Analyst: Vista, Halo 2 PC will be delayed

Gartner Group says Microsoft's track record with new operating systems means Vista won't make Q1 2007 date; Vista-only games such as Halo 2 would be pushed back as well.

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The highs and lows of PC-owning Halo fans continued today; however, it was the lows that tallied up another hash mark. In March, Microsoft announced that its upcoming operating system, Vista, would be delayed. If one research firm is to believed, Vista could be delayed again. Gartner Inc. has predicted that the new operating system will be delayed by at least three months to sometime in the second quarter of 2007.

Gartner based its decision on the date for the second major beta test of the system software. Though Microsoft took only five months to go from Beta 2 to production of Windows XP, Windows 2000 took nearly 16 months. Citing the number and complexity of upgrades for Vista, Gartner believes the latter projection is a better indicator of how long it will take for Vista to go from its second beta to manufacturing.

The delay would also obviously mean setbacks for games that require Vista to play. The PC version of Halo 2, the port of the top-selling Xbox game of all time, was announced in February as a Vista-only game (much to the chagrin of some PC gamers) and is currently the big gun on the list. In requiring Vista to play Halo 2, Microsoft may have shot itself in the foot, as it's possible that Halo 3 will already have been released on the Xbox 360 by then. Microsoft has not yet set a date for Halo 3.

It's not all bad news for PC gamers--Gartner's prediction is by no means official. "We respectfully disagree with Gartner's views around timing of the final delivery of Windows Vista," a Microsoft spokesman told CNET News. "We remain on track to deliver Windows Vista Beta 2 in the second quarter and to deliver the final product to volume-license customers in November 2006 and to other businesses and consumers in January 2007."

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