The PC Weekend Warrior: free Windows LIVE, DirectX 11, big hopefuls, beta tests – what’s more to be said?

The PC Weekend Warrior - Image 1 I’ll tell you what: a whole lot more. That’s why for this week’s PC Weekend Warrior, we’re tossing out the bottles, passing out the chips, and putting on our party hats for one heckava good time this week. There’s a ton more interesting developments that have happened recently than there were in E3, and that deserves some celebration. We review just what PC gamers might call a toast to pretty soon at the full story.

The PC Weekend Warrior: free Windows LIVE, DirectX 11, big hopefuls, beta tests - what's more to be said? - Image 1 

Tuned those PCs for a loud time in Beta Test town tonight, have we? Our perspectives were led astray from the limelight as designers of strategy games began announcing playtest sessions for the week, but we didn’t lose sight of the great things that are coming for gamers on PC.

So this week’s PC Weekend Warrior is a celebration of new blood injected to PC gaming vein, right in time for the big deluge of PC gaming’s finest coming this fall. Gladly, some of them will already hit us starting August.

Without further ado, I present this week’s PC Weekend Warrior!

Drum roll please…

Top in the software games lineup from NPD Group includes one teen sleuth, the Lord of Terror, and the brainchild of science and creativity (scientivity!).

Read: NPD US weekly software sales: The Phantom of Venice steals best-selling spot

There’s also plenty in store for the extreme gamers among you, for if you’ve missed this week’s news, the knife edge of graphics technology has extended further with a new dual GPU card from AMD, while NVIDIA resorted to price vs. performance tactics against the HD 4850 and HD 4870.

Read: NVIDIA steps up: presenting GeForce 9800 GT, GTX
Read: AMD’s next big thing: ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2
Read: AMD releases ATI Catalyst 8.7 drivers for Windows XP, Vista

But let’s not forget the market trends of the current generation’s products. Cheaper processors in the Intel front have been spied.

There are also hints to the arrival of Centrino2 technology, as well as the new line of 55-nm processors piling up for fall of 2008, which also heralds the arrival of the X58-spec boards – the revered Nehalem platform.

Read: Intel Bloomfield release ramps up earlier, to ship in September
Read: Intel Quad, Duo price drops ooze penny-pinching goodness
Read: Sacred 2: Fallen Angel to be Centrino2-ready

And we’d probably need the new hardware, too, since developers have been slowly opening up the development process to the gaming base once again. And would you have guessed that EA now wants every C&C fan to help them balance Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3?

Read: Red Alert 3 to storm PCs on multiplayer beta – soon

Maybe. Even then, you probably didn’t expect a second serving of betas from Ironclad Games, for they have new blood to inject into Sins of a Solar Empire. The content seems ambitious enough to make patch version 1.1 a whole new universe for SoaSE fans.

Read: Sins of a Solar Empire v1.1 Beta now live on Impulse
Read: This shall be our finest hour: Sins of a Solar Empire v1.1 patch Beta begins Thursday

Head’s still reeling? Well, duck and cover, because Gas Powered Games also has another game for you all to try out. It’s a Siege game, alright, but there are no Dungeons in Space.

Read: nZone to exclusively offer Space Siege demo real soon

And it appears that Microsoft finally got their senses slapped right back into them, after the not-so-rocking launch of Games for Windows LIVE bit back – and hard. Vista gaming isn’t as hot as it sounds, but the minds at Redmond have dealt their final cards before calling it quits.

Yes, that’s right – a seemingly desperate move. But to their credit, it’s a very enticing desperate move. DirectX 11 support and completely free Games for Windows LIVE out of the box? Sweet bonuses right there. Now only if driver support was more stable.

Read: XNA Gamefest 2008: Windows LIVE now completely free to gamers; Windows LIVE Marketplace coming
Read: XNA Gamefest 2008: Microsoft presents DirectX 11 for Vista, future versions of Windows

And how about those rumors of console games coming to PC? Well, Final Fantasy XIII might not be coming our way anytime soon, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to dream, does it? Also we aren’t going to be the first to say that Rockstar won’t announce Grand Theft Auto IV on the PC – because that’s plain ludicrous – until the world hangs itself upside down.

Big chance it’ll happen though, if all the past major GTA titles are any indication.

Read: Whoa, Nelly: Final Fantasy XIII already functional… on PC *Update 2* Square Enix reclarifies
Read: Malaysian PCGamer mag says GTA 4 headed to PC
Read: Rockstar Games still not making any announcements on GTA 4 PC

Guiding them in their first tiny steps

We’ll cut our celebration here for the meantime. Right now, we’d getter get our hands dirty with testing out the new games before they’re launched, because if there’s anyone who knows how these games should play out, it’s you – the gamer.

After all, if these games gargle nuts – pardon my French – and we had a say on how it’s supposed to shine, we’re all to blame. Hey, as long as they’re willing to listen, eh?

Not like some other developer who feels they their freshly purchased franchise can be twisted to their needs and not the needs of the fan base. But I won’t be spitting names. Nuh uh.

So get those Beta keys registered, and hope to the High Heavens that your name pops up in the lottery for the first batch. We’ll be trying our luck as well, but we don’t have more of a chance than the rest. And I was really looking forward to trying out the Empire of the Rising Sun…

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