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Windows Phone 8 Will Support DirectX For Better Gaming



Microsoft is playing to one of its core strengths in Windows Phone 8: gaming. The next version of the mobile platform will bring support for Microsoft’s DirectX.

DirectX is a set of proprietary APIs developers can use to build games for Windows. DirectX is why Windows games so often look better than Mac games, and aren’t easily ported to the Mac. Microsoft built the Xbox to bring DirectX to the world of home consoles, and now it’s bringing that same expertise to mobile.

Windows Phone 8 also shares a core with Windows 8, which means developers can easily port games that use DirectX on Windows to the mobile platform. That doesn’t mean we’ll see big games like Crysis 2 or Civilization V on Windows Phone, but we might eventually.

According to The Verge, Microsoft showed off the Havok engine running on Windows Phone 8 on stage during the presentation yesterday. The engine took only three weeks to port to the platform, and looks pretty good for such a quick port. The engine already runs on Android and iOS however, so that isn’t exactly a big deal.

We already know that mobile platforms are capable of great-looking console-quality games, just look at games like Infinity Blade and Sky Gamblers. Both games run on iOS, but with Microsoft’s announcement, we might see more games like them on Windows Phone.

With the new support Microsoft can finally leverage its Xbox Live branding for games by having more Xbox-quality games. Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies, and the original Final Fantasy are great games, but we’d love to see more games like Halo on the platform, which DirectX support can help with. We hope Microsoft reveals a new Windows Phone version of a big-name title as the platform’s launch draws closer to show off what DirectX on the platform can really do.



  1. jan

    10/31/2012 at 7:46 am

    “DirectX is why Windows games so often look better than Mac games”
    Sorry, but that is bullshit. Most games just use DirectX 9 features, which are equivalent to OpenGL 2.1, which is available for a long time on MacOS X. Apple in fact supports GL 3.2 for quite some time which is equivalent to DX10.

    DX11 games are the only ones that can’t be ported right now but those are extremely rare.

    • sergueifedorov

      02/07/2013 at 1:41 pm

      DirectX is completely different from OpenGL. In fact to make an interop between them is very difficult, in case you want to port an OpenGL game onto DirectX. Both seem to be very equal to one another in terms of features and more importantly performance. The push from Microsoft to use native code is because C# is not suitable enough for game developers on low end devices because of the garbage collection. This is also why they decided to introduce DirectX over the previous XNA alternative (though I think it was not a good idea to get rid of it entirely). I would however much preferred that they support OpenGL since all the other mobile OSs support it and there are far better resources for entry level developers. Though it is Microsoft and they will definitely not support something that competes with their own tech.

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