Microsoft DirectX 12 and Windows 7 Support
By Olin Coles
At the 2014 Game Developers Conference (GDC14) this morning Microsoft revealed DirectX 12, built upon Direct3D 12. For those who ride the cutting edge of game development, the latest features announced in Direct3D 12 are strikingly similar to those already present from one of their partners: AMD’s Mandle API. Benchmark Reviews will deliver a preview of DirectX 12 features and improvements in a separate DX12 article, and focus on one very important question in this piece: will DirectX 12 support the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system?
For those who can remember back to October 2009, when Microsoft launched Windows 7 it brought with it the DirectX 11 graphics API. Previously, the Windows Vista OS carried support for DirectX 10 and was later updated to include DirectX 11. However, with Windows 8.1 being to current release of Microsoft’s desktop OS, there are questions swirling about regarding DirectX 12 and the future support for their still-popular (and predominant) Windows 7 OS.
After Microsoft’s announcement this morning, a short question and answer period followed. Some questions, such as will DirectX 12, a just-announced and prototype API that’s still a year away, be supported on Microsoft’s soon-to-be-retired Windows XP operating system, were a foolish waste of everybody’s time. The follow-up question by a more informed attendee was much more relevant: will DirectX 12 be supported on Windows 7? The answer lacked any hint of positivity, making even a dismissive parent’s “maybe” seem very promising.
Explaining that Windows 7 support will be addressed at an appropriate time in the future is either avoidance marketing speak for “not supported”, or it’s a crafty attempt to build suspense that Microsoft later exploits to show how benevolent they are when support is confirmed. My money is on Windows 8 support by way of timed update, and native support in Microsoft Windows 9. As for the masses who still play games with Windows 7, if you want DirectX 12 support you had better start making a lot of noise right now or get ready for an OS upgrade.