Has the Excitement For DirectX 11 Run Its Course?

As Microsoft prepares the world for the release of DirectX 12, there’s one elephant in the room that must be addressed. That’s the fact that DirectX 11 excitement ran out of steam a long time ago. In surveys that date back to 2011, developers were less than excited about using this platform. In fact, 3 years ago and two years after DirectX 11 was released, 65% of developers were still using DirectX 10 to meet their needs.

At that point in time, there were still 7% of developers using versions as old as DirectX 8 in order to make gaming and graphics platforms. Less than 3 out of 10 developers were actually using the upgrade. What does that mean for DirectX 12 in Fall 2015?

It Means Microsoft Has an Uphill Battle

In its best case scenario, DirectX 12 looks to capture just 30% of the market by Fall 2017 if similar figures can be expected. Considering the upgrade is considered to be rather minor and only provide much of what AMD’s Mantle is already providing the market, the marketing push for DirectX 12 is in full force. There is early access available for developers. It’s been publicly included in Unreal Engine 4. It’s been promised to be apart of up to several hundred games in the coming years.

Yet, in all of this marketing hype, a collective yawn seems to be heard across the gaming world. Why is there such apathy to the DirectX 11 platform, both then and now? It isn’t because access isn’t freely given to the platform or that it isn’t incorporated into the chips that are being released. It might actually be because of the attitude that Microsoft has toward the DirectX product in general.

Why Does Microsoft Keep DirectX So Close to the Vest?

The issue with DirectX 11 was that it was initially released to be included as part of the new Windows operating system. That looks to be happened again with next year’s anticipated release of Windows 10 [or whatever it might end up being called] and it follows a history that company has had since they released Vista for the first time. People are tired of having these package upgrades that cost them more than it really should.

That’s why more than 70% of engineers and developers were using older versions rather than the new DirectX 11 back in 2011. It’s also why DirectX 11 might finally become the choice of many once the upgrade to 12 is released next year. Many platforms can produce great gaming graphics, even in rendered 3D, without the need for DirectX 11 or 12. When game designers basically tell their customers that there’s no reason to rush out to get new equipment or software upgrades, then why should they?
DirectX 12 could be immensely successful, but only if Microsoft decides to make some changes to how they let it enter the market. If they keep on course as they have for more than a decade, it looks like Fall 2015 might be the time that DirectX 11 finally gets to shine instead.

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