Stardock CEO, Brad Wardell, believes that Microsoft’s decision not to release DirectX 10 and 11 on Windows XP has played a significant role in holding back the advancement of RTS (Real Time Strategy) games in the last few years.
In the company’s 2012 report, Wardell states that "For strategy gamers, the last few years have been a mixed blessing. There have been some great titles released, but the innovation in strategy games has been diminishing. This is not the result of a lack of game design or inventive thinking."
"The problem stems from a catastrophic decision made at Microsoft: not giving DirectX 10 to Windows XP users," he explained. "As a corollary, Microsoft continuing to sell 32-bit versions of Windows well after the hardware stopped being natively 32-bit has held back PC game development immensely."
"Game developers have been stuck with DirectX 9 and 2GB of memory for the past decade. While this hasn't harmed first person shooters (they only have to manage a handful of objects at once), it has been poisonous to other genres."
Wardell explained that ditching 32-bit Windows would enable companies to utilize 64 bit Windows’ larger RAM size and to take advantage of its programing APIs that allow multi-core simulations that are necessary for next-gen strategy games.
"There are whole classes of games waiting to be made that require these kinds of advances," he asserted. "Luckily, after a decade-long wait, we are nearing critical mass. The days of games supporting 32-bit OSes is, thankfully, coming to an end. DirectX 10 as a minimum requirement has also arrived."