The tiny fraction of folks still running Windows XP or Vista will soon lose another current game, as Path Of Exile will stop working on them after an impending update. The fine free-to-play action-RPG's developers, Grinding Gear Games, say that "only 0.1%" of their active users use either operating system, which are which are respectively 12 and 17 years old. Grinding Gear also plan to scrap the game's old DirectX 9 version. All of this, they say, will let them better focus their time as well as let them make the game run faster
Many newer games haven't supported XP or Vista in years, relying on technologies that don't work with them or considering them simply not popular enough to merit the extra work, though many ongoing games kept at it for a fair while. Blizzard Entertainment dropped XP and Vista support in their current games, including fellow action-RPG Diablo 3, in 2017. The Steam client, housing many games, waited until this very month to ditch them. Even Microsoft have finished updating and fixing the OSes, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to security holes. It is sensible to switch away if possible.
Grinding Gear will take this opportunity to also cut off the game's DirectX 9 version, which was necessary for XP and Vista. While you might expect this to be used chiefly by folks on older systems, Grinding Gear say that's not so.
"From what we can see, most of the players choosing to use the DirectX 9 version of Path Of Exile were not doing so because their operating system didn't support DirectX 11, but because the old renderer allowed you to disable shadows," they explained in yesterday's announcement. Which they're not keen on, and say isn't necessary.
"Path Of Exile's game environments are designed around their shadows. Over time, we have relied more and more on shadows as a critical part of the environment, and so the game without shadows has become very different than the experience we intend. Because of this, we made sure that our new renderer had fast shadows. The DirectX 11 version (with shadows) performs much better than the DirectX 9 one did without shadows enabled."
Get back in the darkness, you swine.
While these changes undoubtedly suck for the 0.1% of players who won't be able to play anymore unless they upgrade, it should be good news for the other 99.9%.
"By not having to maintain support for two versions of DirectX, we will be able to simplify a lot of code, making it faster," Grinding Gear claim. This, combined with ditching XP and Vista, "should improve Path of Exile by both migrating users to the more-performant game client and freeing up significant technical development resources on our end."
The changes will happen with Path Of Exile version 3.6.0, which is due to launch in March.