Last week at XNA Gamefest developers conference, Microsoft announced DirectX 11 which is tipped for being launched as part of next generation Windows 7.
Microsoft is cited as claiming DirectX 11 will be important for not only PCs but console platforms as well - possibly leading the way to a uniform ground between the entire gaming race, lowering development costs but making ports between PC and consoles ever more common.
had a chat with Kevin Unangst, Senior Global Director of Windows Gaming at Microsoft, who clarified a few points for the future:
- Games for Windows Live will be free for Windows users and developers
- Marketplace will come to Windows Live this Autumn
- Marketplace will offer the ability to distribute not only trailers, featured content but games too (just like Steam) however freely available games can be put on Marketplace free of charge
- DirectX 11 will be backward compatible with DirectX 10 and 10.1, like 9 was with 8, 7, 6 etc. This means that those who own Vista and don't want to upgrade to Windows 7 will still be able to get the benefits of the latest DirectX.
- DirectX 11 will better support multi-core and multi-threading machines so existing hardware will be better off.
- Tessellation will also be introduced and will work on DirectX 10, 10.1 and 11 hardware - this means those with ATI HD 2000, 3000 and 4000 series cards will see benefits from DirectX 11 because they currently support this feature.
So while the hardware side looks like an evolutionary step for the better (one no doubt Tim will clarify in super-detail when the time is right), but the PC gaming master race might not take too kindly to having its platform in such close alignment with consoles. Understandably it's to keep games development costs down, while keeping the quality "high", but what incentive is there to use the inevitable extra performance on PCs if you're developing one game for all?
Let us know your thoughts on the next generation (no Star Trek quotes, please) in the forums.