Microsoft’s Xbox One entertainment console has lagged behind Sony’s PS4 video game console in terms of delivering a ridiculous high-definition video experience. That being said, comments made by a video game developer about an upcoming software upgrade indicate that may not always be the case.
Talking with GamingBold this week, video game developer Brad Wardell shared some insight on how the Direct X12 software upgrade for the Xbox One will help it at least reach resolution parity with the PS4.
“You are going to get a substantial benefit,” Wardell says of the Direct X12 upgrade coming to Microsoft’s entertainment console.
“The API is there for me to use as a tool for the piece of hardware. And the one that was in Direct X11 was not easy, it was a very trial and error process to make use of the eSRAM. In Direct X12 they’ve tried to make it easier to make use with and the easier it is to use, the more likely you’re going to get developers who optimize for it correctly.”
To be clear, Wardell is in no way saying that this coming software update will somehow make every video game that’s available on the Xbox One suddenly run at the same resolution as the PS4 or PC version. For starters, developers actually have to program with this new eSRAM API before gamers at home get the benefits of it. Still, it’s big news that someone outside of Microsoft is talking about the benefits of the software change.
Soon after its Xbox One announcement, some gamers began noticing that developers weren’t hitting the same 1080p resolution on the Xbox One as they were the PS4. Ubisoft in particular said that it was going to keep platform parity and have its Assassin’s Creed Unity game run at a lower resolution on all systems as a result. Naturally, PS4 fans revolted, irate that their gaming console of choice was getting what they believed was a sub-par resolution just because of a flaw with the Xbox One. Microsoft addressed part of the resolution problem last year when it rolled out new software that gave horsepower back to developers who weren’t using the Xbox One’s Kinect gestures and motion tracking. Destiny developer Bungie confirmed that it used this extra power to boost the resolution of their game before launch.
Direct X12 is part of Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system. The software – which almost no gamers actually come in contact with – acts almost like the scaffolding on a deck. The APIs and code are there to better support the experience that the developer wants to deliver. A new app for automatically building some connections for developers is coming too, according to Wardell. That could make it cheaper and easier to get a video game going on Direct X12 than it ever was on Direct X11.
On the PC, Direct X12 will arrive along with a refreshed gaming experience that uses the same Xbox Live services as the Xbox One. Earlier this year Microsoft confirmed that it would effectively treat Windows 10 devices like another console. Controllers and hardware extras purchased for the Xbox One will work on Windows 10 devices, according to the early March announcement. Game saves and even videos recorded from Xbox on Windows 10 will be stored on Xbox Live.
Unfortunately, we don’t know if any upgrades besides the behind-the-scenes stuff for Direct X12 will make their way to the Xbox One when it gets Windows 10. Microsoft has confirmed that it plans to launch Windows 10 sometime this summer. Presumably, we’ll hear more about Direct X12, if Windows 10 apps will come to the Xbox One and more at this year’s Xbox Media Briefing during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June. The company could share more about the benefits of Direct X 12 during its BUILD 2016 event in late April and May.