One usability addition to Windows Vista was the so called Windows Game Explorer that would display all installed Windows Vista games in one menu. It would not only display the usual Microsoft games that ship with the Windows operating system but also games installed by the user of the computer system. Previously installing games meant to have their links scattered around in the Windows Start Menu with the only option to manually move them into a folder to have them all together.
The Windows Game Explorer goes one step further by providing a control panel view of the installed Windows Vista games. At the first start of Windows Vista only the default games show up with big icons which makes identification easier. Microsoft added a few new games to Windows Vista and raised the design of them tremendously compared to previous operating systems. The biggest improvement over Windows XP however is the automatic addition of many games to the Windows Vista Game Explorer.
Not all games are compatible though. It's fair to say that new games and popular old games are most likely compatible while lesser popular games are not. These can still be added but need to be moved to the Game Explorer by the user.
Several software developers have tried to port the functionality of the Vista Game Explorer to Windows XP to give XP users a similar experience. Users who are interested in playing Windows Vista Games on Windows XP can perform a Google search and will find ways to play them. It's rather shady and I would not advise doing it unless you own Windows XP and Windows Vista. The search string Windows Vista Games should do the trick.
Microsoft made another decision that had lesser impact on Windows Vista sales than they hoped. DirectX 10 was made to run exclusively on Windows Vista. Windows XP gamers faced the decision to either stay on Windows XP and play the games with DirectX 9 or switch to Windows Vista to be able to play games in DirectX 10. The lack of high end video cards that were able to produce a constant playable framerate in DirectX 10 and the lack of games supporting that feature were probably the two biggest reasons why this strategy failed completely.
Microsoft lists only nine games on their DirectX 10 website. Good games but no critical mass to justify switching from Windows XP to Windows Vista just for gaming purposes.
There are not many exclusive Windows Vista games either which might make users change other than the newly created games that ship with the operating system and the games Halo2 and Shadowrun, both no prime examples of PC games though.
The Game Explorer will hopefully make its way into the next Microsoft operating system codenamed Windows 7. DirectX 10, or maybe 11 surely will and it remains to be seen if Windows Vista users will be left standing in the rain like the Windows XP users before.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.