Microsoft set to release Vista Ultimate Extra games - free

Remember Vista Ultimate Extras? Well they are back according to Paul Thurrott, but this time they will be released for free in the form of two games, Microsoft Tinker and Hold 'Em.

Microsoft's failed Vista Ultimate Extras were a big promise from the company of "cutting-edge programs, innovative services and unique publications." At least they were in Vista RTM, by the time Vista SP1 was rolled out nearly all references to Vista Ultimate Extras were removed (shown below). Blogger Long Zheng called them the "ultimate con" at the time and in hindsight he was right. Microsoft made several promises of more extras which resulted in the company launching UltimatePC.com which now redirects to the Vista home-page.

Hold'Em, a Poker card game, was an original Ultimate Extra released at the same time as Vista general availability. Tinker, a 60-level robot puzzle video game, was originally released in September, 2008. Microsoft confirmed in February this year that Windows 7 Ultimate would not feature the Extras applications, claiming "our new approach to planning and building Windows doesn't have the capacity to continue to deliver features outside the regular release cycle...as a result we don't plan to create Ultimate Extras."

It appears Ultimate Extras, in a small form, live to fight another day and will be available to all. Microsoft has not confirmed when Tinker and Hold'Em will be released, simply stating they are "coming soon".

Ultimate Extras Vista RTM:

Ultimate Extras Vista SP1:

Thanks to Ci7 for the news tip

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48 Comments

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This is a kick in the face of Vista Ultimate owners like myself who have 5 legal copy's of Ultimate..

Hey Microsoft why not offer Windows 7 Ultimate FREE of cost to Vista Ultimate Owners?? It would make better sense doing that.

"Vista Ultimate users fume, rant over Windows 7 deals...

"Those suckers that bought Vista Ultimate, myself included, are screwed," said yet another commenter. "There isn't a chance in hell that I am paying $219 for what should really be Vista SP2. We were promised 'extras' which we never got, now we are being excluded from the pre-order special. Anyway even at $49, it is still too much to pay."

The extras that commenter mentioned refer to "Ultimate Extras," one of the main features Microsoft cited in the months leading up to the 2007 release of Vista Ultimate to distinguish the operating system from its lower-priced siblings. According to Microsoft's marketing, Extras were to be "cutting-edge programs, innovative services and unique publications" that would be regularly offered only to users of Vista's highest-priced edition.

But users soon began belittling the paltry number of add-ons Microsoft released and the company's leisurely pace at providing them. Just five months after Vista was launched, critics started to complain.

Earlier this year, Microsoft dumped the feature, saying that it would instead focus on existing features in Windows 7 rather than again promise extras.

The furor over Vista Ultimate has even reached analysts' ranks. In May, Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft urged Microsoft to give Vista Ultimate owners a free upgrade to Windows 7. "It would buy them a lot of good will, and I don't think it would cost them much," Cherry said at the time.

Some of the commenters in the latest Computerworld stories about Windows 7 echoed Cherry.

"I am running Vista Ultimate and feel ripped off by Microsoft because ... [we] never received the extras we paid good money to get," said "Hellfire" in a long comment. "The very least that they should do is offer a heavily-discounted upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate to those that have lost money by purchasing Vista Ultimate."
... "

extra's what extra's oh your talkin about a couple of poxy little games and a bunch of usless languages that i don't use yeah sure the games were fun for a bit then soon got boring to such an extent that even my 9yr old son clocked tinker kinda sucks for the vista ultimate buyers that that was all we got nice to hear they are making the games free for all but i would have thought they'd have included them in win7 ultimate by default

TRC said,
Good will? Why not release them now?

If I was one of the people scammed by Vista Ultimate, I wouldn't consider it goodwill that they're giving the extras away to everyone for free.

toadeater said,
If I was one of the people scammed by Vista Ultimate, I wouldn't consider it goodwill that they're giving the extras away to everyone for free.

If people bought Ultimate solely for Ultimate Extras they deserved to be scammed.

TRC said,
Good will? Why not release them now?

Too little too late comes to mind. And any good will MS might have gotten if they had released this a couple of years ago is gone now.

So you would prefer they never release them, because no one wants them now right? Oh wait, several people in this very thread are already looking forward to the release.

I didn't find Vista Ultimate (which I upgraded both Mom and myself from to move to 7 Ultimate) a disappointment at all. Except for things that Microsoft realized it couldn't deliver withoout substantial buy-in from the IHV/ISV community (such as WinFS), Vista delivered on everything that Microsoft intended. That very well may have been Microsoft's problem; one thing that folks kvetched and moaned about with XP (better security) they didn't really want fixed. UAC was not as big a pain in the butt with Vista (at least for me) as it was punditized to be (notice that UAC is still there in Windows 7; while not as obvious as it was in Vista, it's still present). Could there actually be a comparison between Vista and health-care reform? (No, I'm not kidding. The real issue wiith both health-care reform bills currently before Congress isn't whether or not health-care COST reform is needed, but the nuts and bolts of it, and the portents for the future of the health-care system.)

TRC said,
Too late for what? They're releasing them for free so you can use them on Windows 7 now.

Hahaha, cuz those extras were actually worth the extra money? Should have just gotten Home Premium. Vista, I am disappoint.

M_Lyons10 said,
Ultimate Extras were such a disappointment. It's a shame that it didn't pan out... It was an interesting idea...

yep i got suckered into ultimate and none of the extras were used by me, except for dreamscene to show off to friends for 5 minutes

Neoauld said,
yep i got suckered into ultimate and none of the extras were used by me, except for dreamscene to show off to friends for 5 minutes

If you got Ultimate because of the extras and not because it had all the features of both Business and Home Premium plus more... well then you just didn't do your research.

Silverskull said,
If you got Ultimate because of the extras and not because it had all the features of both Business and Home Premium plus more... well then you just didn't do your research.

actually i did
MS promised things like Game Mode for performance etc etc
as a gamer it seemed like a good idea

Silverskull said,
If you got Ultimate because of the extras and not because it had all the features of both Business and Home Premium plus more... well then you just didn't do your research.

There are people who got Ultimate just because it was "Ultimate". The name was (and still is) great marketing.

I don't think so. Microsoft wants to push his newest OS and not laying in a bottomless pit Vista as ME was.

Microsoft finds Windows XP very old, indeed it is Microsoft longest OS in the market. So that's why there's huge probability that XP is not going to have these.

Sounds like Tinker might be, at least...from the Games for Windows forum:
'Additionally, we̢۪re pleased to report that Tinker will be available for all version of Windows and Hold̢۪em for all versions of Vista and beyond. Other than that, we̢۪re not really talking about specifics of the games, just letting you know they̢۪re on their way. Stay tuned for more information'
http://forums.gamesforwindows.com/t/8565.aspx

TR2006LH said,
It works well on machine with enough ram and a dedicated graphic card. I miss it too.


If you don't have solid MPEG-4 support in the GPU (along with Aero, of course), DreamScenes (and DeskScapes) performance will blow. For widescreen displays, think H.263 or better. And 512 MB of (at least) DDR2 is a necessity; despite my HD3450 being (in most ways) a better GPU than the X1650PRO AGP in my previous setup (which Mom has now), the comparative lack of onboard RAM (256 MB of DDR2 vs. 512 MB for the AGP part) is a major issue for video (as opposed to graphically) intensive tasks. AMD recognized that going forward, as minimum RAM loadouts for reference HD4xxx designs now begin at 512 MB; with HD5xxx, the loadout is a surprising 1 GB.

will Dreamscenes be back for Windows 7?

it's been a year since i last showed off my video wallpaper....
i was dismayed when they didn't retain it in windows 7....

i agree, that would be a cool bonus for Win7 users, i wouldn't have thought it would take much to package it up for installation.

mocax said,
will Dreamscenes be back for Windows 7?

it's been a year since i last showed off my video wallpaper....
i was dismayed when they didn't retain it in windows 7....


Deskscapes works perfectly in 7

Sweet. I'll be glad to have Tinker back. I really enjoyed that game. That may the one and only thing I miss moving from Vista Ultimate to 7 Ultimate.

Also really glad to have Tinker back, hopefully there will be some new levels. Stumbled across some sites with user created Levels but they weren't as well created and it changed the dynamic of the game, can't wait for Tinker!!!!

Raa said,
And have a copy of it, which is technically against the EULA, I guess :P

Well if they release them as free then you won't have to have a copy of Vista Ultimate, they'll work on any version (or 7).

Raa said,
And have a copy of it, which is technically against the EULA, I guess :P

Have you read the EULA for this product described above? Perhaps you should read the artilcle again and again until you figure it out.

Jedimark said,
I miss the Hold'Em game so it will be a welcome return.

you and me both that's one of the few games from MS that I actually enjoyed and I was kinds bummed it didn't get integrated into W7 Ultimate