On Microsoft's Windows App Builder Blog, the company states that the Xbox One will not support AMD's hardware-level Mantle API. Previously, developers were presumably taking advantage of this API given that the console's Radeon GPU core is based on the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. Thus, game developers for GCN-based Radeon GPUs would seemingly have the same metal-level access whether it's in the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, making it even easier to "port" console games over to the PC platform.
But of course, Microsoft won't have any of that Mantle stuff. "For over 15 years, Direct3D has served as an essential ingredient to deliver cutting-edge 3D graphics in games," the report states. "During this time, Direct3D has dramatically evolved as a result of deep investments we've made in development across our device platforms (Windows, Xbox, and Windows Phone) and continued partnership with industry-leading GPU hardware vendors and game developers."
"We are very excited that with the launch of Xbox One, we can now bring the latest generation of Direct3D 11 to console," the report adds. "The Xbox One graphics API is 'Direct3D 11.x' and the Xbox One hardware provides a superset of Direct3D 11.2 functionality. Other graphics APIs such as OpenGL and AMD's Mantle are not available on Xbox One."
Shortly after the blog went live and reports started to surface, AMD responded by pointing out that Mantle is actually for the PC platform. Mantle creates a development environment that is similar to what consoles already offer: low-level APIs, close-to-metal hardware access, and simplified development procedures versus that of a PC.
"PC gamers and developers deserve the benefits of this model as well, which is why devs like DICE approached us and requested a technology like Mantle," AMD stated. "And the benefit of that technology is clear: improved performance for gamers through more efficient rendering."
"So much of the work game developers are doing to prepare for the next generation of console gaming is already well-suited for the modern graphics architectures in AMD Radeon graphics cards," AMD continued. "Though the door is open for non-PC platforms to support Mantle in the future, today Mantle is a continuum that allows developers to take advantage of that work on the PC."
What may have confused many people was the comment AMD made during the Mantle API reveal last month. "With Mantle, games like DICE’s 'Battlefield 4' will be empowered with the ability to speak the native language of the Graphics Core Next architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimization no other graphics card manufacturer can match," the company said. "Mantle also assists game developers in bringing games to life on multiple platforms by leveraging the commonalities between GCN-powered PCs and consoles for a simple game development process."
The company also indicated that one of the benefits of using Mantle would be leveraging optimization work from next-generation game consoles to PCs, and new rendering techniques. Thus, with direct access to all GPU features, developers can unlock higher graphics performance on consoles and gaming rigs with GCN-based GPUs.
Oh well. With that now clarified, Microsoft talks about DirectX 11.2 on the Windows App Builder Blog, which you can read right here.