This week's Microsoft Windows 10 event showed off a lot of what Windows 10 can bring to the Xbox. One of the big announcements was how the new DirectX 12 would benefit gaming on the Xbox One. Xbox head Phil Spencer took the stage to explain all of the pros behind DX12 coming to not only the PC, but to the Xbox One.
For those unaware, DirectX 12 is a Microsoft programming interface that handles video activities on the computer, namely for gaming. It's had many names in the past but they now all live under the DirectX name. With each iteration, improvements and enhancements always come with it, giving developers more tools and capabilities, which can then be passed down to gamers in terms of graphical additions and gameplay benefits.
Spencer focused a portion of the event to talk about DX12 and how it would relate to the PC, but also made mention that the API would be open for Xbox One games, too, since Windows 10 is making its way to the console. How? Well, it first starts with the developers. Marketing head Aaron Greenberg took to Twitter about DirectX 12 after the event concluded. When asked if DX12 would affect the Xbox One substantially or would the PC benefit more, he replied, "both, but devs have to make use of it."
Simply put, the devs will have the tools and will just need to take advantage of them for gamers to experience the benefit. DirectX 12 will allow better performance by giving developers the ability to send the GPU tasks to perform on the numerous threads available on the chip. In the past, this was not possible, as most of the task management is CPU-bound. The essence behind DX12 is that it changes this process by allowing many CPU cores to communicate with many GPU cores. Plus, with the Xbox One just recently unlocking its 7th core for gaming, although it will take some development time for us to see the benefit directly, it gives devs more power than they previously had on the Xbox One. This is key for the One's lifespan and usage, and will be especially powerful with exclusives.
What does that all mean for the average person? We should expect to see graphic performance increase by almost 50% and CPU usage drop by 20%. Current games will also see a slight boost to performance just by the firmware upgrade. An oversimplified comparison of DX11 vs DX12 breaks it all down in extremely fine detail, but in the end, this is good news for gamers on Microsoft's latest console.
We'll see more information about this at the upcoming GDC as well. If there's one thing to take away from all of this tech talk, it's that there are great things in store for gamers. And those things are coming very soon, so we should all be excited about them.
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