Microsoft details DirectX 12 for better Xbox One, PC performance

Forza MotorSport 5 on a PC
Microsoft's D12 gets more graphic than Eminem's D12 band

Microsoft plans to usher in the next-generation of gaming realism with DirectX 12 and graphics tool set Direct3D 12, the company announced at GDC 2014.

For consumers, this developer-focused API translates to PC, console and mobile games with richer scenes, a higher on-screen object count and full use of their modern graphics cards.

DirectX 12 is intended to work across all of Microsoft's platforms including Windows 8, Xbox One and Windows Phone 8.

Promising benefits like reduced GPU overhead and better render efficiency, this overhauled, closer-to-the-metal API software should lead to more balanced game performance.

Best of all, this still-in-development balanced performance can be sought on existing computer hardware. The DirectX update won't require an upgrade for 80% of "gamer PCs" currently being sold, said Microsoft.

DirectX 12 release date

Microsoft's upbeat DirectX 12 compatibility claim is important because it wants users to keep buying PCs that run the Windows 8.1 operating system as well as the Xbox One.

It's not like waiting around for the DirectX update isn't a viable option for most gamers who want to build a new gaming rig right now.

Microsoft demoed Xbox One's Forza Motorsport 5 on PC with console-level efficiency. The tech demo of this photorealistic racing game wouldn't be possible on the PC without DirectX 12.

However, DirectX 12 and Direct3D 12 aren't supposed to launch until holiday 2015. A preview version is expected later this year.

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Matt Swider