The PC Gaming: What We’ve Witnessed, What to Expect in 2007

January 1, 2007 5:15pm CST
Of course, having in mind the recently launched Wii and PS3, everyone would think this year has been “the year of the console”. But the big picture shows that the PC is still strong. Let’s give Caesar what belongs to Caesar. As you all know, one of the two founders of Intel came up with a law more than 30 years ago about how processors’ computing power will double at every 2 years, due to the increased number of transistors that will be integrated into them. 2006 has shown that Moore’s law is closing in to its limits, since the shrinking of transistors almost reached the physical borders beyond which electricity would tear apart the circuits. Of course, we will still see processors manufactured with the 65nm technology or even the 45 nm technology in the future, but beyond these dimensions it’s becoming almost impossible the have a silicon chip working. What does that have to do with the PC gaming? Well, video games are today ranked among the three most demanding software applications for a PC, which means that they are stressing the hardware components very much, especially the CPU. For example, to have a game look exactly like in reality on a simple desktop (extremely high-definition textures, smooth animations and realistic interaction of objects in real time) the hardware configuration would have to be approximately 10,000 times more powerful than the average most powerful desktop found in our days… A lot of games today are boasting with advanced AI, which reacts almost naturally and in real time to the player’s actions (although there is still a lot to do in this domain…), and this means that the more powerful de processor is the better for the gameplay. The same thing applies of course for consoles (the PS3 is the best example, followed by the Xbox 360), but PCs will always have the lead in the computing-power domain, due to their ubiquity and their metamorphosis capabilities (ever-changing hardware configurations). Games are very sensitive to processing power, and 2006 has been a year when the raw force of the CPU and GPU was unleashed in a new form: the multi-core. Dual-core processors have rapidly been adopted, thanks to Intel’s lead in the 65nm technology (which also ensured lower prices for high-end performance). Moreover, the SLI technology from Nvidia or the CrossFire from ATI have also reached maturity (stable drivers and optimized games for them) and have finally reached the masses (with an overwhelming advantage for SLI though). This allowed game studios to create software applications that match the expectations of hardcore gamers, thus providing them with a more realistic experience. Games like FEAR, Tomb Raider Legend (with next-gen content activated) Splinter Cell Double Agent, Gothic 3,The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion or even Titan Quest are visualized at their best on systems that use the power of the multicore (CPU or GPU). Actually, if we take a panoramic look at what next-generation content is for games, it is impossible to separate it from multi-core processing. Even next-generation consoles like the PS3 or the Xbox 360 are using it. It would be a mistake of course to consider that next generation games are reduced to multi-core processing. The RAM plays an important role too, and with Vista coming, it will play an even more important role. And since we’ve reached the Vista chapter, it is necessary to remind what Microsoft is doing to “save” the PC as a gaming platform. Since according to estimates about 18% of the time spent on a PC running Windows is dedicated to gaming, Microsoft thought at improving the standards. There are at least two major improvements that Microsoft wants to bring to its flagship product Vista, due to be released early next year, in order to make the PC platform more appealing for gamers and developers alike: the DirectX 10 and the new “Games for Windows” program. The latter is expected to raise the standards for PC gaming, starting with a better visibility on shelves (it has a new logo). A Microsoft spokesman said: "New game titles carrying the Games for Windows branding will support wide-screen gaming, can be launched from within Windows Media Center, will be compatible with 64 bit consumer versions of Windows and support the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows (for games which enable gamepads)”. According to Jim Allchin, Co-President Platforms & Services at Microsoft, it is not a contradiction between the Xbox platform owned by Microsoft and the Windows platform. It is merely destined to make a choice easier for customers, who will see on stores’ shelves a more accurate distinction between the two types of games. Among the important releases of 2007 in PC gaming is the launch of Crysis, which is expected to be the game of the year (I know, it’s not launched but have you seen the pre-views?...). Thanks to the advanced Cry engine, the DX 10 capabilities and the Shader Model 4.0 full support, the vast landscapes and the unseen-before AI (and yes, the original story with the aliens invading…) Crysis will probably have no match. I’m curious about how STALKER will compete, although from what I’ve seen in previews it won’t even match FEAR…
1 response
@adnan007 (1083)
• India
1 Jan 07
Now a days,as the world is developing in technology the Pc game is too starting to develop.As like before the quality of graphics,sound was to an average extent but now day to day it is developing.So in the future Pc gaming would be excelent in the future as the graphics,sound and story would be much too better than before.So,In 2007 we will be able to see much better games for playing.