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Most developers are not hesitating to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest graphics programming interface.

DirectX 12 is the latest entry in Microsoft’s bundle of APIs (application programming interfaces) for getting the most out of visuals on Windows 10, and it has seen faster adoption among developers than any previous DirectX, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer. During a presentation at the company’s Build conference for developers today in San Francisco, Spencer spent much of his time emphasizing the many ways Microsoft is trying to make it easier for developers to deploy their games and apps to a variety of devices — like Xbox One, desktop, and HoloLens — while still having the tools to optimize performance for each thanks to the Universal Windows Platform initiative. Microsoft is behind Sony’s PlayStation in the console space, and the Windows organization is widening its scope to focus on the larger $99.3 billion gaming market instead (where PC online games thrive worldwide). Having developers rushing to work with DirectX 12 is a sign that Microsoft is well positioned to execute on its UWP plans.

With DirectX 12, developers will see a lot of instant improvements to their games compared to DirectX 11. Microsoft’s internal benchmarks suggest that the improved graphics framework is 50 percent more efficient when it comes to CPU usage. This leads to reduced latency between when a CPU calculates things like physics and when the GPU renders an image, which improves performance and framerate.

Here’s Spencer talking about DirectX 12 at Build as well as a sizzle reel for the games that support it:


DirectX 12 launched in June 2015, and developers have already used it to support games like the following:

  • Forza Motorsport Apex
  • Quantum Break
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
  • Just Cause 3

Quantum Break is due out next week, and it is an example of Microsoft taking advantage of both DirectX 12 and UWP. The company is even using this time-bending action adventure to get people used to the idea of universal games on Microsoft devices because anyone who preorders Quantum Break for Xbox One will get the UWP version on Windows 10 for free.

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