Sony's VR Headset Project Morpheus stole the show at GDC this week, unsurprisingly, but Microsoft also had an announcement of the own regarding the future of gaming with the unveil of DirectX12, the next wave of their DirectX PC graphics software. A limited PC port of Forza Motorsport 5 was used to showcase its capabilities, where it was seen running on a PC equipped with an Nvidia GTX Titan Black graphics card running at 1080p and a static 60fps.
But before you get excited about the prospect of Forza 5 eventually being ported onto PC, Microsoft insist that this was merely a tech demo to demonstrate the "power and ease of development for DirectX12," and how console-like efficency will be possible on a PC.
Turn10's Chris Tector said this limited demo apparently took “4 man-worth effort to port our core rendering engine from Xbox One D3D11.X to D3D12.”
Microsoft say DirectX12 will be "the most significant leap for Windows game graphics in years," and developers will be able to utilise the technology on any Microsoft-supported platforms, including PCs, phones, tablets and of course Xbox One – Microsoft specifically mentioned that the "benefits of Direct3D 12 will extend to Xbox One," so expect future Xbox One games to gain a significant graphical boost.
While the Forza 5 DirectX12 demo was running at a steady 60fps just as it does on the console, Xbox One games have traditionally struggled to achieve this. DirectX12 could rectify this problem, however, as it utilises multiple CPU cores far more efficiently than DirectX11, reducing the CPU workload by as much as 50%.
No firm release date as been announced for when games will be able to take advantage of DirectX12, but Microsoft hinted that games released at the end of 2015 will be able to take advantage of DirectX12, with early access previews said to be available later this year.
This isn't the first time we've seen Forza 5 running on a PC – remember last year's E3 scandal when it emerged the demo shown was running on a PC with noticeably upscaled graphics compared to the Xbox One retail release?