Windows NT 5.0, which enters beta this week, will feature the next version of DirectX, which will be called DirectX 98, not Direct X 6.0. Shortly after the final release of NT 5.0 (expected next summer), a DirectX 98 "enhancement pack" will be made available for Windows 98 users. The initial beta of NT 5.0 won't include DirectX 98, but it will, for the first time, include hardware-accelerated Direct3D. A second beta of NT 5, expected in January or February, will include the first beta release of DirectX 98. In DirectX 98, Direct3D will be improved dramatically, with advanced software rasterization, compressed textures support, multi-texture effects, DMA optimizations, and improved polygon throughput. DirectX 98 will also support 3D glasses and light guns.

Further down the road, DirectX 99 will include support for higher precision rendering, range-based fog effects, and hardware-based shadow effects. Also expected are support for productivity application features such as printer support, and 3D environment mapping