Microsoft reveals Direct X12, promises major improvements for Xbox One and PC developers

Latest version of graphics API aiming to launch holiday 2015.

Today during a presentation at the 2014 Game Developers Conference, Microsoft officially announced Direct X12, the latest version of the graphics API. Microsoft is targeting it to launch for developers in holiday 2015.

During the event, Microsoft showed off a tech demo of Xbox One racing game Forza Motorsport 5 running on a PC rig powered by a NVIDIA GeForce Titan Black graphics card.

Direct X12 will introduce the next version of Direct3D, which Microsoft says has been redesigned to be "faster and more efficient than ever before."

"Direct3D 12 enables richer scenes, more objects, and full utilization of modern GPU hardware. And it isn't just for high-end gaming PCs either--Direct3D 12 works across all the Microsoft devices you care about," Microsoft said. "From phones and tablets, to laptops and desktops, and, of course, Xbox One, Direct3D 12 is the API you've been waiting for."

In addition to providing a lower level of hardware abstraction, Direct X12 also introduces a new set of rendering pipeline features that Microsoft claims will "dramatically improvde the efficiency of algorithms" like order-independent transparency, collision detection, and geometry culling.

In a statement of its own today, NVIDIA said it has "worked closely" with the DirectX team at Microsoft to deliver DX12. On top of that, NVIDIA says it has already provided drivers and a DX12 development kit to more than 15 developers.

For a deeply technical breakdown of Direct X12's advancements, be sure to read this post on Microsoft's developer website.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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562 comments
Algearond
Algearond

Why was the video linked about Forza5 and not D12? At any rate, Nvidia doing what they are doing is the big reason I will be upgrading my cards to Nvidia when the time comes

punkologist
punkologist

So now that we have seen Forza 5 on a PC, please release it on PC!! Then I won't have to waste money on an xbone and I can use the wheel I already have.

lizyoung111
lizyoung111

To all the Microsoft haters, soon your PS4 will become a useless brick considering Sony continues to lose money.  How much longer can a company survive if it can only post 1 small profit after 5 years of losing money.  Sony loses money on every tv and ps4 it sells.  There isn't anything that can keep Sony in business.  Their PC division sucks, their phone division sucks, their TV division sucks.  Pretty much every consumer product Sony makes sucks compared to the competition.  The only thing that makes Sony any money is Blu-ray. Unfortunately Blu-ray won't keep Sony alive. Sony is desperate and selling property to consolidate expenses and also raise cash.  Microsoft is cash rich and continues to earn profits. 

snausauges
snausauges

@lizyoung111 Hey, I'm a big XBox One fan but the PS wont ever become a brick, just like the XBox the PS will always have a following due to those loyal to the brand and to those who regard one platforms exclusives to the other.  I like XBox exlcusives much more then PS (though there are some PS exclusives I'd love to get my hands on) but as far as Sony going away?  Not likely. 


DataDream
DataDream

The fact that the GPU in Xbox One will have to do half the work to achieve superior graphics compared to the PS4 GPU is why the GPU speed difference will be irrelevant with the release of DX12. I love both console manufacturers (and Nintendo too). The fact is that today the PS4 is King because it has the best hardware when comparing the technology based on how things have worked up until this point. However when DX12 releases, the custom GPU (it is absolutely NOT a 7790) of the Xbox One will have the potential to be VASTLY superior to that currently in the PS4. It will just be a matter of developers getting on board, BUT history shows DirectX is the number one gaming API and there is no reason to think it will be different in the future.

Here are a couple of quotes not from MS -and remember AMD is partnered with Sony, MS and Nintendo -they are responsible for all 3 companies GPU's...

AMD’s Raja Koduri said DirectX 12 was like “getting four generations of hardware ahead,” all at once.

Intel’s Vice President of Platform Engineering Eric Mentzer shared a similar sentiment, with, “This is absolutely, I think, the most significant jump in technology in a long, long time.”

The PS4 is what it is while the Xbox One is so advanced it's hard to see it's real maximum potential at this point.

Sony will still be successful due to their original IP's though and hopefully the Morpheus. Also remember they make money off every Xbox One sold -which is ironic in that they make money off of MS's console but not their own -due to MS paying BluRay royalties to Sony.

Sony just wont remain the Graphics King once DX12 is released.

I rarely post anymore and am rarely on here -not enough time -so flame away fanboys -facts are facts. You will say the fact is Sony has a more powerful GPU and is a more powerful system. That is only true based on old software architechture that the Xbox One is designed to outgrow.

just_hit_x
just_hit_x

i wonder how long you have to work at gamespot before you become an official microsoft employee

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

Doesn't matter, we have Mantle.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

they better release it for Windows 8 im not upgrading just to have a new Directx, i just bought Windows 8 and im pretty happy wth it. Despite all the wierd hate, theres nothing you cant do in Windows 8 that you can do on any other Windows OS systems. It has a desktop, it has a start menu (Its giant big) it has everything that the other windows OS systems have.

HardStomp
HardStomp

If I buy either console I'll buy a PS4, but I believe that new developer tools is all it'll really take for MS to catch up to PS4's performance.  

LtReviews
LtReviews

Screw this platform-specific crap.


Make a renderer frame-work that won't make porting freaking impossible.

skipper847
skipper847

Can you remember when they released DirectX every month on DEMO Discs. Those where the days.  DirectX 6 version 1.a etc lol.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@skipper847  they still do that. But its called Windows Update. There literally is an update to DX every month still. You can even see the references to it. DX August 2013, DX September 2013, DX october 2013 etc.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

@skipper847  They removed DirectX from the API on Windows 7 and 8. I can't play Ground Control anymore :/

skipper847
skipper847

Kick in the teeth for us who bought X1 if it not a down loadable update and its for the newer version of the consoles. 

bri2u2002
bri2u2002

Do we need a new DX12 card? Please no. I just bought a gtx780.

nyran125tk
nyran125tk

@Nminator_236 @bri2u2002  hmm, maybe. Maybe not. not all DX 10 cards are compatible with DX11. When DX10 came out, you had to get a new card that supported it.

Acquire
Acquire

It would be awesome if they released Forza 5 on the PC.

sortajan
sortajan

I don't want Windows 8, but unfortunately it is the future. I think we're just going to have to accept that. Eventually we won't have a choice. Most AAA developers are highly unlikely to develop games for Linux. Kind of like smartphones.

Kooken58
Kooken58

Will it be available on Win 7? If not no thank you...don't want to be forced to have to pay another 100 dollars just to upgrade to Win8 which looks rather terrible.

Auth
Auth

SteamOS  where are you?

SpLiTMaN
SpLiTMaN

now this is just hilarious....this game on xbox one is running on a 4000 dollar pc nothing wrong here.....LOL!!!!!!!!!!and off course i suspect windows 9 to come out with dx 12 exclusivity like every other new dx's since dx 9...and even tho your xbone's running ati hardware you think it'll run dx12? why are they blatantly humiliating them selfs like that its like they want me to laugh my brains out....but FINALLY DX12 is coming next gen is finally arriving and about time....

snausauges
snausauges

@SpLiTMaN Yes, it will in fact run DX12.  I'm not surprised, but a little disappointed, at how either people are completely uniformed on how Dx12 will work or the flat out false info being funneled into comments everywhere I look.  If anyone wants to get into the meat of how dx12 will improve xbox one graphically and make porting easier, then just check out MSDN info on it.  It's probably the most indepth info I've found yet, though your comment and how painfully hard it was to make sense of (you really should try to post when sober) makes me wonder if you would understand much of it, anyhow.  Regardless, this explains more then just the "to the metal" that has been thrown around... it also explains many improvements in HOW dx12 streamlines from PSO and how data and rendering are now handled.  It will be very interesting to see future exploitations, and the streamlining will also make use of tiling on the eSRAM a MUCH easier affair.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/directx/archive/2014/03/20/directx-12.aspx

snausauges
snausauges

Oh, and the game running on the PC was NOT to show graphical enhancements... it was to show benchmark info and how much easier it will be to port from a console architecture to PC and other devices that will be able to use dx12.  I am in no way saying this will turn xbox one into a magic machine, and I can honestly say I don't how big of an improvement it will make but I'd say at the end of the day, with the streamlining available with dx12, it will depend much on the ease and how we utilize the tools.  What I see so far is very promising.

grove12345
grove12345

"NVIDIA said it has "worked closely" with the DirectX team at Microsoft to deliver DX12. On top of that, NVIDIA says it has already provided drivers and a DX12 development kit to more than 15 developers."


too bad MS went with AMD in their console instead. So there that goes.

Only hope is to keep DX12 away from PS4. Then maybe XB1 can finally have a graphically leg up

Kooken58
Kooken58

@grove12345 Actually OpenGL, The other API that PS4 uses is infact more powerful. But you hear less about it because microsoft and its Directx are more popular. More developers use it, and more hardware supports it. Xbox is the only console that uses Directx, while the others use OpenGL. 


Contrary to popular belief, a new version of directx doesnt magically make your game look better...it mostly just boosts performance.  Lately though developers are shifting back towards OpenGL, realizing that it is more powerful. 

gf61
gf61

@grove12345 They tried that already. Last gen. they had tessellation assets built into AMD's gpu. Yet developers, PC elites, and Hollywood had to wait close to the end of its life span to get the assets programers asked for before 360's was release. Instead of an update to the weak improvement that was 10, it was rolled out as tada DX11.


This doesn't surprise me one bit. 

XB fans know your companies history before you worship them.

ziseknsa
ziseknsa

@Kooken58 @grove12345  "...a new version of directx doesnt magically make your game look better...it mostly just boosts performance..."


If it boosts perfomance, higher graphics settings can be used, therefore the game looks better..... Simple logic.

Djiel
Djiel

DX12 so we're all "forced" to use win8? Yea, no thanks MS.

Vylsith
Vylsith

@grove12345 @Djiel There's nothing wrong with Windows 8 so long as you like the GUI.  For those who don't, there's no way to truly go back to the original GUI.  It's also not worth upgrading to from Windows 7.  There's almost nothing that Windows 8 does better.  They're trying to force it by making other products proprietary to Windows 8, which is ridiculously anti-consumer and further sours public attitude toward them.  I understand that they want to make money, but people really don't need a new OS every 2 years.  The fact that they're doing everything they can to force me to upgrade wants me want to stay away from Windows 8 that much more.

grove12345
grove12345

@Djiel  your not forced to use DX 12 either.

I see no problem with Win8. Its in no way like vista or anything

Djiel
Djiel

@grove12345 @DjielI put it in quotes for a reason. But eventually we will have to use it, if we want to play the games that work only with dx12.

Vylsith
Vylsith

Microsoft really needs to stop with this "Just wait until this comes out, and you'll see what the Xbox One can do" PR stance.  Not only are they full of crap, but it turns off the tech savvy crowd and makes us never want to touch your product.  I don't like being lied to.  DirectX is an API wrapper.  It will provide some small improvements to game design, but consoles are not PCs.  Developers have access to low level APIs on consoles that make the API wrappers far less useful.  So DirectX 12 is coming to the Xbox One?  Great!  That doesn't do anything for your low level API where the true power of the Xbox One lies.  It's like replacing your spark plugs when your engine needs work.  Sure, it'll help, but it's not really the problem...

ziseknsa
ziseknsa

@Vylsith  It is only a few months since the console launched, and this is a 9 year+ generation. The Xbox One can be seen as a PC.... same architecture.

jonaadams
jonaadams

I'm rooting for Microsoft but promising Direct X 12 in 2015 means you really won't start seeing very many games using it until 2016 to 2017. They should have come out with it in Windows 8 a year ago. And now AMD has their own new API, Mantle, and now Steam is pushing for OpenGL.


Competition is good, but having 3 API's in this industry sounds like chaos.

xcollector
xcollector

@jonaadams Direct X 12 won't be mainstream if its exclusive to Windows 8 & 9. Look how long PC games stayed on DX9 because that was the last version to support XP. If the majority of the user base is still on Vista & 7 and they are stuck on DX11, devs are not going to make exclcusive DX12 games because they would be cutting the install base.

Vylsith
Vylsith

@jonaadams Neither console will use Mantle.  The Xbox One doesn't use OpenGL, it uses DirectX as their API wrapper.  The PS4 doesn't even use OpenGL, it uses OpenCL (similar, but different).  Both consoles have a low level API anyway.  The API wrapper is far less important than Microsoft is pretending here.  It's just PR nonsense.  DirectX 12 will undoubtedly help (especially for indie developers), but by 2015 most developers should be using the low level API much more than the API wrappers.  They're far more efficient, they just take more time to use since developers don't have code libraries for them yet and engines haven't been tweaked to use them properly.

gf61
gf61

@xcollector Because going from 9 to 10 was a joke. Lookie dx10 now every window is 3d (aero), and didn't include non to the asset devs asked for.