DX11.1 not exclusive to Windows 8 after all, Microsoft adds DX11.1 features to Windows 7

Good news for Windows 7 users, as it seems that Microsoft has – somewhat – backed off and will add various DX11.1 features to your beloved OS. According to a post on the ‘Games for Windows and the DirectX SDK’ blog, Microsoft brings – via the Platform Update for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (KB 2670838) that is included with the Internet Explorer 10 Release Preview for Windows 7 – some DX11.1 features.
As the blog suggests, the following features are coming to Windows 7 users:
-ID3D11Device1, ID2D1Factory1, IDWriteFactory1, IDXGIFactory2, IWICImagingFactory2, ID3DUserDefinedAnnotation and related APIs are available
-Improved Direct3D 11 device interoperability via ID3DDeviceContextState, including the improved interop with Direct2D/DirectWrite
-D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_D3D9_OPTIONS feature detection
-In addition to the new Windows 8 WIC features, this update also fixes decoding of 96bpp floating-point TIFF images.
The following features will be exclusive to Windows 8 for the time being:
-Feature Level 11.1 hardware
-All D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_D3D11_OPTIONS features for Feature Level 10.x/11.0 devices
-Tile-based Deferred Renderer optimizations (D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_ARCHITECTURE_INFO)
-HLSL minimum precision shader optimizations (D3D11_FEATURE_SHADER_MIN_PRECISION_SUPPORT)
-DXGI 1.2 features for Stereo, Occlusion status notifications, Desktop Duplication, and NT Handle shared resources
-Windows Store app ICoreWindow features of DXGI 1.2
-WARP support for Feature Levels 11.0 and 11.1
-Direct3D hardware support in Session 0
-The DirectComposition API
The situation seems a bit awkward, as it appears that some features (like the minimum precision shader optimizations) would be great if ported to Windows 7. The reason for not porting them – according to various reports – is due to the absence of WDDM1.2 on Windows 7, and from what we know so far, MS is not planning to release WDDM1.2 on its older OS.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see whether those features will remain exclusive to Windows 8 and, if so, whether DX11.1 games will run fine on Windows 7 with this partial DX11.1 support.
Special thanks to our reader Sid Spyker for spotting it!