This blog post on MSDN confirms that Microsoft will introduce DirectX 12 at GDC on March 20, 2014. The news arrives after a DirectX session appeared on the Game Developers Conference schedule called "DirectX: Evolving Microsoft's Graphics Platform."
"For nearly 20 years, DirectX has been the platform used by game developers to create the fastest, most visually impressive games on the planet," the description reads. "However, you asked us to do more. You asked us to bring you even closer to the metal and to do so on an unparalleled assortment of hardware. You also asked us for better tools so that you can squeeze every last drop of performance out of your PC, tablet, phone and console."
Microsoft has another session during the conference titled "DirectX: Direct3D Futures." Presented by Max McMullen, development lead of Windows Graphics, the session will discuss "future improvements in Direct3D that will allow developers an unprecedented level of hardware control and reduced CPU rendering overhead across a broad ecosystem of hardware."
"Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated," reads a tweet from a DirectX 12 Twitter account. The post points back to the MSDN blog linked above, which includes logos from AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm. The Qualcomm aspect should prove interesting given that the company doesn't play in the same discreet GPU space as the other three, but mobile gaming is coming up in a big way.
DirectX 11 launched on Windows Vista and Windows 7 back in October 2009. The last significant release was DirectX 11.2, which was launched on October 18, 2013. DirectX was originally released in 1995; the popular DirectX 9 made its debut in 2002, and DirectX 10 in 2006.
Did AMD's Mantle push Microsoft into cooking up a new DirectX? Last year AMD stated that there was no DirectX 12 on Microsoft's roadmap. Microsoft clarified by saying that the company remained committed to evolving DirectX, but didn't say anything else after that. AMD then reveals its Mantle API late last year, and suddenly a new DirectX is on the radar. Coincidence?
Unnamed sources claim that Microsoft's interest in a new API is something recent. They also claim that DirectX 12 will duplicate the abilities of Mantle. DirectX 12 and Mantle won't be identical, sources said, but the end result should be the same: better scaling and less CPU overhead.
We'll find out what's on Microsoft radar later this month, and then during BUILD 2014 in early April.