DirectX 12, Xbox Experience, Windows 10 And More!
Just When You Thought Microsoft Was Out Of Ideas For Gamers
I've been reading up on DirectX 12 since mid-2014 and it appears that Microsoft is gearing up for a Q4 2015 release. DX11 was great and all, but DirectX 12 should have more of an impact on games as well as the hardware. The good news is that most gaming engines will support DirectX 12 API, which is great news so that many developers can use the new API. One of the issues with DirectX 11 is that it did not use the multi-core processors very well. There would be a "wait" or "idle" period between frames. This leads to other issues which can easily frustrate games. During gaming sessions you want lowest latency and highest frame rate as possible.
DirectX 12 appears to have solved that issue that DirectX 11 suffers from. With DirectX 12 MS has already stated that DX12 will improve multithread scaling as well as CPU utilization. Similar to AMD's "Mantle", DX12 will allow lower level abstractions for developers. 3Dmark11, a extremely popular PC GPU benchmarking tool, was ported and using the DirectX 12 API. The results showed a 50% increase in performance. I actual saw the data and the performance gains are accurate with the final score being 48.15%. Of course this was CPU performance. Nevertheless, it appears that Microsoft is quickly shutting down their critics and the GPU, memory and CPU will communicate more efficiently.
Moving on to other MS news, Microsoft will be pleasing just about everyone on every platform. Windows 10 is shaping up to be great and with DirectX 12 we can expect great things. That goes for cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and Xbox. Windows 10 is also aimed at gamers in general. No matter if you game on the Xbox One or the PC. Microsoft is streamlining everything together which is great news since the gamers will have the most to gain. Microsoft has a lot of making up to do for the lackluster "Games for Windows LIVE". GFWL is still up and running by the way. There were a lot of scares last year when everyone thought GFWL was shutting down, well the Phil Spencer has other plans instead. Unfortunately, several companies switched over to Steamworks. Steam is one of, if not, the biggest DRM and Digital Gaming Marketplaces on the planet. It appears that some of my old ideas are becoming a reality with all of this cross platform talk from MS.
Check out footage from Microsoft
Windows 10 will feature the Xbox Experience, but MS claims that they will not compete directly with Steam. Microsoft definitely knows how to bring gamers together socially. This seems be a strong point for MS and no I'm not talking about Facebook or Twitter. MS is bringing their own social cross platform features. The "Xbox App" will come integrated with Windows 10. It will have all of same features as Xbox.com, however, it will enable cross platform multiplayer. Meaning that you can play online against other gamers on the Xbox One even though you are playing on a desktop PC vice versa.
Another great social feature is the audio barrier you have with PC and console players. Now you will also be able to talk to friends\gamers and gamers on different platforms [PC\Xbox One]. One of the first games that will allow gamers to communicate and enable cross platform multiplayer is "Fable Legends". No matter if you are playing on the Xbox One or the PC, that will no longer matter. I expect more gamers to utilize all of the social features and cross platform multiplayer. As I stated above, Microsoft is giving developers access to the DirectX 12 and full access to Xbox Live API as well. One other thing to note is that MS is adding a function for PC users to record their gaming sessions [Game DVR] similar to Xbox One. For Windows 10 users they will simply press Windows + G on the keyboard and they will access to the same functions for recording gameplay. Oh and you will be able to stream your Xbox One games through your home network to Windows 10 products.
Overall I feel that this is great news for gamers who prefer Microsoft products. Microsoft can definitely cash in if they continue to have a strong presence on the PC. With that being said I have faith that Microsoft will follow through and support the Xbox App throughout the years. I can also tell that Microsoft is taking these features seriously. Hopefully game developers will take the features seriously as well and enable some great cross platform gameplay without limited console gamers or PC gamers. This can be great for games that need more players online. It seems that there are a ton of great games that are forgotten when the "next big AAA" game releases. Cross platform support could keep those gaming communities alive.
Some issues I'm sure will see eventually is the fact that you potentially have mouse+keyboard "PC gamers" dominating controller "console" gamers. Well times have changed and there are many PC gamers who simply use a controller for several PC games. PC games have supported the Xbox 360 controller for years. Some devs could force gamers to use a PC gamepad instead of the mouse and keyboard. Otherwise the developers could add measures to keep the matches even between PC gamers and console gamers. Despite the minor issues I still feel that this is great for Xbox and Windows 10 users. There will surely be plenty of benefits for the everyone.
Feel free to post comments below and let us know what you think.
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