Windows 7 gets DirectX 12 support starting with World of Warcraft

Even as Windows 7 is gearing up to lose official support from Microsoft in January, the company is adding a new feature to lend a hand to game developers. In a post on the DirectX blog this week, Microsoft revealed that it is bringing DirectX 12 to Windows 7, with initial support for World of Warcraft (via The Verge).

World of Warcraft added support for DirectX 12 in 2018, and it's resulted in a "substantial framerate improvement" for players, according to Microsoft. The improvements were large enough for Blizzard, the developer behind World of Warcraft, to reach out to Microsoft requesting support for DirectX 12 to be added for its players on Windows 7. From Microsoft:

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.

As of World of Warcraft's latest patch, version 8.1.5, Windows 7 users can now run the game using DirectX 12. Of course, Microsoft points out that Windows 10 packs more improvements to make DirectX 12 run games even better, encouraging gamers to upgrade. "Windows 10 has critical OS improvements which make modern low-level graphics APIs (including DirectX 12) run more efficiently," the company says.

For right now, World of Warcraft is the only game with support for DirectX 12 on Windows 7. However, Microsoft says it is "working with a few other game developers to port their D3D12 games to Windows 7." As a result, we should see more announcements in the coming months surrounding DirectX 12 on Windows 7.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl