is already busy working on an updated version of DirectX 10 and oddly enough it's called DirectX 10.1. This version will add a new sound system that's so far goes under the name of XAudio 2.
XAudio 2 is using the same technlogy as the Xbox 360 and it makes sense for Microsoft to use the same system on the PC, as it leads to easier game development on both platforms, since the audio part should be more or less identical.
It should also bring better standard audio to PC gaming with a 5.1-channel audio spatialiser built in and with much better multi-channel audio than what DirectSound had on offer. There's also support for mutli-core CPUs as to be able to take the strain of the audio processing off the main CPU that would be stressed enough with the other aspects of running a game.
The question is, should Creative be worried about its Alchemy project now? Or will it carry on and see itself overtaken by other sound card manufacturers that supports XAudio2? Time will tell, but it's unlikely that Creative will give up the fight any time soon.
DX 10.1 will also have some updates to the graphics subsystem, such as moving to Shader Model 4.1.
You can download the SDK here
, but you need Windows Vista SP1 Beta to be able to run it, so unless you've got some good connections at Microsoft, you won't be able to have a play with it.