Late Wednesday, AMD revealed plans to launch its new Radeon R9 and R7 series of GPUs, but the company announced much more than just a new set of hardware products. It also revealed plans to offer game developers access to a new low-level 3D graphics API called Mantle that will work with the new Radeon GPUs.
AMD's press release states that Mantle will allow game developers to get to the "bare metal" of its new Radeon GPUs, which it claims will offer a "a deeper level of hardware optimization no other graphics card manufacturer can match." The first game that will use Mantle will be "Battlefield 4" from Electronic Arts, which will enable Mantle support via a software patch in December.
However, there is speculation that Mantle is actually a port of the same low level graphics API that AMD developed for Microsoft's Xbox One console. AnandTech has apparently posed that question to AMD who would not even discuss the matter. However, a statement in AMD's own press release seems to hint strongly that Mantle is a port of the API used in the Xbox One. It states:
Mantle also assists game developers in bringing games to life on multiple platforms by leveraging the commonalities between GCN-powered PCs and consoles for a simple game development process.
That could allow game developers who are making Xbox One games a quicker way to port their titles to the PC without the need to lose that low level programming. More information on Mantle is scheduled to be revealed at the AMD Developer Summit in mid-November.