Microsoft has insisted that gaming is vital to the success of Windows 7, with the company insisting that the support for DirectX 11 and the continued popularity of the PC with gamers gives it a 'strategic advantage' over rival Apple.

Microsoft's Windows has long been the platform of choice for PC gamers and this gives the Redmond software giant a clear advantage over rivals Apple with OS X and, next year, Google with Chrome OS.

One of the key arrivals with Windows 7 in October will be the support for DirectX 11 – the application programming interface that will power the next generation of PC games.

Showcase for Win 7

"DirectX 11 is fantastic," Microsoft's Leila Martine told TechRadar. "I met with Nvidia this week and we're taking a look at some of the demos they have, what the gaming line-up is for Christmas and what we can showcase. That's because it is an important component of Windows 7.

"Consoles are more important than they were five years ago but PCs are always going to be an important component – people enjoy PC gaming because it's more flexible, a huge amount of games are developed for PC platform before they are for consoles.

"It is absolutely important and a strategic advantage for us over, for instance, Apple.

"So should we be focused on involving and putting on features such as DirectX 11? Absolutely we should."

Powerful force

Although consoles are now gaining a huge amount of press, the PC remains a powerful force in gaming – with MMOs like World of Warcraft picking up massive audiences.

Software giants like Valve still insist that they are focused very much on PC gaming as the cutting edge, and Microsoft insists that it does as well.

DirectX 11 should help gamers take full advantage of the multiple cores now increasingly common in CPUs and GPUs, bringing the likes of tessellation and multi-threaded rendering.