge.

The talk progressed into some details of DirectX 11, most notably the increased color precision available in DX11-capable GPUs. Graphics processors from both Nvidia and AMD are capable of rendering and scanning out 10-bit video, and monitors are arriving capable of supporting 10-bit color through digital inputs like DisplayPort. Gee also talked about Shader Model 5 sub-pixel sampling modes, which can substantially improve image quality, albeit with some performance loss.

Gee closed his talk with a fairly deep dive into GPUView, an analysis tool designed to help GPU driver writers see what’s going on inside the driver. But it can also help game developers get a handle on exactly how and when data is moving out of the game engine and onto the GPU and back.

More GDC Coming

Tune back in later, as we have more coverage from the rest of GDC, including photos of the Expo show floor and discussions with a number of different tech companies, both hardware and software.

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  • sudeshc
    Very Very Interesting...........lets hope this brings more and more good games :D.
    I also do liked that WOW disease thing its really real world like.
    1
  • Marcus52
    Now that we can have easily enough have 10-bit hardware on our gaming machines, it would be awesome if game devs and others would make the software to keep up.

    (For those who want to argue that we can't see a billion colors, look up color gamut, sRGB and AdobeRGB, and get to know what a color space diagram shows. I also suggest this article:

    http://www.100fps.com/how_many_frames_can_humans_see.htm

    which will give you some idea about what the human eye can see, and why people have different ideas about the limitations.)

    ;)
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  • utengineer
    sudeshcI also do liked that WOW disease thing its really real world like.


    WOW is a disease. Symptoms include lack of social skills, greasy hair, muscle atrophy, sunlight aversions, and.....increased instances of hot girls avoiding you like the plague. ;)
    4
  • Snipergod87
    The woman talking about the WoW Plague, her earings make her look like she could be a character from WoW.
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  • Anonymous
    @utengineer

    study well in the way of WOW have we...
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  • rawoysters
    The only thing I want to hear from Microsoft is that they are getting rid of "Games For Windows Live". I am tired of buying a game and having to go through all that crap before I can play it.
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  • pinkfloydminnesota
    Please ask guys from Rockstar if there's any chance of pc versions of red dead or noir?
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  • drudometkin
    rawoystersThe only thing I want to hear from Microsoft is that they are getting rid of "Games For Windows Live". I am tired of buying a game and having to go through all that crap before I can play it.


    Such as? Logging in one time at installation for XBL? What is all the crap you have to go through?
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  • rawoysters
    "Such as? Logging in one time at installation for XBL? What is all the crap you have to go through? "
    3rd party software that I am blackmailed to use even though I have no interest in it whatsoever. I pay big money for games and I don't expect to have to install software on my computer that I DON'T want in order to play it. It's like buying a new car and having to sign in with "Mobil" or "Shell" before I drive it each time.
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  • hurfburf
    rawoysters"Such as? Logging in one time at installation for XBL? What is all the crap you have to go through? " 3rd party software that I am blackmailed to use even though I have no interest in it whatsoever. I pay big money for games and I don't expect to have to install software on my computer that I DON'T want in order to play it. It's like buying a new car and having to sign in with "Mobil" or "Shell" before I drive it each time.


    Ah, so the same nonsense people say about Steam, then? Got it, thanks.
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  • davewolfgang
    Anonymous said:
    Ah, so the same nonsense people say about Steam, then? Got it, thanks.


    So then how does having another program that's not part of the game help anyone? Why can't Steam just have you create an account to keep track of the games' licenses and then download the ones you buy? Why does a PROGRAM (that's again, not the game) have to be installed on your computer, or you can't play (nor even buy)?
    0