Intel abandons native support for DirectX 9 games in favour of emulation
Intel is eliminating native DirectX 9 (DX9) support from its new Arc graphics cards and Xe integrated graphics on 12th Generation CPUs, with support now coming through emulation due to DirectX 12.
In essence, while modern Intel GPUs will lack dedicated drivers for older DX9-only games like Unreal Tournament, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Team Fortress 2, you should still be able to play them on this newer hardware, and the new reliance on D9D9On12 mapping layers shouldn’t have a noticeable negative impact on gameplay.
That’s not to suggest problems won’t arise, but Microsoft is now responsible for DirectX 9 optimizations and accompanying flaws. That implies that if game makers encounter graphical issues or Microsoft’s mapping layer fails to function properly, they’ll have to deal with Microsoft directly rather than Intel.
Intel also emphasizes that this isn’t always negative news. There are relatively few games that still use DX9 exclusively, as opposed to having DX9 compatibility with more contemporary APIs, which Intel will continue to support. It’s also improbable that any new games will be produced utilizing DirectX 9, not to mention that the quality of in-game visuals has improved dramatically in the 20 years since DX9 was introduced. The only reason support has likely lasted this long is because so much outdated PC gaming hardware is still in use today, as Nvidia’s GTX 1060 is still the most popular GPU on Valve’s Steam survey six years after its initial release.