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Windows 10: gaming on steroids with DirectX 12

Microsoft has had great success with Xbox Live, and it's now time to extend that to phones, tablets, and desktop PCs. From phone to tablet to console to PC, Phil Spencer has promised that the gaming experience will be great for everyone on any Windows 10 device.

With DirectX 12, the company is offering game developers access "closer to the metal" than ever before, allowing them to tap into the full potential of today's powerful multi-core processors. Games will be able to run up to 50% faster even on the current DirectX 11 hardware. That will be especially important for open world games, which tend to be very CPU-bound.

Spencer showed off the benefits of the new game programming API by displaying an upcoming Futuremark demo running on two machines with the same hardware configuration. One of the computers ran the demo using DirectX 11, and as the level of graphical complexity and detail was increased, it slowed down to a standstill.

The machine with DirectX 12 handled the stress very well, managing to maintain decent framerate even with many more graphical elements to display in the cityscape scene. Here's a video to show you the difference:

Performance is not the only improvement, as the power consumption has been reduced as well, which is good news for mobile gaming, as batteries struggle to power phones and tablets for a few hours of play at best.

With DirectX 12, the biggest surprise is cross-platform gaming. Spencer announced that Unity has adopted the new API, and games such as Fable Legends will allow people on PC and Xbox One to play together. He also revealed that Unreal Engine will also support the new standard in upcoming games.

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