Chances are good that if you’ve been following along with gaming news recently, you’ve had your interests piqued with regards to last years announcement Microsoft will be bringing DirectX 12 to their Xbox One console. There has been a lot of hype and speculation regarding what it would mean for the system, and we’ve conducted our own analysis and looked into Microsoft and AMD’s Dev day Conference where it was announced that certain DX12 features already are part of the X1’s API.
Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox Division over at Microsoft has decided to tackle the rumors regarding the upcoming release of their flagship API and rather than providing a bunch of PR speak, was refreshingly honest regarding what gamer’s should expect out of the update.
“It will help developers on XBOX One. It’s not going to be a massive change but will unlock more capability for devs,” says Phil Spencer via Twitter.
Logically this makes sense for a number of reasons. Chiefly, the Xbox One’s API is already fairly ‘low level’ in comparison to that of the PC. In our Tech Tribunal analysis of the Developer Day conference, we noted Microsoft’s mention of this and concluded “…this means that porting titles to the console from PC are easy, but for optimization there are extensions available to provide low level access to the Xbox One’s specific hardware…”
The Xbox One’s hardware is also fixed, unlike a PC whose API must content with all manner of weird and wonderful configurations. Finally, the CPU inside the machine isn’t as powerful as the PC, and the X1 (and games) are already designed to be fairly multi-threaded meaning that the scope for rendering optimization is fairly limited in comparison.
Phil Spencer wasn’t finished there however, and commented what he expected of first party titles.
“I don’t think it’s about a specific genre, more about creating exclusive franchises, taking some risks 3rd parties might not take. Thing I ask 1st party studios is why is this a 1st party game, what tech, design or creative difference are we trying to land,” he continued via tweets.
Personally, I agree that it’s up to first party studios to provide innovation – after all, those games are typically the reason that you’ll go out and buy that console specifically as opposed to playing multiplatform titles on either the PC or a competing console system.