Why was Texas Hold ‘Em Poker a Windows Ultimate Extra instead of a built-in game?

Raymond Chen

Windows Vista came with a variety of in-box games. Old stand-bys like Freecell were given a facelift, and some new games were been added, like Purble Place. Other games were available as a separate download as part of the (disastrous) Windows Ultimate Extras. In particular, one of the games was Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. Why was this game made a separate download?

Global cultural sensitivity.

In the same way that Minesweeper changed to accommodate sensitivity to land mines, the Poker game was removed from the list of default games in deference to parts of the world in which gambling is illegal (which includes many parts of the United States) or at least severely frowned upon.


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  • cheong00 0

    Still not clear why it’s related to “Ultimate Extra download”. It’s not like Windows Ultimate Edition is not available at places where “gambling is illegal or severely frowned upon”.

    • Raymond ChenMicrosoft employee 0

      The gambling meant that the game was not E-rated (“all audiences”), so it wasn’t suitable for including in the default product. Making it a separate download avoided that problem: Downloading could be blocked by policy, and installation requires admin privileges.

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