Developers on the DirectX beta have received the next generation of Microsoft's set of new multimedia application programming interfaces (APIs) known as DirectX 6.0. This new version of DirectX provides significant enhancements to existing APIs, optimizing hardware performance and delivering unparalleled multimedia functionality on Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0 (note that Windows NT 4.0 owners are going to be stuck in DirectX 3.0 hell forever). Microsoft expects to release the final version of DirectX 6.0 this July.

New features in DirectX 6.0 speed development by delivering greater stability, reliability and consistency across all APIs, enabling increased innovation in 3-D hardware and software. In addition, Microsoft's development agreements with leading chip manufacturers and other hardware developers bring DirectX 6.0-based applications compatibility across multiple hardware platforms.

"Today's multimedia developers are under tremendous pressure to both innovate and shrink development cycles, and we're committed to helping them reach those goals," said Kevin Bachus, product manager of DirectX at Microsoft. "With DirectX 6.0 we're pleased to deliver the features developers have told us they need, and in time to see the improved results in the upcoming holiday season.