Windows 7 Gets DirectX 12 Support - [briefly]
06:01 PM EDT - Mar,13 2019 - post a comment
Now here is a pleasant surprise. Microsoft has announced
that it is bringing its latest API, DirectX 12, to Windows 7. Yeap, you read that right. Windows 7 now supports DX12 and the first game that can take advantage of it is World of Warcraft. Now while World of Warcraft can run via DX12 on Windows 7, Microsoft claims that the best DirectX 12 performance will always be on Windows 10, and that's because Windows 10 contains a number of OS optimizations designed to make DirectX 12 run even faster.
notes this all seems odd since under a year remains before Windows
7 hits its
. Also odd is that though gamers have been
clamoring for this for years, Microsoft says this move comes at this time
because they "make every effort to respond to customer feedback."
Today's announcement is a pretty big surprise on a number of levels. If Microsoft had wanted to back-port DX12 to Windows 7, you would have thought they'd have done it before Windows 7 entered its long-term servicing state. As it is, even free security patches for Windows 7 are set to end on January 14, 2020, which is well under a year away, and the company is actively trying to migrate users to Windows 10 to avoid having a huge swath of machines sitting in an unpatched state. In fact, they are about to add a pop-up notification to Windows 7 to let users know that they are running out of support very soon. So adding a big feature like DX12 now not only risks undermining their own efforts to migrate people away from Windows 7, but also adding a new feature well after Windows 7 entered long-term support. It's just bizarre.
Now before you get too excited, this is currently only enabled for World of Warcraft; and indeed it's not slated to be a general-purpose solution like DX12 on Win10. Instead, Microsoft has stated that they are working with a few other developers to bring their DX12 games/backends to Windows 7 as well. As a consumer it's great to see them supporting their product ten years after it launched, but with the entire OS being put out to pasture in nine months, it seems like an odd time to be dedicating resources to bringing it new features.
Microsoft does say that DX12 will offer more features on Windows 10, which makes sense since the graphics stack was designed for it right from the start, but if you do play World of Warcraft on Windows 7, you're going to get a free performance boost. You may still want to look into getting off of Windows 7 soon though, since this isn't going to move the January 2020 end-of-support date back for gamers.