While initially dismissed by other factions within Microsoft, DirectX turned out to be a smashing success:
Mr. Engstrom, who died Dec. 1 at the age of 55, and his pals formed one of several factions within Microsoft trying to solve the game problem. Openly contemptuous of colleagues who didn’t share their ideas, they were so obnoxious that Brad Silverberg, who ran the Windows business, dubbed them the Beastie Boys. He had to fend off frequent demands for their dismissal.Interestingly, WSJ reports Engstrom didn't even like video games:
Yet the solution they developed, DirectX, beat anything else on offer inside Microsoft. DirectX software recognized games and allowed them direct access to the computer’s graphical capabilities, allowing a richer game experience than DOS could.
“I don’t like games, so I had no idea games were huge,” he said later. The trio dubbed their work on DirectX “the Manhattan Project,” a nod to what they saw as its importance and top-secret nature.