Since the introduction of more standardized programmatic APIs in Windows 95, Microsoft has been pushing for ever greater developments that would make the lives of programmers easier. The Washington-based tech giant introduced DirectX in September 1995 as the Windows Games SDK. Since then, various iterations of the API have been a staple in the lives of multimedia fiends and gamers for the last nearly 25 years.
And on the eve of that 25th anniversary, gamers on older OS setups are getting a treat. Microsoft has announced that the company plans to bring DirectX12 support to Windows 7 in 2019. The announcement also revealed that the first game on the aging OS to support DirectX 12 is one of the most popular games ever made, World of Warcraft.
Microsoft has promised to bring more games into the fold with DirectX 12, but no more details have been revealed at this time.
With the inclusion of the new API, it will allow game creators to leverage more streamlined code libraries and other integrations to allow their games to run just that much better. Updates to DirectX will also improve compatibility with some hardware configurations in certain cases. Things like more realistic facial animations and particle effects can be achieved with less overhead, resulting in better performance, if you’re using the updated API.
The decision to backport the DirectX 12 suite to Windows 7 is understandable once you look at the numbers. According to the Steam Hardware Survey, almost 65% of users are using Windows 10 64-bit as an OS, with a similar percentage using DX 12 and Windows 10 at around 63%. And with 27% using DX12 and an OS other than Windows 10, we can assume that’s mostly Windows 7 users. Windows 8.1 only accounts for around 3% of users, although that’s probably due to the massive blowback from the Metro UI that shipped with that OS.
So the idea here seem to be reaching out to those still clinging to Windows 7 and teasing them into upgrading to a more modern OS by using upgraded graphical performance as the cheese at the end of the maze.
Windows 10 has critical OS improvements which make modern low-level graphics APIs (including DirectX 12) run more efficiently. 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!
It’s an appealing strategy too, as the impending end of extended support for Windows 7 is only months away. Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015, and extended support will end on January 14, 2020. After that date, security patches as part of normal releases will end, so users on older operating systems will be left vulnerable to new exploits and malware.
So what do you think about this news? Let us know in the comments.