Microsoft has confirmed that it is to unveil the next generation of its DirectX application programming interface (API) at the Game Developers Conference on the 20th of March, with hints suggesting it will come with an answer to AMD's Mantle technology.
The company has sent out invitations for press to attend the launch event at GDC, with prominent logos from partners AMD, Nvidia, Intel, and - most interestingly of all - Qualcomm, an ARM licensee which is one of the companies licensed to produce tablet-oriented processors for Microsoft's Windows RT and Surface RT product families. The launch comes some six years after the launch of DirectX 11
at GameFest 2008 - although it wasn't until mid-2009 that the first DirectX 11 capable graphics cards hit the market.
Microsoft isn't sharing details on the changes due in DirectX 12 just yet, but one thing is near-certain: it will be a Windows 8 exclusive. Previous extensions to DirectX 11, DirectX 11.1
and DirectX 11.2
, have been used as a carrot with which gamers are encouraged to jump to the latest Windows 8.1 release. As a result, it's vanishingly unlikely that DirectX 12 will offer support for any other platform, save for the possibility of running on the Xbox One console via a firmware update.
A confirmed Microsoft GDC session offers some insight into what the new version will bring, stating in summary: 'You asked us to bring you even closer to the metal and to do so on an unparalleled assortment of hardware. You also asked us for better tools so that you can squeeze every last drop of performance out of your PC, tablet, phone and console. Come learn our plans to deliver.
' In other words: vendor-agnostic overhead improvements similar to AMD's exclusive Mantle API are likely to make an appearance.
More details on DirectX 12 will follow Microsoft's formal unveiling on the 20th of March.