I don't really know much about DirectX other than it is responsible of having better graphic options for games, for example, tessellation and Ambient Occlusion in DX11.

But my question is, why some games (most recent games I've played at least), have the option of choosing DX9 (default) or DX 11 (with advanced options, and obviously with compatible video cards), but there is NO option for DX 10?

Is DX10 a version that never got released? was it defective? or what about it? why those games don't show an option to use DX 10 along DX 9 and 11?

Are there ANY games that show those 3 options? or do they just 'jump' from DX 9 directly to 11? why?


  • It's worth noting that relative deployed market share doesn't appear to be a factor. The most recent (NOV 2012) data from the Steam Hardware survey shows 53% DX11 systems, 32% DX10, and 13% DX9. store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey?platform=pc Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 22:09
  • @DanNeely Note that that is a Hardware survey that checks the DX version of the GPU and has little to do with the version of DX actually installed on the PC. For example, most gamers have multiple versions of DX installed on the same computer to play older games. And I think it's perfectly possible to install DX11 on a computer with a DX10 or DX9 GPU.
    – Nzall
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


This is because Windows XP only supports DirectX 9. DirectX10 was added with Vista, but Vista also got a backport of DirectX11 from Win7 (Platform Update), so Vista/Win7/8 can use DirectX 11 and Windows XP DirectX9. And because providing Dx10 rendering path makes no sense when you can use the better DiretX11, most games only offer those 2 modes.

  • Spot on!! And 11.1 is just an extension of 11 isn't it?
    – pratnala
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 6:41
  • yes, it only adds some minor features: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh404562.aspx. Some features were ported back to Windows 7: blogs.msdn.com/b/chuckw/archive/2012/11/14/… Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 6:43
  • 1
    the update only offers some features and not all: The KB 2670838 update adds the following support to Windows 7 Service Pack 1: ID3D11Device1, ID2D1Factory1, IDWriteFactory1, IDXGIFactory2, IWICImagingFactory2, ID3DUserDefinedAnnotation and related APIs are available Improved Direct3D 11 device interoperability via ID3DDeviceContextState, including the improved interop with Direct2D/DirectWrite D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_D3D9_OPTIONS feature detection In addition to the new Windows 8 WIC features, this update also fixes decoding of 96bpp floating-point TIFF images. All other features are W8 only Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 8:20
  • 3
    The only thing I'd like to add to this is that the Xbox360 is DX9; so if there's an xbox version of the game the DX9 port is basically free. Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 18:13
  • 1
    If I remember correctly, with DirectX 10 and later the display driver provides a list of supported functionality, and DirectX then chooses the rendering path most appropriate for your display device's capabilities. In essence, DirectX 11 would be backwards-compatible with DirectX 10.
    – user40437
    Commented Dec 21, 2012 at 18:32

Basically DX10 had a bad design, both in its API and how it would work.

I don't have the details, but DX10 was supposed to be a very big upgrade to the graphic toolchain, because DX9 was getting a little old, mainly because of new graphic cards hardware features, and it was not good enough, add to the fact Vista had its share of problems too. Many things might have piled up as new cards and features got released, so they just released DX11.

Graphic API are complex, because for top-notch graphics, you need to have a software which is adequate to the always changing hardware, which is massively parallel and so on. The quality of a game's graphics will depend on the game programmers, the direct X api guys, and also the nvidia engineers.

Just be thankful it works now !

  • 8
    This is not really accurate. DX10 has essentially the same design as DX11.
    – Groky
    Commented Dec 16, 2012 at 18:34

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