Company of Whores

Fri, Sep 29th, 2006 | 2:50am

I would like to discuss Company of Heroes and Windows 2000.

I run Windows 2000. I would also like to run Company of Heroes; I understand it's quite good.

Unfortunately, CoH bears the "Games for Windows" label, which, ironically, means that it will not install on a Windows 2000 machine, despite the fact that Windows 2000 is Windows.

Note that I didn't say it won't run, it simply won't install. The beta also refused 2000 as a home, but sources indicate that with a little sass the beta would roll over and take it like a champ, operating as flawlessly as beta software can be expected to. So that rules out any major technical requirements on the part of the software itself: changes to the codebase that prevent the game from running on an entire operating system are not made after the game has reached beta. They're made years before that. Besides which, it's not as if XP does all kinds of amazing critical shit for developers that 2000 doesn't (... the API is unchanged, directX is the same ...), and besides that, no publisher would accept that kind of change so late in what must have been a pretty expensive development cycle for the sake of a bug fix.

No, sadly the answer is purely marketing. It works like this. Microsoft sidles up to THQ and says, "Hey, you look smart. Do you want your game to be ready for the looming release of the unbelievably incredible and world-changing Windows Vistahorn, and bear our valuable label on the box? We thought you did. Because you're a publisher, and you can't resist shit like that. You want to buddy up to the purveyor of the X360. That's cool - let's be buddies. It won't cost you a nickel."

But then Microsoft leaned forward conspiratorially and said, "There is, however, one favor we ask of you: make sure the game doesn't run on 2000. See, sales of our remarkably similar but incrementally worse operating systems drive sales of all of our other software, and if people have no pressure to upgrade from previous OSes, well, they'll stop upgrading Office and before long we might actually have to worry about competitors! Also, make it look like an accident."


Let's weigh this one out:

  • Is XP any faster or more efficient than 2000? No.
  • Less bloated on disk or in memory? No.
  • Is it more secure? No.
  • Is it significantly cheaper? No.
  • Does it come with any awesome features I just can't live without? No.
  • Was there, in fact, before Company of Heroes, any fucking reason at all to go through the hassle of an entire OS upgrade? No.

Is there now that it's out?

For the time being, I'm still going to have to go with No. I'm not reinstalling every goddamned program I have for one WWII game, however nice it might be. Sorry, Relic. For your sake, here's hoping THQ doesn't go the way of CGW.