PC Gaming Is Alive and More Than Well
Several developers at the Nvidia 2007 Editor's conference last week told us that they were too far into the production cycle to consider the upcoming D3D standard. According to NPD research 254 new PC game titles are expected this fall. Roy Taylor, Nvidia Vice President of Developer Relations, stated that one undisclosed publisher reported online purchase and downloads of new PC Game titles were four times that of retail purchases. Microsoft General Manager of Games for Windows Kevin Unangst told us that there will be over "15 million Direct X 10 GPUs installed by the end of 2007 and over 102 million by the end of 2008."
Unangst continued noting that "gaming is expected to grow 80% over the next 5 years" and that Microsoft has shipped "over 60 million units" of its Vista operating system. All of the numbers point to something phenomenal: PC Gaming is alive and well. Recent DFC data projects PC gaming will bring in over $13 billion through 2012. In the short term and long, DX10 is here and will have plenty to fuel the cards that already service the market. Additionally, the future of the market will shift to the new standard and existing hardware will not be able to service indefinitely.
Vista is almost a year old and the Direct X graphics component Direct 3D is slated to get an update with the first service pack for the OS. Microsoft's Unangst stated that Direct3D 10.1 update "is not something we think any developer will target exclusively" and concluded by stating that "the hardware you see today (GeForce 8800GT) is the hardware people will be targeting for years to come." While that should make those who bought AMD and Nvidia DX10.0 hardware feel better, you should take those comments with a grain of salt. He made that statement to the press during an Nvidia sponsored event with high profile Nvidia personnel in the room.
In the short run there is no need to worry as the code for most games coming out over the next quarter will not be changed. With the holiday sales period already starting and demands for maximum seasonal earnings on their minds, publishers are pressuring developers to finalize their work sooner rather than later. That being said, those who are looking to purchase cards will need to think about what they really want past this season. Nvidia's GeForce 8800GT is a nice card for the price but it's only 10.0 compliant where AMD's upcoming releases of RV670, RV680, and R700 will all be DX 10.1 ready.