Microsoft thinks that it has come up for an answer to AMD’s Mantle software.
Mantle is designed to run on discrete Radeon graphics cards and their new Kaveri APUs with GCN graphics and give game developers a means to work more closely with the GPU, freeing up some of the CPU’s workload and generally extracting more performance from a Radeon graphics than was typically possible with Microsoft's popular DirectX. The move miffed Microsoft which refused to allow its Xbox One to use Mantle. The reason given was that new console had its own low-level API called DirectX 11.X.
At the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC) Redmond is going to have a talk on “DirectX: Evolving Microsoft’s Graphics Platform.”
The talk paper suggests that Microsoft has heard what people have said about needing to be 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. Come learn our plans to deliver,” Microsoft said.
This means that Microsoft is about to show AMD how it thinks it should be done. AMD pushed the phrase “close to the metal” during its marketing for Mantle and it appears to have stuck. If Microsoft really does have an answer, it could put AMD on the back foot. Mantle is new and while it does have support of developers like DICE, Eidos-Montréal, and Oxide Games it does not have everyone.