Living up the legacy (remember: Xbox = DirectX Box!), the internet is abuzz with belief that Microsoft’s latest generation system, the Xbox One, will soon be supporting the upcoming DirectX 12 API and toolkits.
The expectation comes from the official DirectX 12 twitter feed, which claims that not only will the API be revealed at GDC ’14, but will also support Xbox One in some form. The official DirectX 12 website confirms as much.
Implications of DirectX 12 support and what this means for Xbox One developers and gamers is hard to gauge at this point, simply because…well…we know very little about DirectX 12 itself. A traditional Microsoft licensed API historically used for rendering driver libraries used by games and applications on Windows and Xbox, advancements made in DirectX can take the form of easier effect implementation in engines, improved performance, new rendering algorithms, and so on. For example, DirectX 11 allowed developers to make use of DirectX based Direct Compute GPGPU functionality, opening up games to use DirectX tessellation, multi-threading, and compute shaders. PC games that support DirectX 11 often come with graphical enhancements, for example Batman: Arkham Origins uses DirectX to implement tessellation on snow and Batman’s cape.
Occasionally DirectX iterations do not come with any overly significant upgrades, at least evident to gamers (more applicable to developers). We’ll have to wait until GDC on March 20th to see just what DirectX 12 has in store for both Xbox One and PC developers and games.