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 reason to pay close attention: DirectX 12 is set to be announced.
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 to 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.