PCs aren't just a bit more powerful than PS3 and Xbox 360 - they're up to 10 times more powerful. So why aren't PC games 10 times their console equivalents? Because of Windows' meddling DirectX API (application programming interface), that's why.

"It's funny. We often have at least 10 times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it's very clear that the games don't look 10 times as good," scoffed AMD graphics card mouthpiece Richard Huddy to Bit-Tech.

"To a significant extent that's because, one way or another and for good reasons and bad - mostly good - DirectX is getting in the way."

Huddy added: "I certainly hear this ['make the API go away'] in my conversations with games developers."

DirectX is made by Microsoft. To run a game on Windows - the most popular PC operating system around - you need to use DirectX. In simple terms, it's DirectX that controls what your graphics card can do.

On console that's not the case: developers there can program "direct-to-metal", as Huddy calls it.

"By giving you access to the hardware at the very low level, you give games developers a chance to innovate, and that's going to put pressure on Microsoft – no doubt at all," Huddy went on to say.

"If we drop the API, then people really can render everything they can imagine, not what they can see – and we'll probably see more visual innovation in that kind of situation."

What sort of nut-case developer would want to program "direct-to-metal" on PC, you ask? Crysis maker Crytek; "Yes, that would appeal to us,' the developer said.

The Xbox 360 supports DirectX 9.0c. The PS3 doesn't use DirectX, what with it being a Microsoft technology. The most current version of DirectX is 11.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Jump to comments (74)

About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.