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Steam hardware survey shows less use of Windows XP among gamers

The install base of Windows XP-based PCs among users of Steam has dropped considerable in just the past few months. The operating system, which is over 10 years old, is now used by only 25 percent or so of Steam users, according to the PC game download site's latest survey figures. That's down from over 33 percent of Steam users from the result of July's survey.

Windows 7, especially in its 64-bit version, is the current king of the hill with over 35 percent of Steam users having the OS installed and its expected that the percentage will continue to grow as more PC gamers update their systems. That's good for people who want to play games that will only run on DirectX 10 or DirectX 11. This weekend some web site spotted info that was actually first announced last summer. Battlefield 3, which will use a new version of developer Digital lllusions' Frostbite Engine, will be a DirectX 10-11 exclusive. That means Windows XP and its DirectX 9 API won't be able to run the game when it comes out in late 2011.

Download: Aliens vs Predator ATI Catalyst 10.2 Driver Hotfix Patch

This patch for the ATI Catalyst drivers addresses an issue with Aliens vs Predator where the game would hang or freeze when switching to DirectX 11 graphics from within the game using the ATI Radon HD 4700 and 4800 series video cards. It also resolves an issue when mouse cursor becomes enlarged at random while using Windows 7.

Download ATI Catalyst 10.2 Hotfix Patch (112 MB)

Just Cause 2 PC won't support Windows XP

Even with the apparent success of Windows 7's launch, there are still a ton of Windows XP PC gamers out there which means most game developers are still trying to make their games compatible with that version of Microsoft's OS. There have been a few exceptions; Stormrise, Halo 2 PC, Shadowrun and most recently Shattered Horizon all required Windows Vista be installed.

Now it looks like another upcoming PC game is ditching Windows XP. According to what is shown on Steam's page for the game, the system requirements for the upcoming open world action game Just Cause 2 require either Windows Vista or Windows 7 with a graphics card that supports DirectX 10. Voodoo Extreme has confirmed with the game's community manager that Just Cause 2's system specs are accurate. Does your rig measure up? You can check out the game's PC system requirements after the jump:

Gallery: Just Cause 2

Windows 7 overtakes Windows Vista in latest Steam hardware survey

Valve's Steam service lets its users voluntarily upload their PC system specs up to be compared and contrasted and every month Valve offers up updated surveys of what their users have inside their PCs. Their January 2010 survey results are in and the results show that Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system has now overtaken Windows Vista in gamers' PCs.

Combining both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, Windows 7 now has a 28.53 percent slice of the OS pie in the survey while Windows Vista's slice has 27.91 percent of Steam users. Now the Windows 7 numbers may be somewhat inflated due to the fact that some of Steam's users may still be using the free release candidate version of the OS that was released in 2009. That version will begin to become unusable in March and will shut down completely in June. It's also worth noting that the 32 bit version of Windows XP blows both Windows 7 and Vista away with 41.15 percent of Steam users still using the now 10 year old OS in their PCs.

Feature: Top 10 PC Gaming Related Failures Of The Decade (2000-2009)


While there have been lots of progress in ventures related to PC gaming in the past decade, there have also been lots of products, events and services that didn't quite turn out as planned. From computer operating systems that were buggy to plans to improve online services to launching a new consumer gaming event, we have seen lots of efforts that were less than successful.

Big Download has picked 10 such efforts related to PC gaming that either failed completely or morphed into something else entirely. These failures should always serve as a reminder that even the smartest of people and the biggest of companies can still have their issues.

Click on the image above to continue reading Top 10 PC Gaming Related Failures of the Decade (2000-2009)

DirectX11 for Windows Vista now available

One of the big problems with Windows Vista was the fact that Microsoft's next-gen 3D graphics API DirectX10 was exclusive to the OS. That was likely the big reason why game developers were reluctant to offer a lot of DirectX10-supported games since the audience for such games would be limited. The release of Windows 7 last week brought out a new version of the API, DirectX11, but Microsoft promised that it would make an apperance on Vista.

That time has apparently come as a new automatic update for Vista has now implemented DirectX11 support for the nearly three year old OS. With two versions of Windows now supporting DirectX11 we expect game developers will embrace using the API in their games than they did with DirectX10.

[Via Blue's News]

Feature: Should PC gamers upgrade to Windows 7?


It's the day before Microsoft unleashes Windows 7 to the world at large and their latest operating system for PCs has gotten a lot of praise compared to Windows Vista, which was released with tons of performance problems and compatibility issues.

But what if you want to upgrade your existing PC or even buy a new one? The big question for you is whether an upgrade to Windows 7 is right for you. We try to give you the 411 in this latest feature.

Feature: A Brief History of Windows Gaming

With the October 22nd release of Windows 7 just a week away, Big Download is taking a look back and previous versions of Microsoft Windows and follow the long (sometimes painful) evolution of PC gaming.

Feature: What PC Gamers Need To Know About Windows 7


In less than three weeks, Microsoft officially releases Windows 7, the newest version of their PC operating system (although some PC makers could sell Windows 7-based rigs before the official October 22 launch date). After nearly three years of dealing with the last release, Windows Vista, all indications are that Windows 7 will be far more accepted by the public in general and PC gamers in particular.We can also expect far more support from game developers for the new OS.

If you are a PC gamer, chances are you have already tried out the release candidate for Windows 7 or are waiting for the final release. But there may be some things that you don't know about Windows 7 that you need to be aware of before making that final upgrade. Here are a few items that you may need to keep in mind:

Windows 7 goes gold; Microsoft gives seven reasons to upgrade for gamers


It took a little longer than some previous rumors said, but today Microsoft announced that their latest Windows OS version, Windows 7, has "gone gold". Actually the term they use is "released to manufactoring" or RTM, meaning that the OS is now certified to be replicated and also sent to various hardware companies to install on new PCs. Windows 7 is still officially slated to have its launch on October 22.

So what does this mean for PC gamers. Well, Microsoft updated its Games for Windows web site with a list of seven reasons why gamers should upgrade to Windows 7. Some of the reasons given are a little on the odd side (we don't think many games will support multi-touch screens for example) but perhaps the biggest reason to upgrade to Windows 7 isn't listed; namely, it's not that crappy Windows Vista.
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