Thanks to a request from Blizzard, World of Warcraft players still using Windows 7 can now benefit from the features in Microsoft’s DirectX 12.
Until today, only WoW players using Windows 10 could benefit from the latest version of DirectX, which allows players access to features like multi-threading and improved framerate.
Blizzard wasn’t the only company to request the ability to use DirectX 12 in games still being played on Windows 7. However, it seems like the company is one of the very few that actually got Microsoft’s attention on the matter. Consequently, as of this week, the user mode D3D12 runtime is now available on the older operating system for any developers that wish to use it.
Microsoft does note that those looking for the best performance out of DirectX 12 will still need to be on Windows 10, but this increases the options for developers and players.
According to Steam, an estimated 25% of gamers using platform have yet to upgrade to Windows 10. While this isn’t a conclusive survey of the PC playerbase, it’s safe to assume that a majority of World of Warcraft players also use Valve’s platform.
Since it has been about four years since DirectX 12 was first made available on Windows 10, it’s worth noting that had a large company like Activision Blizzard not stepped forward and requested Microsoft add some of its functionality to Windows 7, it may not have happened at all.
In the past, Microsoft has seemed content with the way things were, and it’s doubtful smaller companies, even a lot of them, would have gotten the same attention.
Windows 7 released in 2009 and quickly became one of Microsoft’s most popular operating systems. After the poorly-received Windows 8 launched in 2012, many systems continued to run on Windows 7 because of its ubiquity and ease of use.
Windows 10 launched in 2015 and currently runs on an estimated 32% of all traditional PCs. In comparison, as of February of this year, it is estimated that Windows 7 still runs on an estimated 33% of computers.