Microsoft Responds to Mantle with DirectX 12
DirectX hasn’t seen an update for a very long time. PC gaming on the other hand, has seen some very interesting changes over the past years, but more significantly in recent times would be the Steam Machine and AMD’s Mantle technology. These two offer a direct competition to Microsoft so it’s no surprise that they’ve had to find a way to respond and quickly.
Without going into too much of the speculation that’s already out, it seems that DirectX 12 may well be a direct response to Mantle technology. The Steam Machine obviously offers competition, but it also requires that games be designed to run for a Linux based OS and is less likely to fill the niche for work at home procedures. Mantle could be much scarier for Microsoft, because if game developers design to it, there could be very little need to upgrade to a new version of Windows while still enjoying peak performance from the latest AMD graphics cards. To modestly explain why this works, Mantle allows more graphics processing to go straight to the GPU rather than having to use the CPU as the middle man. Still run Windows 7? No big deal because you have the latest AMD drivers with Mantle software. DirectX 12 hasn’t revealed details yet, but if it tries to garner the same kind of performance that Mantle does, it will be easier for Microsoft to pin it to newer versions of Windows, forcing consumers to upgrade in order to keep peak performance out of their hardware.
While this all may sound like “money laundering,” there are some pretty exciting implications from this move. If DirectX 12 can dedicate more of our amazing hardware to doing exactly what it was designed to do, gaming performance could take some pretty huge leaps in the near future. Also, while AMD may not appreciate taking back fire so soon after their own Mantle release, their logo is the first one seen on the DirectX 12 teaser logo. March 20th should reveal all the juicy details, but until then, let’s hope this release will make a debut in Windows 8.1 at the very least, rather than making everyone wait for Windows 9.