I have a few issues with this post...
The first is that Halo was built around the Xbox, which used a GeForce 3 chip. Considering the vague requirements for the video card at the time ("Video card: 32 MB with 3D Transform and Lighting capable."), this meant that the original GeForce met those requirements, but was ill equipped to actually run the game. If those that complained had a GeForce, GeForce 2, GeForce 2 MX, or GeForce 4 MX, they were basically SOL on any reasonable amount of performance. And I doubt that the game actually took advantage of DirectX 9 anyway (in the same way Halo 2 doesn't do jack for DirectX 10), as I had a GeForce FX and my friend has a GeForce 4 (not the MX version). The GeForce FX had terrible DirectX 9.0b support and the GeForce 4 only supported up to 8.1. And we both played Halo: CE on the PC just fine.
The second is regarding the "It was widely speculated that Microsoft itself forced the late move to the immature DirectX 9 API." note. The game was released in September 2003 for PCs. ATi already had DirectX 9 compliant hardware out almost a year before with tech demos to show it off. Not to mention that Source Engine was showed off in E3 2003 using DirectX 9 (including this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdhWeyffmBc
). I would hardly call DirectX 9 "immature" at the point of release for Halo: CE.
And finally this comment:
These days, it's quite common for developers to release games no affordable hardware can handle. Sure, you can buy three and four $1000 video cards and get over 60 FPS most of the time, but that's not realistic for the vast majority of PC gamers. Developers call these designs "future proofing." I've always called them shit.
At what criteria? For maximum details at 1920x1080, pretty much any recent $300 video card is going to give you over 60 FPS most of the time. Even $200 video cards will give you 60 FPS or more if you lower the details to "high", whatever that may be. And most people can't even tell the difference in quality between the high and maximum settings because they're very
subtle, to the point where you have to sit and look at it for a while. In many cases, these minor details don't matter because often times they're used in high-paced action games. Take for instance in Crysis. Was it cool that the clouds in the sky looked as real as real clouds? Sure. But did I care when the North Korean soldiers were shooting my ass? No.