USA Games and 64-bit Operating systems

by Thomas Ward

Oct. 8, 2011

Earlier this week we went out laptop hunting. As mentioned in a
previous message on the USA Games news blog USA Games is preparing to
create some cutting edge games for newer operating systems and PCs. We
are well aware of the trends in the PC market where most desktops and
laptops available are all running the latest Intel and AMD 64-bit
processors and are preloaded with Windows 7 Home Premium. With Windows
8 now in beta, which is a 64-bit only operating system, this pretty
much spells the end of 32-bit applications and hardware. Although,
32-bit applications will still run on a 64-bit platform most
developers are actively converting their 32-bit applications and games
to 64-bit. This is where USA Games is heading as well. Thus an upgrade
of hardware and software is necessary.

So earlier this week we went to our local Wal-Mart and invested in a
new Toshiba laptop to replace our aging Compaq Presario. This Toshiba
isn't the top of the line--its more of an e-machine--but what it does
have is pretty decent. Here is a review of the system specs.

* AMD duel core 64-bit processor.
* 3 GB of memory.
* A 325 GB hard drive.
* DVD reader/writer.
* Internal card reader.
* Built-in web cam.
* Built-in microphone.
* A 15 inch LED display.
* Full-sized keyboard.
* Windows 7 Home Premium.

Its far from the top of the line, but as far as features and the price
its not a bad deal. The advantage of this laptop is that it is 64-bit,
has a 64-bit operating environment, and it is also very lite.It is a
very decent system for software development, e-mail,  web browsing,
and anything else we need to use it for.

Now, that we have the new computer we have began the process of
upgrading our games as well as the Genesis 3D engine to support 64-bit
operating systems directly.  We've upgraded to Microsoft Visual Studio
2010, and eventually we will be replacing DirectSound support with
XAudio2. These and other changes will allow us to produce cutting edge
games for new Windows 64-bit users that, of course, will allow us to
have a long term support cycle for our games for many many years to

However, we've not completely forgotten about our XP customers. We'll
be producing and releasing 32-bit versions of our games for a while as
that is still our primary market group. It would be less than ideal to
invest completely in the new technologies when the majority of our
customers are still running  Windows XP and older 32-bit hardware and
software. The best way to describe where we are at is we are preparing
for the conversion to newer 64-bit hardware and software, but we won't
be immediately switching as there is a lot of 32-bit users out there
who may not upgrade for at least the next three to five years or so.
When Microsoft drops XP around 2014 we'll probably be supporting
Windows 7 and Windows 8 more directly, but as it stands now Windows 7
is the minority not the majority. So at the moment we'll get the ball
rolling in that direction, but we will be offering backwards
compatible software too.

Thomas Ward
President of USA Games Interactive

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