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We asked Microsoft gaming czar Mike Ybarra about the future of DirectX and mobile gaming

Mark Hachman | March 2, 2016
Explicit multi-GPU gaming sounds even better than we thought.

Absolutely. I think what it starts with is what [we] call the UWP [Universal Windows Platform]. We’re going to start with our strengths—there are millions of [Windows] devices out there, but it’s not the hundreds of millions of devices that iOS has, and I don’t know how many Android has—but it’s a big number, right?

We can get UWPs on the PC and on the console—by definition the platform developers can very easily get it on the phone. And that’s kind of the vision: Don’t think about where you’re at, build your game, do a couple of tweaks and you’re going to see it run. Will you see Halo 18 run on this [phone]? No, so you gotta be smart about that. But we’ll invest in the mobile space as well. 

And frankly, with Xbox, I want to focus on the gamer. So when I think about bringing Xbox Live to other platforms, we have Xbox Live on iOS and Android right now. Those are areas we want—if our gamers have those devices, we want them to be able to engage with our gaming platform, too.

Speaking of Universal Windows Platforms, we also have the HoloLens. Theoretically, you should be able to write for the HoloLens, too, with just a single Universal app—it all sounds really easy. But is it really that simple?

There’s a lot of shared code. But I think that it’s going to be up to the game developer to say, “What am I really optimizing for?”

Developers will have to say ‘I’m on a PC, and my [user interface] looks something like this.” But if I’m on a mobile device, it’s different. The UI is different. We’re providing a base-level universal taxonomy for people, but some people will invest the engineering to make it really pop, such as Netflix for TVs, as opposed to Netflix.com.

There will have to be a little UI work. The goal is to have enough templates to minimize that work.

 

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