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Microsoft Says It's Not Retiring DirectX Despite Reports

By - Source: ZDNet | B 52 comments

The XDA platform is on the way out, but Microsoft has no plans to "retire" DirectX despite a leaked email to developers indicating otherwise.

Microsoft created confusion when it sent an email to developers announcing that by April 1, 2014, it plans to "retire" XNA and DirectX from its "MVP Award Program" as a Technical Expertise. Leaked on Thursday, it contained wording that indicated that both XDA and DirectX would be retired, causing a wave of panic throughout the PC gaming community.

Microsoft's MVP Award Program program essentially awards "exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others." The email said that both platforms will no longer be part of the program.

However the leaked email also said that the cross-platform XNA Game Studio development platform is not in active development, and that DirectX is no longer evolving as a technology. That led to an impression that both platforms would eventually be discontinued, and that Microsoft was gearing up to launch a unified replacement.

XNA and DirectX developer lead Promit Roy (Chief Technology Officer, Action = Reaction Labs) followed up with a blog stating that the email was poorly worded, especially in regards to the DirectX aspect. But the blog also pointed out that "DirectX outside of Direct3D is completely dead," and that "Direct3D has been absorbed into Windows core." Thus Direct3D is no more a "technology" than GDI or Winsock.

"XNA Game Studio is finished. That situation has been obvious for years now, so it also should not really come as a surprise either," Roy confirmed. "It is clear at this juncture that there was no future and the tech was being phased out. Direct3D 10 was launched in late 2006, a bit over six years ago, yet XNA was apparently never going to be brought along with the major improvements in DWM and Direct3D."

XNA Game Studio has been used to code games released across Xbox Live, Windows Phone and other Windows-based devices. It was a breeding ground for independent developers including Supergiant Games' Bastion and Polytron's Fez. Other titles include Funcom's Bloodline Champions, Magicka from Paradox Interactive, Rocket Riot from THQ, numberous titles from Microsoft Studios and loads more.

As for the whole DirectX aspect, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reached out to Microsoft to get an official statement. "I can confirm that the original communication sent to MVPs yesterday was inaccurate. Microsoft has issued a follow-up communication to the DirectX/XNA MVPs reaffirming that DirectX is very much an important and evolving technology for Microsoft," the rep said.

"Microsoft is actively investing in DirectX as the unified graphics foundation for all of our platforms, including Windows, Xbox 360, and Windows Phone. DirectX is evolving and will continue to evolve. We have absolutely no intention of stopping innovation with DirectX," the Microsoft rep added.

The wording contained in the leaked email was a mistake "pure and simple," the rep said.

Roy updated his blog with vents about Microsoft's communication skills, pointing out that XNA doesn’t support DirectX 10+ or Windows 8, but it’s still a "supported product". Because MVPs like Roy are serving as community representatives – as guides for everyone interested in the tech – Microsoft needs to communicate clearly with those developers.

 

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  • 18 Hide
    wannabepro , February 3, 2013 6:04 PM
    Now if game devs would just update their games..

    A lot of them use DirectX 9..
  • 18 Hide
    esrever , February 3, 2013 6:57 PM
    Why would MS ever get rid of something they have a monopoly in?
  • 17 Hide
    Bloob , February 3, 2013 6:31 PM
    SneakySnakeI wish they would drop DirectX, and then everyone would move to OpenGL. If that were the case you could have game's on every platform, and it require virtually no porting (Windows, Mac, Linux). Maybe then Gabe's vision of using Linux for the Steam box could be a reality. No way in hell though MS is gonna let DX onto linux just for him.

    In recent years it's been Direct3D that's been driving the progress, and not OpenGL. Devs are free to choose OpenGL now too ( and I personally like it ), but DX is just more than a 3D API.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    wannabepro , February 3, 2013 6:04 PM
    Now if game devs would just update their games..

    A lot of them use DirectX 9..
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 3, 2013 6:09 PM
    "April 1, 2014"

    Enough said
  • 5 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 3, 2013 6:11 PM
    wannabeproNow if game devs would just update their games.. A lot of them use DirectX 9..


    Because consoles only support DX9, so why should the management tell the developers to burn more money and time into "specializing" the console game for porting to PC?
  • 8 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 3, 2013 6:12 PM
    EDIT: I don't expect a large number of DX11 games to appear until at least a quarter after PS4 and Xbox 720 are released.
  • -8 Hide
    nukemaster , February 3, 2013 6:15 PM
    It is not like you can not still use the XNA framework to play XNA games on Win8. I have it installed and it works fine.
  • 13 Hide
    SneakySnake , February 3, 2013 6:24 PM
    I wish they would drop DirectX, and then everyone would move to OpenGL. If that were the case you could have game's on every platform, and it require virtually no porting (Windows, Mac, Linux). Maybe then Gabe's vision of using Linux for the Steam box could be a reality. No way in hell though MS is gonna let DX onto linux just for him.
  • 17 Hide
    Bloob , February 3, 2013 6:31 PM
    SneakySnakeI wish they would drop DirectX, and then everyone would move to OpenGL. If that were the case you could have game's on every platform, and it require virtually no porting (Windows, Mac, Linux). Maybe then Gabe's vision of using Linux for the Steam box could be a reality. No way in hell though MS is gonna let DX onto linux just for him.

    In recent years it's been Direct3D that's been driving the progress, and not OpenGL. Devs are free to choose OpenGL now too ( and I personally like it ), but DX is just more than a 3D API.
  • 18 Hide
    esrever , February 3, 2013 6:57 PM
    Why would MS ever get rid of something they have a monopoly in?
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , February 3, 2013 6:58 PM
    SneakySnakeI wish they would drop DirectX, and then everyone would move to OpenGL. If that were the case you could have game's on every platform, and it require virtually no porting (Windows, Mac, Linux). Maybe then Gabe's vision of using Linux for the Steam box could be a reality. No way in hell though MS is gonna let DX onto linux just for him.


    We can already use DX on Linux, at least the Direct3D portion, up to DX11. Most (if not almost all) modern Windows games can be played on Linux right now, granted some are more difficult to get running properly than others.
  • -3 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 3, 2013 7:00 PM
    SneakySnakeI wish they would drop DirectX, and then everyone would move to OpenGL. If that were the case you could have game's on every platform, and it require virtually no porting (Windows, Mac, Linux). Maybe then Gabe's vision of using Linux for the Steam box could be a reality. No way in hell though MS is gonna let DX onto linux just for him.


    Your argument reminds me of a C++ vs Objective-C argument.
  • 7 Hide
    K2N hater , February 3, 2013 7:13 PM
    esreverWhy would MS ever get rid of something they have a monopoly in?

    They're just overconfident. DX development has slowed down ever since MS joined the console arena. Hopefully OpenGL/OpenCL will push the bar much further so MS will be forced to catch up like they did in the past.
  • 15 Hide
    obsama1 , February 3, 2013 7:16 PM
    I wish they would adopt OpenGL, but why would they? It would make porting games to competing platforms very easy (i.e. PS3).
  • -3 Hide
    megiv , February 3, 2013 7:18 PM
    Sad news. XNA rocks (or shall I say , rocked).

    I used OpenGL until I started with C# and XNA 3.5

    XNA is a great platform. What's the big deal in keeping it up to date with the latest DX build?

    Going from C++/OpenGL to C#/XNA is like going black. You don't go back.
  • 6 Hide
    plznote , February 3, 2013 7:25 PM
    Subtitle should say XNA, instead of XDA. :p . MS doesn't own XDA.
  • -6 Hide
    redeemer , February 3, 2013 7:40 PM
    DirectX is what is holding developers back
  • 4 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , February 3, 2013 7:49 PM
    redeemerDirectX is what is holding developers back


    I seriously hope that was a joke. . .
  • -6 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , February 3, 2013 8:04 PM
    OpenGL is the future anyhow. So ever directX got retired then everything would move to an more advanced platform like OpenGL.
  • 2 Hide
    felix666 , February 3, 2013 8:08 PM
    Just remember why DirectX was created. Each program had to provide its own suite of drivers for an array of hardware manufacturers for functions not covered by the original DOS environment. It was hamstringing the development of both the software and hardware developers and created unbreakable monopolies, not for the good of the Windows ecosystem. It had to be broken, and DirectX was the way that Microsoft chose to do it. And it worked just great! With sound, graphics and networking being part of every computer, it is just a natural evolution that DirectX becomes a component of the operating system. Hopefully some hooks will remain to not lock the developers who have new ideas.
  • -6 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 3, 2013 8:27 PM
    juliarobertsjSome spam about a friend's half-sister supposedly getting rich


    She must make quite a bit from making men happy through the internet.
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