Last month AMD announced Mantle, a brand new API designed to fully unlock the graphics potential of their Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. AMD said that they were working closely with leading game developers like EA/DICE to create this new application programming interface (API) specification and the associated graphics driver to bring up to 9X more draw calls per second than other APIs by reducing CPU overhead. AMD also announced that Battlefield 4 would be the first game title to be supporting Mantle when a patch comes out in December.
Gamers around the world were excited about the news and were hopeful that PC game titles would be ported over easier and not suck as bad. The AMD Mantle API would mean that games using it would be also optimizing for AMD hardware through low-level ‘metal’ GPU access. On paper it would appear that Mantle would allow game developers an easy way to co-develop for PC and next-gen consoles. The only problem is that Microsoft confirmed through a blog post yesterday that Mantle will not be used with the upcoming Xbox One game console. The Microsoft Xbox One uses an AMD Jaguar APU with Graphics Core Next, but Microsoft will be using the Direct3D 11.x API. Direct3D is part of Microsoft’s DirectX API and they are sticking with it.
“For over 15 years, Direct3D has served as an essential ingredient to deliver cutting-edge 3D graphics in games. 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 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.”
Is this the death blow to AMD’s Mantle? Microsoft said they will be sticking to Direct3D and Sony has made no indication that they’re moving away from PSGL. Sony game developers mostly use LibGCM or the PlayStation Graphics Library (PSGL) that is made up of OpenGL ES and NVIDIA’s CG for Sony’s PlayStation 3. We have reached out to AMD about this blog post and will let you know if they respond with a statement. (SEE THE RESPONSE)