With Windows Vista set for release on Jan. 30, you'd assume video game developers are geared up and ready to deal with the changes that each new version of Windows invariably demands. But, from the considerable chatter among developers of casual games, it appears that many are bracing for the worst, including higher production costs, pressure to get their unrated games rated, and having their games mysteriously disappear from consumers' desktops.
Discussion among members of the Casual Game Developers SIG of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) began on Dec. 18 when David Selle reported in a posting that "about 80% of the games we get from third-party developers have some kind of issue with Vista." Selle is vp of content acquisition and developer relations at Wild Tangent, a Redmond,Wash.-based developer and publisher of casual games -- small, downloadable games such as "Bejeweled" that are targeted at a mass-market audience.
"Just under half of that number are severe issues that will significantly impact a user's ability to play the game," Selle wrote. "In our network, these will have to be pulled once our OEM partners start shipping Vista on new consumer machines. Outside our network, these will die a slow but equally inevitable death (if nothing is done to fix them) as consumer adoption of Vista marches forward."
But Microsoft vehemently denies that Vista is "casual game unfriendly."
"I personally have been out talking to game developers about Vista for four years now," says Chris Donahue, group manager, Games for Windows. "I've given a ton of speeches at developer conferences, and my team of nine engineers and evangelists have scoured the world talking to anybody who will listen. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone."