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Windows 7 Gets (Some) DirectX 12 Support

The DirectX Developer Blog announces that Microsoft has ported the user mode D3D12 runtime to Windows 7, saying this "unblocks developers who want to take full advantage of the latest improvements in D3D12 while still supporting customers on older operating systems." This is specifically to support World of Warcraft to start with, but the post includes a FAQ saying, "We are currently working with a few other game developers to port their D3D12 games to Windows 7. Please watch out for further announcement." AnandTech notes this all seems odd since under a year remains before Windows 7 hits its end-of-support date. 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." Here's word:

Blizzard added DirectX 12 support for their award-winning World of Warcraft game on Windows 10 in late 2018. This release received a warm welcome from gamers: thanks to DirectX 12 features such as multi-threading, WoW gamers experienced substantial framerate improvement. After seeing such performance wins for their gamers running DirectX 12 on Windows 10, Blizzard wanted to bring wins to their gamers who remain on Windows 7, where DirectX 12 was not available.

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. 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.

Today, with game patch 8.1.5 for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard becomes the first game developer to use DirectX 12 for Windows 7! Now, Windows 7 WoW gamers can run the game using DirectX 12 and enjoy a framerate boost, though the best DirectX 12 performance will always be on Windows 10, since Windows 10 contains a number of OS optimizations designed to make DirectX 12 run even faster.

Wed like to thank the development community for their feedback. Were so excited that we have been able to partner with our friends in the game development community to bring the benefits of DirectX 12 to all their customers. Please keep the feedback coming!

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