This question isn't gamedev per se but it is definitely relevant. Still, if it's off-topic, please direct me to the proper SE page.

This question has probably already come up many times but I'd like to take a complete approach here and also up-to-date (whatever I may find online might be from 1/5/10 years ago and so isn't of much value to me).

So - is DirectX free for commercial use? What do I mean by that? Is it free to download DirectX SDK (or whatever it's called nowadays) and develop my game? Are there any fees involved in publishing and selling my game if it uses DirectX? And in the spirit of covering it all - using DirectX implies using Windows (which isn't free) and maybe Visual Studio? To that last one - is it absolutely necessary to use VS? Also, is it practical to use any other IDE? And are there any other (implied) costs like that "using Windows" one?


My friend sent me this EULA snippet saying that it's only free if I'm the only user of the software I develop so this must mean I have to pay for DX for commercial use.

SOFTWARE PRODUCT. You may install and use the SOFTWARE PRODUCT on an unlimited number of computers, including workstations, terminals or other digital electronic devices ("COMPUTERS") to design, develop, and test software application products for use with Microsoft operating system products including Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 95 and subsequent releases thereto ("Application"). You may install copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT on up to ten (10) COMPUTERS provided that you are the only individual using the SOFTWARE PRODUCT on each such COMPUTER.


1 Answer 1


It's definetly free, but it runs only on windows, which is not. Visual studio is optional, but it is the preferred editor by many developers, especially in professional game development studios. You will also find most samples for it as a Visual studio solution.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So to reiterate - I have to pay for Windows (for PCs on which I develop the game), if I use VS commercially I have to pay for it as well and finally I can create and sell (and otherwise earn money from) any number of any games using DX and it's 100% free (DX itself)? \$\endgroup\$
    – NPS
    Jul 13, 2015 at 12:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, there are no royalty fees for directx. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alan Wolfe
    Jul 13, 2015 at 15:57
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The DirectX APIs are part of the OS, so there's no fees to use them. Be sure to review the VS Community edition license terms if you don't have the budget to buy VS Pro+. Generally speaking, the per-unit royalties for PC games are driven entirely by the marketplace you are using to distribute (Windows Store, Steam, etc.) and whatever 3rd party middleware you may be using (FMod, WWise, Unreal Engine, Unity, etc.). \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2015 at 16:34

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