Microsoft has confirmed that graphics software DirectX 11.1 is a Windows 8 exclusive, and "at this point there is no plan" to make it available for Windows 7. This is a departure from Microsoft's past stance — DirectX 11 was built for Windows 7 and retrofitted for Vista, but DirectX 11.1 will only work on Windows 8. The newest and most graphically demanding games are traditionally built using the latest version of DirectX, and as a result, PC gamers may get stuck between a rock and a hard place. While Microsoft has decided not to support the latest graphics software for older operating systems, game developers like Valve have expressed resistance to Windows 8. Microsoft employee Daniel Moth says he is "still crossing [his] fingers" that the company will reverse its position, but he has less hope than he did several months ago.
Update: It appears Microsoft won't be going hands-off with DirectX on Windows 7 altogether; according to a recent Microsoft blog post, some elements of the DirectX 11.1 runtime are included in a recent update to the operating system.