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'DirectX' is a suite of multimedia handling and display technology, developed and maintained by Microsoft Corporation, which operates in Windows-based systems. Its primary purpose is to provide a single set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that developers can use to gain access to the many hardware capabilities of a system. It has a particular emphasis on providing functions for video game programming and video rendering.

DirectX's core function is to serve as a middleman between the computer's hardware especially the graphic cards and gaming software. Its APIs allow developers to write programs without needing to know the specific details of each piece of hardware. DirectX ensures that the hardware and software are compatible and can communicate with each other efficiently. This gives developers much-needed freedom in creating applications and games, bypassing the need to write code for each specific hardware. DirectX in essence, takes charge of the hardware’s abilities and ensures they are maximized, providing the end-user with a smooth and immersive gaming or multimedia experience.

The introduction of DirectX was a game-changer in multimedia programming. Before the introduction of DirectX, game programmers had to customize their applications to work with each hardware configuration. Each video card company had different capabilities and features, making it difficult to develop applications that could work with every variation. With DirectX, developers can create more elite, detailed and realistic graphics and game effects. Furthermore, DirectX supports input from different devices such as keyboards, mice, and game controllers, interacting in a more immersive and interactive gaming experience.

DirectX is not a standalone program that can be directly utilized by end-users, but rather it operates in the background of Windows OS, managing tasks that require high-level multimedia. It comes built-in with the Windows operating system and gets updated regularly via Windows updates. If a newer version of DirectX is required for a certain program or game, the installer will usually be bundled with the game or program.

In conclusion, DirectX has greatly simplified the way programmers develop video games, creating a standardized and efficient method of utilizing hardware capabilities. As a result, the gaming industry has seen a significant enhancement in terms of graphics and sound quality, realism, and performance speed.