Natural Selection 2 & Windows XP
Today the Community Development Team became aware that Natural Selection 2 no longer runs on Windows XP. This was not an intentional development, but it is a development that will remain. From today, Natural Selection 2 will not run on Windows XP, and Windows XP has been removed from the minimum operating system requirement as listed on NS2’s store page.
This is not a course of action that Unknown Worlds takes lightly. Wherever it is reasonably possible, we are committed to maintaining compatibility with older hardware and software environments. In the case of Windows XP, such maintenance has unfortunately become unreasonable.
Updates to the ‘tool-chain’ (the set of tools used to produce NS2, like Microsoft Visual Studio), have made it effectively impossible to keep running NS2 on Windows XP. A choice must be made between stopping development of the game, so that it may run on Windows XP in perpetuity, or maintaining development on the game, which will cause Windows XP compatibility to fail.
If we made the former choice, to freeze NS2 development, then it is a sure bet that NS2 would die. An NS2 with no updates, no changes, no improvements would rapidly find itself with no players. Such a situation would mean that NS2 no longer runs on Windows XP, because it no longer runs anywhere. Given this assumption it is clear that Unknown Worlds cannot stop development to preserve Windows XP compatibility.
Further, Windows XP is an archaic operating system. It represents a huge security risk to its continuing users. Microsoft explicitly advices against continuing to use it. Windows XP also represents a vanishingly small number of systems playing NS2.
If you run NS2 on Windows XP, you can log in to your Steam account on another machine, and play NS2 there. You can install NS2 on as many machines as you like, running any number of newer versions of Windows. For example, Vista, 7, 8 or the most recent 10. On behalf of Unknown Worlds I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this might cause, but I hope you will take some comfort in knowing that NS2 continues to receive updates.