Microsoft Brings DirectX 12 to Windows 7 … For Some Reason

Posted on March 13, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Windows, Windows 10 with 15 Comments

Windows 7 is heading off into the support sunset soon. So why on earth would Microsoft suddenly add support for DirectX 12?

It’s not entirely clear. But a new post to the DirectX Developers Blog notes that game developer Blizzard asked Microsoft to let it use DirectX 12—which was previously limited to just Windows 10—in Windows 7.

“At Microsoft, we make every effort to respond to customer feedback, so when we received this feedback from Blizzard and other developers, we decided to act on it,” the post explains. “Microsoft is pleased to announce that we have ported the user mode D3D12 runtime to Windows 7. This unblocks developers who want to take full advantage of the latest improvements in D3D12 while still supporting customers on older operating systems.”

And with that, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth has become the first game to utilize DirectX 12 on Windows 7. Microsoft says that this change will result in higher frame rates, though it’s even better on Windows 10. Because of course it is.

“Windows 10 has critical OS improvements which make modern low-level graphics APIs (including DirectX 12) run more efficiently,” Microsoft claims. “If you enjoy your favorite games running with DirectX 12 on Windows 7, you should check how those games run even better on Windows 10.”

Aside from the general “why” on the timing, the other big question is whether this is a one-off deal. Will Microsoft allow other games to use DirectX 12 on Windows 7?

“We are currently working with a few other game developers to port their D3D12 games to Windows 7,” the post notes. “Please watch out for further announcement.”

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