Should you be worried if DirectX 12 will be Windows 10 exclusive?

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 18, 2014
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft announced back in October 2014 that its upcoming operating system Windows 10 will ship with DirectX 12. Windows 10 is expected to be released in Fall 2015, three years after the release of Microsoft's current state of the art operating system Windows 8.

DirectX is widely used, not only on Windows but also on Microsoft Xbox gaming systems and even other devices such as Sega's Dreamcast console.

Most modern games require DirectX to run even though some support other APIs as well.

While Microsoft did confirm DirectX 12 for Windows 10, it never mentioned if the new version of DirectX would also be made available to previous versions of Windows.

AMD's Chief gaming scientist Richard Huddy mentioned in November that DirectX 12 would not come to Windows 7 and while it is likely that AMD received information about compatibility with earlier versions of Windows in the past, it has not been confirmed or denied by Microsoft yet.

If you have been gaming on Windows for a while you know that this would not be the first time for Microsoft to exclude older versions of the operating system from receiving updates.

When Windows Vista came along, DirectX 10 was a Vista exclusive. This meant that XP systems were stuck with DirectX 9.

How did this turn out for new features and technologies introduced in DirectX 10? Not well. While there were a handful of games that supported DirectX 10 and even some that required it, the majority of games did not and used DirectX 9 instead.

If Microsoft ships DirectX 12 with Windows 10 and does not provide access to some or even all of its new features to older systems, it is likely that history repeats itself.

While Windows XP is being faded out and likely less of a factor in late 2015 than it is today, Windows 7 will be the operating system that is installed on the majority of PCs.

Game companies and publishers would be foolish to release games that would not run on Windows 7. This means that there will be a fallback at the very least.

Considering that it is unclear how successful Windows 10 will be, it is likely that some companies won't invest money in optimizing games for DirectX 12 unless it is a multi-platform title that is also being released on the company's Xbox system or subsidized by Microsoft.

So, the majority of games will run on Windows 7 regardless of whether Windows 7 will receive the version 12 update or not.

If things go really wrong, it could end up like it did on Windows Vista were DirectX 10 never took off.

Now You: Do you think that Microsoft will make DirectX 12 available on older Windows versions?

Should you be worried if DirectX 12 will be Windows 10 exclusive?
Article Name
Should you be worried if DirectX 12 will be Windows 10 exclusive?
Microsoft announced DirectX 12 for Windows 10 in October 2014. The article discusses how exclusivity would impact previous Windows systems.
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  1. Testuser said on December 19, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Basically it is for many users. Many people seem to dislike the flat design, and in Windows 10 it’s more intensive. No official Aero (they have even removed taskbar transparency, any many people want Aero back!), same way like before to use horrible touchscreen interfaces on a desktop pc (!). Very likely it is for powerusers like me (think what you want :P) once again a surprising pain like Windows 8.1, with a huge list of strange originalities, like that we can’t have full control over the OS anymore, for example no official way to >completely< disable the store services on startup. Many incompatiblities with third party programs like Windows Firewall Control (SphinxSoft's one), or Sandboxie were a horrible experience as well. For example, many games or programs had slightly or medium-heavy misbehavior in Sandboxie in Windows 8.1 (micro lags, Bandicam isn't able to hook into Sandboxed games, etc). And I honestly doubt that this is going to be so much better with Windows 10. If Microsoft believes following their path of Windows 8 is better than 7, then they should. I'm not going to follow that, even with awesome new features like the planned improved VPN support (applicaction specific VPN). Windows 7 is so far the best (desktop) Windows OS for me, with almost non-existent troubles.

  2. kalmly said on December 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Well, I don’t give a rat’s ass about DX12, but I am sorry to see so many posters saying Win10 is only Win8.1.2. I had a small hope MS was going to make a small effort to “win” back it’s longtime users. Very disappointing. . . . sob.

    1. Doc said on December 21, 2014 at 7:11 am

      It makes little sense for Microsoft to have any real ties between Win 8.x and 10, since they’re trying desperately to shake any taint that Windows 8.x has as “the new Vista.”
      Having the same games run with similar performance and quality on WIn 8.x and 10 will make people think they’re “almost the same,” and also lose sales of Win 10 and WIn 10 upgrades.

    2. Bob Sireno said on December 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      I wouldn’t take any posters opinion on the quality of a future release as fact. Until the RTM version of Windows 10 is released we won’t know exactly what it will be made of. Of course Microsoft isn’t going to throw out all existing Windows code, but build on it instead. That’s how OS’s and program versions develop over time.

  3. Sleeping said on December 19, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Considering how much windows 8 and Windows 10 have in common it seems really crazy not to have DX12 at least on windows 8 (or 8.1, since the upgrade is free).

  4. Srap said on December 18, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Windows 7 did not get either DX11.1 or DX11.2 when Win8 and Win8.1 were released, so a DX12 (and DX11.3) is highly unlikely.

  5. jj said on December 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Absolute c**p. DirectX10/11 was Vista only because Microsoft introduced a new driver model for the new class of Kernel used by Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10.

    There is NO new driver model in Win10- FACT! Previously NT4.0/Win2000/XP were the same class of kernel, and despite tall-tales of XP-only functionality, so-called XP-exclusives could be easily made to run on the early OSes.

    Of course Microsoft always look for SUCKER-sales and pays tame tech sites to push the LIE of missing backwards compatibility. Then the naive user wastes time and money upgrading unnecessarily to the new OS, while the informed user enjoys all the same ‘benefits’ on Win7.

    AMD was indulging in wishful thinking when it LIED about DX12 not being on Win7. AMD’s incentive? AMD does NOT want to provide driver support for DX12 for hardware older than GCN- which is a big issue because even today AMD is selling APUs and mobiles based on these APUs that use what is known as VLIW4- the abortive GPU architecture that came before GCN. Buyers of such RECENT AMD hardware would obviously expect AMD to support it when Win10 arrives at the end of 2015. Disgustingly, AMD was looking forward to telling people that DX12 only ran on NEW kit sold with Win10 installed.

    Meanwhile, Nvidia has promised DX12 support for the TWO generations before their new Maxwell hardware. Win7 will support DX12- count on it (and so will Vista, with some tweaking).

    PS just because MS marketing has FORCED a fake ’10’ naming for the kernel of Win10 does NOT mean kernel ’10’ is a different class to Win7- it is the exact same class, and as a product is a re-skinned Win8.1

  6. Gonzo said on December 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    AMD has stated they only need to issue a driver update to support DX 12 on all GCN cards. Technically, this tells me it should be easy enough to port to Win 7.

    OpenGL plans to adopt much of Mantle and Steam is eagerly awaiting it. I think getting devs on DX 12 as early as possible is most important. Things have changed a lot since 2006.

  7. meh-man said on December 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    The more I use the betas of 10 the more I realise that unless MS takes a major change of direction with a few things Windows 10 is going to be a mildly more popluar version of windows 8.1.

    Because of this they are going to try every tactic they can to get as many people to switch as possible because they are still not actually giving a lot of people what they actually miss from windows 7 and lower. Because most people are dead set on the bad->good cycle Windows 10 no matter how blah it is will still probably sell pretty well. Much better than Vista or 8 did, even if it winds up being worse than 8.1 overall.

    Pretty much I think it’ll be exclusive, but we will see many more D12 titles than we did D10.
    One of the biggiest factors to this IMO is that the majority of modern gamers are trendy people. Eg: if Windows 10 doesn’t get bad stigma the majoryity of them will updated to it and say it’s the best thing ever, even if it’s not. Windows 7 will keep a big market share, but relastically it’s not going to be the group of people who buy full or even 70% of games.

  8. EuroScept1C said on December 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    i’m pretty sure DX12 will be Win10 exclusive. Since Win10 has everything evey kind of user wants, they will take advantage of that -understandably. It’s time everyone to jump on one version of Windows.

    1. sol666 said on September 26, 2015 at 1:04 am

      unlikely. People with newer system may take advantage of windows 10 without a second thought but those who have played around with 8.1 and learned of it’s behavior will be very cautious about switching to win 10 mainly because microsoft may have made it a bit too connected to microsoft servers then 8.1. Personally I would prefer to keep my OS usage private and prefer to connect to microsoft servers only when I have a problem. It is not paranoia, when microsoft is forcing windows 10 on users by holding DX12 API hostage even to the extent of giving it away for “free”. I would hate to see PC reduced to another console like XBONE or PS4 where users don’t even have enough access to the game files to give feed back on problems developers overlooked or even hoped no one would figure out. Batman Arkham knight for example, no console user even cried out against the 30fps lock, it was vigilant PC users who made the developers apologize for the deceit.

    2. macleod said on June 25, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      no thanks. i like my desktop as a desktop, not a silly app gimmic i dont use or want

    3. an said on December 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Well I for one want a nice looking not barebone OS, and Win 8, 8.1 & 10 are not in that list.
      Sorry but I find it just ugly.
      Tha about the start menu well that would probably change in W10, but they’ll try to mess up the control panel, again ! making things again harder to find.
      One of the good features of windows instead of noob OSX (you have one for the experts too) was that it was easily customized to your own wishes, but with the arrival of W8 that all changed and Windows went the way of OSX.

      So no W10 is definitely not what everybody wants. it needs only 1 person not to want it and your statement is not true, and I’m already number three.

      Further on topic, I’m afraid MSFT will never learn to listen to people who do not agree with them. They only listen to those who already worshipping their newest creation.
      so DX12 will probably be again W10 maybe W8 exclusive and will definitely not come to Win7 stating that the driver architecture is so much different they would have to write 2 versions of DX12.

    4. guy2 said on December 19, 2014 at 10:29 am

      >Since Win10 has everything evey kind of user wants

      LOL, how you knew that ‘every’ person that uses M$ operating system, have everything they want in the latest win 10?

    5. Flyer said on December 19, 2014 at 1:06 am

      [QUOTE]It’s time everyone to jump on one version of Windows.[/QUOTE]

      Why? Any REAL reason for the everyday user?
      It is obvious M$ tries to make better sales of every new version what means every preassure like a new software works only with the newest system is more then possible.
      But frankly speaking, there is no real sense to spend a money for 8 or now for 10 for the user who browses the net, uses office applications, watches movies and other typical activities.
      For such user (I guees it is the majority) the new system needs more processing power, more HD space and works just slower. What’s more, some older apps can’t work.
      So personaly I don’t want to bother this new sytem or DirectX issues.
      Years ago I have always wanted to have everything newest but now I think it is just the waste of time to install system and programs, configure, learn new features and be happy to find, something works almost as good as in the previous system :D (like the Start menu for example).
      I have better ideas how to spend the time then this neverending fight with installing newer and newer.
      Just my two cents.

  9. BKV said on December 18, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    The Dreamcast was the first X-Box to me.
    Especially with the S-Type controller that was released after other people didn’t like The Duke controller.
    I really don’t care whether MS offer DirectX 12 on other systems.

    The customers will decide.

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