The API field is far less diverse than it was in the days of yore, however, and the pace of DirectX development seems to have slowed dramatically at Microsoft. Pair that with the fact that Mantle will already be a known entity with developers coding for the Xbox One and PS4, and the API's strong-sounding performance benefits, and developers could be increasingly motivated to muddle with Mantle as the AMD user base grows along with the next-gen consoles.
Potential abounds, but so do questions: How will Mantle's claimed performance stack up in the real world? Will it be enough to convince developers to use Mantle even though they'd still need to do a proper DirectX port to satisfy Nvidia gamers? What happens as consoles grow long in the tooth and PC graphics grow ever more powerful and feature-rich? Do we need splintered, proprietary graphics technologies, even if individual solutions are more powerful?
We'll know more in a couple of months. AMD says it will delve into Mantle in far greater detail at its 2013 Developer Summit in November. One thing's for certain: Between Mantle and SteamOS, it's an exciting time to be a PC gamer.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.