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Valve are removing 32-bit support from Dota 2

32-bit was old even when the game launched a decade ago

Zapping wizards in a Dota 2 screenshot.
Image credit: Valve

If you have an ancient PC, you may soon be ejected from Valve's wonderful world of warwizards. They have announced plans to strip Dota 2 of "support for some older systems and configurations", including 32-bit operating systems, saying it's so they can "keep the game and the Source 2 engine fresh". DirectX 9 and OpenGL are on the chopping block too (but Vulkan support will stand, obvs).

Valve's blog post explains that "in the coming months" they plan the following binnings:

  • Remove support for Dota on 32-bit systems. You will need to have a 64-bit machine and OS to run Dota.
  • Remove support for macOS versions below 10.14.
  • Remove support for DirectX 9. Customers using DirectX 9 will instead switch to DirectX 11.
  • Remove support for OpenGL. Customers using OpenGL will instead switch to Vulkan.
  • Remove support for XAudio (-xaudio) and switch to using SDL Audio (-sdlaudio).

"For the vast majority of players, nothing will change when these changes are implemented," Valve claim. "Most machines already support any of the newer technologies necessary. In fact, most players are already benefiting from the newer technologies, whether it's via larger content sizes, higher frame rates, better graphical fidelity, or cleaner sounding audio. Removing these older technologies will let us streamline our development efforts as well as use the newer features of these APIs to provide an even better Dota experience."

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Even when Dota 2 launched in open beta in 2011, 64-bit systems had largely replaced ye olde 32-bit processors and operating systems. Valve's Steam user hardware survey shows yeah, pretty much everyone on Steam has a computer with a 64-bit OS and is on at least DirectX 10. This will still suck for a handful of people, I imagine, but it probably shouldn't be a surprise from a live service game after a decade of updates, including a big engine upgrade. The only certainty with live service games is that one day, you will lose everything. All flesh is grass, and all wizard hats are licenses.

The death of 32-bit is a drawn-out one. Nvidia ended 32-bit driver support in 2018. Blizzard's MOBA, Heroes Of The Storm, ditched 32-bit and DX9 later that year. Stellaris cut off 32-bit in 2019. Also in 2019, the latest MacOS ended 32-bit compatibility, outright breaking many games on Apple systems. Many others have dropped it in recent years too.

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