According to sources quoted by website XbitLabs, Microsoft will not release version 10 of the DirectX application programming interface (API) for Windows XP, but will instead make it an exclusive for the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system.
The news, which has not been officially confirmed, was apparently mentioned at a recent event in London, with ATI Technologies’ software developers relations chief Richard Huddy commenting that Windows Vista will integrate DirectX 10 and DirectX 9 APIs for different types of hardware, but that Windows XP will not get DirectX 10 support.
The lack of DirectX 10 support will essentially place a glass ceiling on software technology created for Windows XP, with new graphics cards specifically designed for DirectX 10 (planned by both ATI and nVidia for later in the year) only being fully utilized when using Windows Vista.
The logic behind Microsoft’s decision is obvious, in that it further enforces the idea of Windows Vista as a necessary upgrade for game players, and allows Windows Vista and DirectX 10 to combine much more efficiently, but it also has the risk of further narrowing the market for cutting-edge PC games. Currently, Windows Vista is not expected to be widely available as a stand-alone release until January 2007.