The best Windows 11 gaming feature is now enabled in Windows 10

DirectStorage is one of the three big new PC gaming features coming to Windows 11, but although it called it an operating system exclusive when announcing the next operating system, Microsoft has now confirmed that it will also be supported in Windows 10.

In Sarah Bond’s article on the new operating system being the “best Windows ever for gaming”, the vice president of Microsoft’s games company explicitly states that DirectStorage “will only be available with Windows 11 “. But a new post on the DirectX Developer Blog announced the availability of a Developer Preview of the DirectStorage API, and Hassan Uraizee explains that the SDK will be compatible with Windows 10 from version 1909.

“Microsoft is committed to ensuring that when game developers adopt a new API, they can reach as many gamers as possible,” Uraizee writes. “As such, games built with the DirectStorage SDK will be compatible with Windows 10, version 1909 and later, the same as the DirectX 12 Agility SDK.”

The promise of DirectStorage is to streamline the way game data is handled, by taking advantage of the modern storage hardware of our gaming PCs. By using NVMe SSDs, the DirectStorage API aims to reduce load times for games. games and supporting the huge open world games of our dreams, ensuring that texture and other data is broadcast to the world far beyond your vision rather than appearing in front of your face.

It plans to do this by largely bypassing the CPU and quickly loading resources into your graphics card, reducing CPU usage, and hopefully improving system performance along the way.

Uraizee breaks down the functionality of DirectStorage into these points:

  • The new DirectStorage API programming model which provides a DX12-style batch submit / complete call model, relieving applications of the need to individually manage thousands of I / O requests / notifications from completion per second.
  • GPU decompression providing super-fast resource decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview).
  • Storage Stack Optimizations: On Windows 11, this is an upgraded operating system storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from using more efficient legacy operating system storage stack

WD Black SN850 SSD on Windows 11 background

(Image credit: Microsoft, WD)

This is really exciting technology, which has been incorporated into the new Xbox Series X / S consoles, and we see no reason not to be reserved for those upgrading to Windows 11. After all, the new operating system has. start. life as an important feature update for Windows 10, so any barrier would seem purely arbitrary if applied.

But the wider compatibility should mean more gamers have access to the feature, but the larger user base should also encourage developers and publishers to ensure DirectStorage is considered for new and existing projects.

“This means that any game built on DirectStorage will benefit from the new programming model and GPU decompression technology on Windows 10, version 1909 and later,” he reiterates. “Plus, because Windows 11 was designed with DirectStorage in mind, games running Windows 11 benefit more from new storage stack optimizations.”

But developers will only need to implement the new feature once in-game, with the SDK itself controlling which aspects of DirectStorage are available to your system without you or the developer having to do anything. or so that it works correctly for their configuration.

Enabling DirectStorage in a game will also not prevent those who are still bound to hard drives from accessing a given title. “DirectStorage compatible games will still perform as well as they always did, even on PCs with older storage hardware (eg hard drives),” Uraizee concludes.

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