DirectX 12, the next version of Microsoft’s gaming / graphics programming interface, was revealed on Thursday during the annual Game Developers Conference. Unlike previous iterations that have required new hardware, DX12 will run on existing computers, smartphones and even the Xbox One.

AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm – four of the world’s largest chipmakers – have already come forward and said the new APIs would run on their current crop of chips. What we don’t yet know, however, is whether or not DX12 will work on Windows 7. If not, that could drive more people to upgrade to Windows 8 or perhaps even the next major Microsoft OS depending on when that arrives.

The new APIs will no doubt deliver enhanced performance but just how big of an improvement we can expect is yet another unknown. As The Verge recalls, Microsoft showed those in attendance how the APIs could cut the time that a single CPU core spends on a task in half simply by offloading said task to the GPU.

What’s more, the Redmond-based company also claims it can reduce the power consumption of GPUs found in smartphones – a move that would result in improved battery life and not-as-hot devices.

In speaking to Microsoft’s Anuj Gosalia about the announcement, however, the publication learned that DX12 might not have a huge impact on Xbox One titles. The system, along with the PlayStation 4, have a tough time running top-tier games at max resolution and DX12 won’t necessarily improve that nor will it offer any new graphical effects.

Microsoft said a preview will be available later this year although the first DX12-based games won’t ship until the 2015 holiday season.