Companies, Gaming, Microsoft, VR World

DirectX 12 On Xbox One Coming First to Preview Members

UPDATE: At Build 2015, Square Enix teamed up with Microsoft to showcase the power of DirectX 12 in a new tech demo. The demonstration footage is called Witch Chapter 0 [cry], and highlights the incredible potential that DX12 will bring to future games including Final Fantasy 15.

Original story is as follows.

Xbox division head Phil Spencer has revealed that members of the Xbox One Preview Program will get first crack at using the console’s hotly anticipated DirectX 12 update. As far as timing goes, users will be notified a month ahead of the API’s planned release.

The preview program has been one of the major driving forces in the Xbox One’s continued development, allowing dedicated console owners to beta test and demo new features and key software updates. In a sense it’s a bit of user-driven quality assurance that arms Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) with valuable feedback to see what works and what doesn’t.

But why is everyone so excited about the new software? Could it really dramatically boost the Xbox One’s performance?

Xbox One Windows 10

DX12 brings a host of new benefits to both Windows 10 PC’s and the Xbox One, and serves as a way to link the two peripherals.

DX12 and the 1080p myth

Ever since it was announced at GDC 2015 that DirectX 12 application programming interface was coming to the Xbox One, gamers have been speculating and discussing how the API could revolutionize the console.

Stardock Studios’ Brad Wardell went so far as to say that DirectX 12 could give the Xbox One a much-needed resolution boost. Right now the console is able to hit native 1080p with games like Forza Motorsport 5 and Far Cry 4, but most of the games are in the native 900p or below. The console alleviates this with its internal upscaler, which makes 900p games look almost the same as 1080p games.

Wardell thinks with optimizations from developers, DX12 could be the gateway to hitting consistent native 1080p on the system.

Sadly this isn’t the case.

Damien Monnier, CD Projekt RED’s senior game designer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, assures gamers that he thinks Wardell is far off the mark. Monnier says that Microsoft would need “bigger changes” than a software update if it wanted to improve the Xbox One’s resolution.

Phil Spencer himself even dispelled these speculations:

“I was asked early on by people if DX12 is gonna dramatically change the graphics capabilities of Xbox One and I said it wouldn’t.

“The CPU, GPU and memory that are on Xbox One don’t change when you go to DX12. DX12 makes it easier to do some of the things that Xbox One’s good at, which will be nice and you’ll see improvement in games that use DX12.”

Xbox One console

DX12 will have a more dramatic effect on PC’s rather than Xbox One’s, with a host of new tools and efficient features to improve performance.

PC performance boosts and faster console porting

DirectX 12 has a more significant impact on PC performance, improving GPU efficiency and reducing CPU overhead by 50% thanks to Resource Binding and a plethora of other new features. Intel’s DX12 demo at SIGGRAPH 2014 revealed that the new API was as much as 70% more efficient than DX11 in terms of rendering speed and CPU power consumption.

DirectX 12 will even be able to unify AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) and Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) branded graphics cards.

Utilizing the API’s Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU functionality, developers can allow both GeForce and Radeon GPU’s to work in tandem with one another and even pool their resources together in a single “bucket”, which is then leveraged by the API under the discretion of the developer.

Read More: DirectX 12 On PC And Xbox One: Improving GPU Efficiency, Reduced CPU Overhead And More Analyzed

All of these performance boosts for PC ultimately translate to quicker and more efficient console porting methods, although developers will have to learn how to optimize the software and learn new tricks.

So essentially DirectX 12 will help tether and link Windows 10 PC’s with Xbox One’s, while also delivering a host of upgrades and boosts along the way. Although the console will reap some advantages from the API, it won’t be some magnificent catch-all that wipes away its problems–including the 900p native resolution.

Microsoft still hasn’t revealed a finalized timeline or even a release window for DirectX 12 on Xbox One, but preview members will get dibs on the new features before everyone else.

This way the console-maker will be able to work out all the kinks before it’s ready for mass consumption, and we’ll be sure to update you once we hear any updates.


    Ummm…The Xbox One is NOT locked at 900p. If you are going to talk about this stuff, it might be nice to speak facts. It is just that many (most) third-parties seem to be targeting that res to maintain higher framerates. Forza 5, Halo, and many other first party and some third-party games run at 1080p.

    • It should be about the games

      We hear this all the time. The Xbox One is slowly becoming a poster child for the hugely misunderstood. Personally, I’ll take a lower res any day if it means that the game play and general content of the game can be improved upon.

      • Agreed. The whole resolutiongate debate comes second to the actual experience. Xbox One gamers have just as much fun with a 900p game as PS4 owners with a 1080p flavor.

        • Christopher Langley

          But not as much as PC gamers with 4K.

          • N2K12

            ignirant comment.

          • Christopher Langley

            lel, nice try trolling bud.

        • N2K12

          the xbox won is1080p. the ps4 is 900p.

          • Nicholas Compton

            I had to make this account to congratulate you for getting the most ignorant f**ktard award. Congrats, you’ve earned it.

        • hvd hvd

          they cant tell the difference between 900p and 1080p

    • Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I went ahead and changed the article. I was going off of the 2013 reports that 900p was the norm for Xbox One’s native res, but that’s not longer the case.

  • brusselsproty

    Stupid article, the Xbox One is not locked at 900p how on earth do you think they had Forza 5 at launch running a native 1080p and 60fps?.

    • Sorry for the misconceptions there, my mistake! I do appreciate you commenting and letting me know about the error, and I’ve definitely gone ahead and amended the article.

  • Deeboy

    There are many games on the Xbox at 1080p native. Check your facts!

    • Thanks for your feedback. I went ahead and amended the article reflecting that the Xbox One is able to hit 1080p native.

      Most of the games are upscaled from 900p, of course, and it has to do with how the dev chooses to optimize their game–the classic resolution vs. frame-rate debacle.

      • Deeboy

        Thanks Derek. The Xbox already has a false rep from other writers on the web. Misinformation is partly the cause but I respect a writer that just made an honest mistake and willing to correct it. Thanks for the article. At least we know DX12 is an intricate part of the Xbox ones API.

        • No worries, and I do appreciate your kind words ;]

          I’m always willing to admit when I’m wrong–it happens, and that’s how we learn haha.

      • Corellianrogue

        The article is still wrong as at least half, if not more, games are 1080p on Xbox One. Also the issue is using the ESRAM, not the power of the CPU or GPU. There’s supposed to be improved software for the ESRAM in an SDK update though that’s supposed to help a lot so hopefully a lot more, if not all, games will be 1080p in the future.

  • UpTide

    ” It will support up to 4K at launch for things like Blu-Ray, but what about later? ‘There’s no hardware restriction there at all.’ So, in theory, the Xbox One could support 2K or perhaps even 4K gaming – if there’s content for it at those resolutions.”

  • Scott Lee Clayton

    Well we know how DX12 will effect the X1 till games for the X1 are made with DX12.

    Just adding DX12 now wont suddenly make all games run at 1080p its up to developers to get the most out of it.

    • kidd Cyr

      How do we know if people are preview members? And if so could someone send me an invite for the y preview? kiddcyr is my GamerTag on Xbox One Add me Please !!!

    • Cass Cassidy

      This might be a dumb question man but I have an Xbox One and I’ve been reading a lot about DirectX12 but is it something I will have to buy? Is it going to be one of the monthly system updates?

      • Scott Lee Clayton

        DX12 is a bunch of programming tools that allow the developer to get the most out of the hardware.

  • James

    This notion that resolution has a direct relationship with Compute Units
    (AMD’s ACE) or total bandwidth is torturing me! I remember the graphics
    cards 10 years ago had very few pixel/vertex shaders, (now called
    unified shaders) like 48 pixel/24 vertex that could pump out 60fps at
    1600×1200 which is a little less than 1080p. Keep in mind the shading
    quality back then was simple by comparison.

    The sad fact about DX11 is that it limits the communication between CPU and GPU, as well as forceing unnecessary calculating which can “overuse” resources.

    The console was made with DX12 in mind, the ESRAM cannot possibly be used
    to reach peak bandwidth capability under DX11, and we’re still having
    articles discussing resolution difference? When I look at my CPU usage
    in any DX11 game, its almost pathetic. However that does not mean that
    the hardware is the issue…which is what so many poeple argue about on
    these forums.

  • Sumothong

    So one developer says it will help a lot one says it won’t help that much. I’ll just wait til some DX12 games come out. Developers disagreeing is the same as fanboys arguing. It gets nowhere and is extremely annoying.

  • GK15

    To be fair, most XB1 games are at 900p or 1080p these days. 720p native games on XB1 are fewer and farther between.

  • Patrick Mackey

    Damian monnier worked for Sony a few years ago. Dont trust anything he says. Google him?

  • Jminator31

    I can’t wait to see what DirectX 12 can do on PC.

  • AAAAAHHHH, more power to ze playas?? zis good ya

  • pAU123

    Damien Monnier was as Sony employee for 4 years he came from the other side.

    Switching a Witcher dx11 game to dx12 would likely not do much as the game is not coded for dx12

  • Triton

    “the 900p native resolution”
    Holy sh*t, this article is a joke.
    Writer is living under a stone somewhere in 2013.

  • billybobfrankwashington

    How can DX12 cause such improvements on PC and not on XBOX ONE?

  • N2K12

    sadly this isnt the case? oh? it aint even out yet. more ignorant trolling from the editors. god this site is a joke. keep speaking out of your ass.

  • N2K12

    xbox won

  • hvd hvd

    the xbox one has 75% of its games at 1080p the rest are 900p and 720p.the 720p is the ea games that frost bite engine is the reason.dx12 will help push those other games up..