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Will Vista Run Your Games? 115

Posted by Zonk
from the mostly dept.
mikemuch writes "With Vista reaching the more stable beta 2 designation, Jason Cross at ExtremeTech decided to run a slew of popular PC games -- Oblivion, F.E.A.R, GTA, Civ IV, WoW, and more -- on the OS to see what will and won't run, and how well. His findings are encouraging, but unsurprisingly the OS is not quite ready for prime time. Some work is needed on the part of driver writers, Microsoft, and game developers to get the gaming experience ready for launch day. The biggest problem he found was StarForce copy protection and a performance drop-off in many of the games when using anti-aliasing. From the article: 'With Microsoft proclaiming a "PC gaming renaissance" around the launch of Vista, they need to really deliver a fantastic experience, and it's not quite there yet.'"
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Will Vista Run Your Games?

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  • OS X? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:12PM (#15436213)
    It wont even run your games? They really ARE copying OS X.
    • It wont even run your games? They really ARE copying OS X.

      What do you expect. They have a perfectly fine gaming machine that they want to sell you, that just needs a TV ;)
  • by LunchTableGoat (235548) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:13PM (#15436222)
    Am I the only one that read the headline as "Will Vista Ruin Your Games?"
  • by Agent00Wang (146185) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:13PM (#15436225) Homepage
    "and it's not quite there yet"

    Hence why it's coming out next year, not now.
    • Indeed. No shit, a beta version of an OS doesn't properly run games from the previous OS yet.
      • So you're saying a mature OS, like XP, for example, should play most games from previous versions of Windows?

        I'm sure I'm not the only one to have found this to be anything but the case. They break games from one version of Direct X to another, more less the whole OS.

        Microsoft has never shown themselves to be worried about breaking backward compatibility. The compatibility mode built into XP is a joke, and not a funny one.
        • Microsoft has never shown themselves to be worried about breaking backward compatibility.

          I don't agree with that at all. There's nothing a developer would like more than to be able to completely ignore backwards compatibility, and there are few things more important to people. Microsoft would LOVE to just break everything and start fresh, but there's no way anybody would upgrade if none of their programs ran on the new OS. Whether or not they're successful is a completely different issue. :-) I guara
          • Microsoft would LOVE to just break everything and start fresh, but there's no way anybody would upgrade if none of their programs ran on the new OS.

            Unless Microsoft's new OS came with a copy of Microsoft's previous OS and a virtualizer. I seem to remember that Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.4 for PowerPC did something similar during the 9 to X transition.

        • I'm sure I'm not the only one to have found this to be anything but the case. They break games from one version of Direct X to another, more less the whole OS.

          For example ?

          Microsoft has never shown themselves to be worried about breaking backward compatibility.

          Considering the ridiculous lengths Microsoft commonly go to so that backwards compatibility is preserved, that's pretty funny.

          You were shooting for "+1, Funny" right ?

        • I'm sure I'm not the only one to have found this to be anything but the case. They break games from one version of Direct X to another, more less the whole OS.

          I'm going to call bullshit here. For the last 3 or 4 versions of DX, the previous API remains in place, unchanged. To code to the new version of DX, you must code to a new (but similar) API.
  • by entmike (469980) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:17PM (#15436280) Homepage
    Of course Vista will run a majority of its back catalogue. If they want to make money, of course it will support the major titles. I'm sure as always there will be kinks to work out, but are we really going to have a discussion about how it potentially won't? Microsoft's track record has gotten better for its backwards compatibility over the years, at least in my book.
    • Because the Windows XP attempt at compatability layering with older games went soooooo well. There were plenty of good games, like Alpha Centari, that XP won't run unless you get the patch that the developer had to make to let it be compatable. Given that Vista is coming with a new version of Direct X that won't be compatable with any version before it, will the situation repeat itself where the attempt of a system workaround will fail miserably?
      • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:58PM (#15436674) Journal
        100% backward compatibility is a stupid expectation. Considering the technical hurdles to get DOS- and Win9x-native software to run on what is essentially a rework of Win2K, I think they did a great job of providing compatibility that didn't have to be there.

        Apple and Linux aren't any better about running 6- to 10-year-old software. OSX just refuses to run quite a few old programs, and Linux just drives you insane trying to sort out dependencies and versions and all the rest of that fun stuff.

        When it's done right, Linux is probably the most backwards-compatible...but XP's compatibility is somewhere in the middle, and much easier than Linux...when it works.
        • I've seen Unix binaries for HPUX run 7 major versions after the original compilation, and we didn't have source. So I think that pretty damn near 100% backwards compatibility for a more used OS should be achievable.
          • Your expectations are backwards - when there is a limited software pool running on a limited hardware pool (like you HPUX example), backwards compatibility is easier to achieve. Windows software vs. hardware combinations are so complex as to be nonunderstandable.
          • And I've seen programs designed for DOS 3.3 run under Windows XP.

            Just because we've seen it done doesn't mean it's always feasible.

            And the other reply to your post sums up my other point nicely, so I don't even have to make it :)
            • And I've seen programs designed for DOS 3.3 run under Windows XP.

              Only because you've installed the AppleWin emulator ;-) (Apple had a product called DOS 3.3 long before Microsoft released MS-DOS version 3.3.)

          • I've seen Unix binaries for HPUX run 7 major versions after the original compilation, and we didn't have source.

            And XP running DOS programs dating from the mid 80s is not at all uncommon.

            DOS games - as anyone dating from the era should know - *frequently* relied on direct access to hardware and undocumented bugs/quirks/features in both hardware and the different versions (and brands) of DOS. That they often don't work in a compatibility layer that doesn't allow direct hardware access and typically only r

          • And Solaris does the same, and most of the other commercial unixes... VMS can do the same thing too.

            This is much easier to achieve than on dos/windows, for a number of reasons:

            UNIX programs tend to use the APIs, rather than accessing hardware directly like dos games did
            UNIX APIs are standardised, documented and have remained so for years, there is no incentive to use undocumented functionality because that would hurt portability to other platforms (many unix programs are written for multiple unix platforms)
        • At the very least they could easily allow for *installation* of older Windows versions so that if someone wanted to, they could partition their hard drive and run something. That's not a perfect solution either, but at least you wouldn't be stuck with the complete inability to run older software without trying to find older versions of windows for resale (or download them, and risk an inane lawsuit).
        • Linux is probably the most backwards-compatible

          Not for proprietary software, which most PC peripheral manufacturers seem to prefer. A proprietary device driver that uses the right subset of WDM can run on Windows 98se, Windows Me, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. Linux, on the other hand, changes the kernel ABI on every kernel version, and different distributions use different kernel versions.

        • "OSX just refuses to run quite a few old programs, and Linux just drives you insane trying to sort out dependencies and versions and all the rest of that fun stuff."

          And now that classic is no longer supported on Intel processors all those ancient Mac apps will not run.
          • Not without an emulator, but some do exist that can atleast run m68k mac software...
            The idea is, to break backwards compatibility late enough that you can emulate the old machines as fast or faster than the original hardware the apps ran on. Ofcourse, this relies on people not writing apps for the old OS on new hardware.
            • I'm pretty sure that they run PowerPC code now as well. As far as emulation goes it just means you are mostly in the same boat as emulating OS9 on any other OS (i.e. Windows). Classic wasn't perfect but it did make running the old software much easier than getting an emulator working.
        • "100% backward compatibility is a stupid expectation."

          I disagree. Maybe I just don't buy into the whole software is a service mechanic theme yet. I find however that I've peeved when I have to jump through hoops and hurdles to make a game that came out in the 1980s function on "state of the art" technology. When the OS starts requiring a quarter GB of ram just to run, I *DO* expect somewhere in there room for the 640k that ran everything in DOS back in the day. We're talking less than 1% of the whole sy
  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:18PM (#15436297) Homepage
    Nearly every copy protection system uses kernel drivers, and if Vista isn't happy about loading older drivers I'd expect variant of these problems to affect many games and some apps too (Picasa and iTunes both use kernel level code for some features).

    Blaming this on StarForce specifically hardly seems fair unless there's a specific reason Microsoft are blocking it from loading ....

  • by Dark Paladin (116525) <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:21PM (#15436323) Homepage
    The question isn't "Can it run my games", but "Is there a value to installing Vista that will make my games run better"?

    The only reason why I have a WIndows box is for the games (and if they ever get the virtualization stuff fast enough in OS X, then that goes too). It runs XP, and seems to work OK (except that Oblivion keeps shutting down. Shrug.)

    With Vista, the two extra goodies are:

    ESRB rating lockdown - as a Dad of three, that's all right. Personally, I find it easier not to buy my children games I don't feel they should be playing, or let them play it - but OK, it's a nice feature.

    DirectX 10, which evidently will *only* be Vista (though I've yet to see a technological reason why it can't go into XP other than "We need a reason for you to upgrade to Vista).

    DirectX 10 won't really be interesting to me until I upgrade the video card, and in a year with the Wii, and maybe a reduced-price PS3 purchase next year, I don't see myself upgrading to Vista then for DX10 until at least 2008 - which would be in time for the first service pack to come out to fix the things they missed in Vista.

    So, for these two things, I'm not ready to shell out the $130 or whatever it will cost - but I guess it's good to know that the games that run under the gaming OS I use now will continue to run.
    • ...but I guess it's good to know that the games that run under the gaming OS I use now will continue to run.
      That in itself is another excellent reason not to upgrade to Vista, because with its infestation of DRM and Treacherous Computing that won't be guaranteed in the future.
      • Good point - especially as the article mentioned that unless you massage some Admin rights, the Starforce protected games wouldn't run.
        • Well, assuming you can't find a crack, you could always just rip it to an image and use daemontools to mount it with emulated protection...
          • Funny, those are the exact reasons why OpenGL and Console gaming will prosper while Bungie and Valve are asking WTF?

            • Well, I do agree, but there are issues and liabilities with console games as well. They're much harder to back up, requiring additional hardware in most cases, and you can't even back up GC games, although you can load copies over the network, verrrry slowwwwly. Or so I'm told, I have yet to do that one. OTOH, it's true that they tend to "just work". Not always... For instance Gran Turismo 4 has been killing old school PS2s, the few that managed to survive this long with the crap Sony laser units for exampl
        • Eh? Starforce protected games won't run under XP without admin rights either - or are you trying to say that you need to grant the admin account even more rights under Vista? (Which raises two questions - what account do you use to elevate admin's privileges, and why not simply run the game as that account instead?)
          • Eh? Starforce protected games won't run under XP without admin rights either - or are you trying to say that you need to grant the admin account even more rights under Vista? (Which raises two questions - what account do you use to elevate admin's privileges, and why not simply run the game as that account instead?)

            As I understand, in Vista you will not be able to run with full control over everything, even if your name is administrator. When you need more priviledges (for things like installing softwa
            • I've not seen anything on Vista - but what if your password is *blank*? (and no, I'm not meaning the letters b l a n k....)
              • I've not seen anything on Vista - but what if your password is *blank*? (and no, I'm not meaning the letters b l a n k....)

                I'm guessing you can't make it blank. From everything I've heard, Vista is supposed to be heavy on security, and allowing blank admin passwords would pretty much make all that work useless.
            • Ubuntu and Mac OSX do this as well, though from what I've heard Vista doesn't implement it as well, and asks for your password at for stupid things like adusting the time.

              The reasoning behind this is that adjusting the clock in windows modifies the system time instead of some user-specific timekeeper. Without that restriction some chronologically pedantic dingus could knock himself out of sync with the domain servers and will fail any kind of authentication attempts automatically. Granted this means absol

            • Ubuntu and Mac OSX do this as well, though from what I've heard Vista doesn't implement it as well, and asks for your password at for stupid things like adusting the time.

              If you cannot understand why adjusting the system time needs elevated privileges, you're probably not qualified to be making any comments about security. At all.

              • If you cannot understand why adjusting the system time needs elevated privileges, you're probably not qualified to be making any comments about security. At all.

                Linux and OSX, both more secure OSs than Windows, allow users to change the time without root priviledges.

                I'm sorry I don't understand your crazy Windows ways. Maybe I should look to your OS for guidelines on security, given it's great track record in that department. Ha!

                [/sarcasm]

                Actually, as I understand the reason that *nix lets
                • Linux and OSX, both more secure OSs than Windows, [...]

                  Quite arguable.

                  [...] allow users to change the time without root priviledges.

                  Linux certainly doesn't:

                  [CHI csmith@unix-prod01 ~]$ date
                  Wed May 31 21:35:42 CDT 2006
                  [CHI csmith@unix-prod01 ~]$ date 05312145
                  date: cannot set date: Operation not permitted
                  Wed May 31 21:45:00 CDT 2006
                  [CHI csmith@unix-prod01 ~]$ date
                  Wed May 31 21:36:02 CDT 2006
                  [CHI csmith@unix-prod01 ~]$

                  Unless, of course, you're root:

                  [CHI csmith@unix-prod01 ~]$ sudo date 05312145
                  Password:

                  • I gotta back you up on this one. According to Aaron Margosis [msdn.com].

                    Windows doesn't allow LUA users to change the system time. That is not a LUA bug, because changing the system time has security implications with respect to auditing and to the Kerberos protocol.

                    Also, Windows won't let your computer authenticate to a domain if your system time differs from the DCs time significantly.

          • or are you trying to say that you need to grant the admin account even more rights under Vista?

            I don't know if it applies in this particular case, but one difference between XP and Vista is that XP will complain if you try to install a non-certified driver. Vista won't let you install a non-certified driver at all. In case you're wondering, this is so that nothing that hasn't been vetted by Microsoft (i.e. is "Trusted") can run in kernel mode (and thereby circumvent Treacherous Computing).

            In other words,

          • I think the point is that XP's user accounts are Admin accounts by default. Under Vista, I believe that accounts are -not- in the Admin group by default. So Starforce (and tons of other apps that require admin rights to run) will, to most people, suddenly "stop working" under Vista.

            Most users don't know what administrative privileges mean, and couldn't care less about it. All they'll see is that Vista breaks stuff that used to work.
    • by phorm (591458) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:35PM (#15436450) Journal
      Given the current trend towards various countries/continents/etc pushing for MS to modify their OS for unbundling purposes, etc... what would be the scenario around the "forced upgrade" for use of DirectX 10?

      XP is still within the support cycle for MS. DirectX 10 could be seen as an upgrade or update for Windows OS's. Therefore, should MS not be supporting DX10 on XP?

      I'd imagine that when Vista comes out, if things start requiring DX10 we may see a certain amount of political pressure against our favorite monopolist to backport proper support.
    • The question isn't "Can it run my games", but "Is there a value to installing Vista that will make my games run better"?
      That assumes that people will mostly get Vista by upgrading from XP. More typically, they'll get it pre-installed on new machines. If Vista breaks a lot of games, that's a problem for gamers who want to buy new hardware.
    • The question isn't "Can it run my games", but "Is there a value to installing Vista that will make my games run better"?

      But you're forgetting the very valid question of "Will my games still work when Vista is finally foisted upon me?"

      I have a Situation in my recent memory. We used to have this silly, awful, yet popular platform for games called MS-DOS. Then Microsoft absolutely brutally killed its support, when they grew tired of people asking "how the hell do I run Ultima VII?". Then there was a looo

    • 50% of the reason Microsoft is doing this is because XP has been compromised and is now freely pirated.

      If they can get away with making DX10 ONLY for Vista, then they can have XP Round 2 with people and try to make it harder to pirate. And besides, all those legitimate users will have to buy it, too.

      Oh and the hardware required to support it.

      Fun times for everyone but the consumer! As usual!
    • DirectX 10, which evidently will *only* be Vista (though I've yet to see a technological reason why it can't go into XP other than "We need a reason for you to upgrade to Vista).

      The problem lies in the new display driver model in Vista, which allows GPU's to be multitasked among other things. Porting it to XP probably wouldn't be a simple task, and I think it is a valid excuse to making DX10 Vista exclusive.
    • DirectX 10, which evidently will *only* be Vista (though I've yet to see a technological reason why it can't go into XP other than "We need a reason for you to upgrade to Vista).

      You don't think the completely new display subsystem and video driver model in Vista might have just a little bit to do with it ? Just maybe ?

  • I doubt it. (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:21PM (#15436331) Homepage Journal

    Will Vista Run Your Games?

    No... because I'll never install it!
    • LOL!

      Of course, the majority of people around will tell you you MUST install the Enterprise Premium edition in order to play the latest and greatest World of Grand Theft Sims in 3D. ...meanwhile you'll just fire up your system and continue to get real work done. :)
  • I was under the impression that Microsoft wanted only Vista-only games to play on Vista. I'm sure it would be a pain in the butt to accomodate all the XP-related issues on top of the Vista-related issues.
    • That would be pretty stupid, don't you think? MS might want you to upgrade, but they aren't going to render your previous games unplayable once you've done so.

      People, if that were true, would not go to Vista, which means game studios wouldn't target DX10 either.

      As it is, it will probably be a while before game studios target DX10; they actually do try to target the largest audience.
      • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:51PM (#15436597) Homepage
        Oh, I don't know... Is $600+ for a video game console or $60 per game is stupid?

        Microsoft will be pressuring developers to create Vista-only games to force gamers and consumers to upgrade to Vista. This happened during the transition from Windows 98 to Windows XP.
        • Oh, I don't know... Is $600+ for a video game console or $60 per game is stupid?

          A computer isn't a game console that just plug in and have work. People are more relucant to upgrade their OS than buying another black box. And yes, $600 for a game console, when you can have a computer that can play games AND do other tasks, is stupid.

          Microsoft will be pressuring developers to create Vista-only games to force gamers and consumers to upgrade to Vista. This happened during the transition from Windows 98 to Wi
          • We all know that when Joe Average buys his new Dell/HP/Whatever sometime in 2007 it will come preinstalled with Vista. Plus MS will cease support for XP forcing upgrades as it gets more bug prone than ever.

            Not all old games will work on Vista, a few new/popular ones will be patched after launch if there are more sales to be had or if there isn't a sequel planned for release soon. Pretty much the same story as on the 360 (not many games been added to their backward compatibility list since it first appeare
            • We all know that when Joe Average buys his new Dell/HP/Whatever sometime in 2007 it will come preinstalled with Vista. Plus MS will cease support for XP forcing upgrades as it gets more bug prone than ever.

              You assume everyone is going to be buying a new PC in 2007. Most Joe Average's already have a PC. MS will end [microsoft.com] support for XP two years after Vista is available. XP has been getting more and more stable since its release. You act as if software rots, and more and more bugs will be introduced into a sys
              • "You assume everyone is going to be buying a new PC in 2007. Most Joe Average's already have a PC. MS will end support for XP two years after Vista is available. XP has been getting more and more stable since its release. You act as if software rots, and more and more bugs will be introduced into a system where they weren't before."

                Sure not everyone will buy a PC at this time true, but new PCs will be sold with Vista and with PCs becoming a consumer item the speed at which they are replaced seems to be incr
          • I don't recall MS pressuring game studios on the move from 98 to XP, especially since for some people, the move was 98 to WinME. Thankfully, ME was short lived.

            It wasn't a blantant "do this or die!" threat. It was more like a subtle "do this or die later!" threat. I was at Atari during that transition where I was handling the QA inventory. Within an year after XP came out, all the PCs were XP and only the compatibility lab had earlier versions of Windows. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing as XP support
  • with the perverse use of memory and the fact that my computer is about 1,5 years old
    ( cpu[1 x AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2800+ @ 2.09GHz] mem[Physical : 1012MB, 81.4% free] disk[Total : 300.21GB, 69.40% Free] video[nVidia Corporation NV31 [GeForce FX 5600XT] ) I can basicly give up all hopes of decent performance.
    • What on earth gave you that idea?
      Vista's specs are high because they've factored in running antivirus, firewall, antispyware and other desktop stuff, particularly office. If you turn the eye-candy down it will pretty much run on any XP-capable machine. Besides, I would expect that while you're running a full screen game, windows doesn't draw the desktop etc anyway (I don't know for sure).
    • I can see by your choice of a GeForce FX 5600XT that you should have already given up hopes of decent performance long before Vista.
      I keed! Sort of. Upgraded to a 5600 Ultra from a 4400 and hardly noticed any performance increase.
  • my question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blob Pet (86206) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:36PM (#15436459) Homepage
    How long will it be before the games I buy require Vista? Seeing that I only boot into XP when I want to play certain games, I have absolutely no desire to install Vista.
    • Pretty soon. MS Studio/Published games will be DX10 only... and DX10 will only be on Vista because they need every trojan horse they can get to force you to 'upgrade' to this bloated Edsel of a 'Clippy the OS'.

      Third party games should still be DX9 for a while. After that... well screw it. Console only.
    • Exactly.
      That's why I've given up on Valve. They're MS OS exclusive, and I really have no interest in supporting a company with such a narrow business plan.

      id, Blizzard have the right approach when it comes to OS support.
      • That's why I've given up on Valve. They're MS OS exclusive, and I really have no interest in supporting a company with such a narrow business plan.

        Good advice. I'd never support a company whose business plan was so narrow as to only target ~95% - 99% of their potential market, either.

    • Not a single respectable source or group is high on everyone moving to Vista. For now it is a solution in search of a problem. XP is "good enough", runs very well on 5 year old hardware, and is also pretty affordable.

      Vista has high hardware requirements and even needs a GPU upgrade for DX10. It just isn't looking very compelling right now. I've been around the block a few times with MS and OS upgrades starting with Win 3.1. There are always people saying "what does X offer over what we are already running?"
      • Vista has high hardware requirements [...]

        Vista doesn't have particularly high hardware requirements (I was surprised they weren't higher). Even a mid-range PC from ~3 years ago is only likely to require a memory upgrade - (and even that's unlikely, in the case of an enthusiast) - and a "high end" PC ~5 years ago should be capable with a cheap video card upgrade.

        That's assuming you want the fancy Aero interface, of course - if the "Classic" interface is good enough for you then anything back to about 7 y

  • Paul Thurrott review of compatibility for bata2 http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/winvista_beta2 _04.asp [winsupersite.com] 64-Bit (x64) Support is worse http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/winvista_ff_x 64.asp [winsupersite.com] Also Does UAP get in the way of in game updateing? Will M$ be able to make UAP work with games copy Protection / cheat Protection ?
  • Everyone so far has commented on "why should I upgrade, if XP is fine, etc..." The real question is, and we should start a pool, "When will you be forced to upgrade to Vista?" It starts slowly, with DirectX 10 not going into XP. From there it is only a matter of time till all games will soon require DirectX 10. I am picking 7/1/2007 for my pool date.

    DK
  • It will run all these games [microsoft.com] with no problem! And obviously you'd never want to play anything else.
  • DX10 question (Score:3, Informative)

    by DarthChris (960471) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @01:59PM (#15437334)
    MS officially announced (some time ago) that there would be a SP3 for XP, and that it would contain some of Vista's new API's etc. My wonder is that maybe they will stick DX10 in that, given sufficient community pressure?
  • I have yet to read even one reason why anyone should get Vista. Everything that was somewhat interesting when they were creating buzz around what was called Longhorn back then has since been stripped, leaving what behind? XP SP3, essentially.

    Nobody will run games on Vista except for the folks who buy a new machine where it's pre-installed. Since that'll be no earlier than 2008 what exactly is the point of testing an incomplete beta version now?
  • I hope it does... but not just the catalog of XP games. Most of all I want it to run the games that were lost in the shuffle between win95/98 and winXP. For anything released back in the DOS days you can find a decent emulator (DOSbox, Scummvm etc) but for the Win95/98 years I'm left to tinker with the flakey compatibility modes in an effort to run some fairly decent titles!
  • Do we really need a PC gaming revolution? I dunno, but right now it seems like anything that developers can come up with, they can do already -- on WinXP, and on Linux if they cared enough.

    It's not like there's some massive potential that can be unlocked by some new OS or related technology. The technology is fine -- now what we need is smart people writing good software. Arena.net's streaming software for Guild Wars? Now *that* is a revolution.

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