DirectX 12 to be Announced at GDC on March 20, Teaser Page Hints at ARM Support

Posted on March 5, 2014 8:37 PM by Rob Williams

Each spring, San Francisco’s iteration of the Game Developers Conference tends to feature a lot of information that helps get us excited for the future of gaming, but at this forthcoming one, there’s a larger-than-normal┬áreason to pay close attention: DirectX 12 is set to be announced.

DirectX 12 Pre-announcement

At the moment, there’s virtually no information to go on here; the official landing page has a simple notice along with the company logos of AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm. While the first three of these companies should strike no one as a surprise, Qualcomm should: Up to this point, DirectX has not been available on any other platform than x86, so this mere logo suggests that Microsoft is making this DirectX iteration ARM-bound.

Such a move is major, but it’s one that Microsoft probably had┬áto make. If the DirectX API is much more universal, then game developers are going to be happy; and also, let’s not ignore the fact that OpenGL is doing really well on mobile, because it’s the richest graphics API supported on ARM platforms. With mobile growing bigger and bigger, Microsoft realized that it had to finally try capitalizing on it – even if its own OS isn’t involved. On the topic of OSes, it seems likely that while pure mobile OSes are set to enjoy DirectX 12, Linux on the desktop is still out.

It seems likely that the release of DirectX 12 will come next year, although we could probably expect graphics cards to be released later this year to support it in advance. When the latest API does get here, it’ll come six years after the release of DirectX 11, which originally shipped with Windows 7.

  • zacharyt1122

    Finally! DX11 is great, but DX11 is getting old in the tooth. As a Nvidia guy I couldn’t get excited about Mantle. Although I’m sure MS will probably only make it available to Windows 8.

    • Jamie Fletcher

      The cynic in me agrees. The mega-cynic thinks Windows 9. The rational mind thinks Vista/7/8+, since there is not much point in releasing this for mobile GPUs in SoCs, then restricting access to just 10% of the PC market. The irrational mind however, thinks that this is Direct eXtension 12, the home improvement simulator – improve your home from desktop or mobile!

      • Rob Williams

        The fact that Microsoft made DX10 exclusive to Vista debunks the idea that DX12 could “never” be made exclusive to the latest (or upcoming) OS. The problem is this though: If Microsoft makes it exclusive to Windows 8, that’s going to piss-off an enormous number of people. If it makes it exclusive to Windows 9, that’d be a lot better, since that’s rumored to rid the Start screen for desktops.

        At the end of the day, Microsoft would be smart to backport it to at least Windows 7, because like XP, I see 7 enjoying a very long life with many people.

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