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DirectX 12 Makes Windows 7 Debut With Latest World of Warcraft Patch

In what is likely to create a good deal of controversy along with a few cheers, Blizzard will be adding DirectX 12 support to World of Warcraft on Windows 7 thanks to a bit of effort from Microsoft. You might be wondering how that is possible? Well after seeing massive performance gains in WoW when Blizzard released their DirectX 12 update for Windows 10 in late 2018, resulted in the company wanting to bring those performance improvements to gamers still holding out on Windows 7. To facilitate this, they began talking with Microsoft who after getting a great deal of feedback from Blizzard decided to act on it. To achieve this Microsoft decided to port the user mode D3D12 runtime to Windows 7, which will unblock developers, thereby allows them to take advantage of the latest improvements that the DirectX 12 API offers while still giving full support to customers on older operating systems.

For now, World of Warcraft is the first game to run in DirectX 12 on Windows 7 with the latest 8.1.5 patch. However, they will not be the last as more developers are working on porting DirectX 12 games to Windows 7 with more announcements to follow. Microsoft, of course, has taken it upon themselves to remind everyone that the best possible performance with DirectX 12 will still be had on Windows 10 due to numerous OS optimizations. How true this is remains to be seen, but for many curmudgeons still holding out on Windows 7, this will likely be seen as a form of vindication for sticking with the now venerable OS.

Activision Blizzard Doubling Down on Diablo, Warcraft IPs Amidst Changing Market

The times have been rough for the Activision Blizzard juggernaut, as changing market conditions and lack of differentiated IP launches have led the company into a sort of stagnant position in the market - in both launches and revenue sources. The recent split from Destiny developer Bungie took out a bite from one of the company's additional streams of revenue amidst dwindling World of Warcraft subscriptions (after the usual spike post launch for Battle of Azeroth) and the lack of any new sources of income in the close future. This saw the company's stock valuation coming down, and was bookended by the recent layoff of some 8% total of the company's workforce (around 800 out of its 9,600 employees). Reports peg these as being mostly outside of the game development workforce, though, which could give traction to the report that the company is doubling down on IP-related development, instead of shying away from it - a sensible move, if you'll ask me.

Activision Blizzard COO Coddy Johnson reiterated Blizzard's fantastic IP reserves, and wants the company to achieve a higher cadence in content releases that follow the type of high-quality launches they achieve in their World of Warcraft expansions - but on other, more differentiated revenue sources. Johnson also reiterated more resources being put to work on the Diablo franchise, saying that "Diablo's development headcount will grow substantially", with "The teams are working on several projects for the franchise as well as the global launch of Diablo Immortal."
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