NVIDIA & Microsoft team up to bring DirectX 12 Ultimate to PC and Xbox Series X

NVIDIA has unveiled DirectX 12 Ultimate, but it isn't working alone. Microsoft is also helping out, as the two giants join forces to bring DX12 Ultimate to PC and Xbox Series X.


NVIDIA is taking a bold step forward when it comes to pure PC gaming power and it's taking that step alongside with the people at Microsoft. On Thursday, the company unveiled DirectX 12 Ultimate, which will not only enhance the future of PC gaming, but will also power the upcoming Xbox Series X.

The new DirectX 12 Ultimate API is said to codify a number of GeForce RTX's various technologies, bridging the gap between advanced PC gaming graphics and next-generation console power. Here's some of what users can look forward to:

  • Improved Ray Tracing: DirectX Ray Tracing (DXR) is now moving to 1.1. Built in conjunction with Microsoft, the next iteration of ray tracing rendering will bring better lighting, reflection, and shadow effects to a greater number of future games. It's also slated to make a number of current games look better, with Minecraft listed as one of the most prominent examples.
  • Variable Rate Shading: DirectX 12 Ultimate will place a greater focus on "intelligent shading" to allow for better overall performance. This means better rendering on objects that you see in your immediate field of view by placing less focus on peripheral objects. Think of peripheral objects in virtual reality games or think objects that you blaze past in racing games.
  • Mesh Shaders: The new DirectX 12 Ultimate pipeline will enable GPU-controlled level-of-detail selection and tesselation. Higher tessellation objects can allow for much sharper, more detailed objects. Think of something like Nvidia's Asteroids demo from back in December 2018. There haven't been any games that have shipped with Mesh Shaders, but Nvidia expects the tech to become standard.

  • Sampler Feedback: This will lead to improved performance and texture loading. Rather than reuse shaded pixels, DirectX 12 Ultimate will allow developers to re-project them instead. This will allow them to save shading calculations and free up a number of resources. Not only can PC game developers use this, but Microsoft will also utilize this with texture rendering for the Xbox Series X.

NVIDIA is hopeful that DirectX 12 Ultimate's features will lead to better-looking PC games in the future, while Microsoft is banking on the technology to give it an edge in console game development. Developers like Hi-Rez's Chris Larson (whose company is working on 2020's Rogue Company), Remedy's Mika Vehkala, and Epic Games' Marcus Wassmer are among those singing the praises for DX12 Ultimate and what it can offer for future PC, Xbox, and multiplatform games.

Look for DX12 Ultimate to become standard in future NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs. For more on today's DirectX 12 Ultimate announcement and how it will affect the Xbox ecosystem, be sure to check out Xbox Wire.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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