The release of Microsoft’s next operating system Windows 7 is just around the corner. Things are shaping up nicely and it is very unlikely that we will see any last minute delays. One interesting question that came up in the last days (with E3 taking place) was how gamers would benefit from Windows 7. We know that Microsoft will ship DirectX 11 with Windows 7 but the problem here is that only AMD has shown a DirectX 11 video card so far on a demonstration earlier this week in Taiwan. A release date for the first video card supporting DirectX 11 is set to 2009 with the likelihood that it will be near the end of the year.
Many gamers fear that DirectX 11 will take the same path that DirectX 10 took when it was announced that it would be an exclusive Windows Vista feature. While it is unlikely that DirectX 11 will take off before 2010 or even 2011 it is also unlikely that it will meet the same fate as DirectX 11. The main reason for this is that Windows 7 will see a higher acceptance rate among PC users if the experience of the beta and release candidate versions can be trusted.
Windows 7 is destined to unite Windows XP and Windows Vista users under its banner which makes the market more attractive to gaming companies. Support by video card manufacturers and gaming companies is essential as well for the success but if there is enough market then this will follow naturally.
There is however a second, often overlooked feature of Windows 7 that could become the future of gaming. At least for some gaming genres. We are talking about the touch capabilities of the operating system. Microsoft has already announced a Touchpack for Windows 7 that can be supplied with hardware bundles. This bundle contains three application and three game demonstrations that make use of the touch features of the operating system.
Touch gaming will not take off in the coming year but some gaming companies are already experimenting with touch features as shown in the video below. It is showing a strategy game that is running on Microsoft Surface hardware.
Which leads to the closing question: Will you be buying a DirectX 11 video card or touch capable screen in the near future? What’s your vision of the Windows 7 games future?