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Friday, August 12, 2022

Microsoft’s Game-Boosting DirectStorage to Land on Windows 10, Not Just Windows 11

Good news for PC gamers: A Microsoft feature that promises to load up games instantly is coming to both Windows 10 and Windows 11

The feature is called DirectStorage, and it’s designed to take advantage of a PC’s NVME SSD storage drive to accelerate the loading times. Last month, Microsoft originally announced DirectStorage was arriving exclusively to Windows 11. But on Friday, the company said the technology will also be enabled on Windows 10 version 1909.

“Microsoft is committed to ensuring that when game developers adopt a new API, they can reach as many gamers as possible,” the company wrote in a developer blog. “As such, games built against the DirectStorage SDK will be compatible with Windows 10, version 1909 and up.”

The feature is based on the game-loading technology found in the Xbox Series X. Citing out-of-date storage APIs, Microsoft created DirectStorage to fully leverage the high bandwidth found in NVME SSD drives, starting with PCIe Gen 3.0. The technology also promises to free up the CPU, which could lead to higher game frame rates. 

However, Microsoft says DirectStorage will run slower on Windows 10 than Windows 11 due to the operating system’s “legacy storage stacks.” And, “because Windows 11 was built with DirectStorage in mind, games running on Windows 11 benefit further from new storage stack optimizations,” the company explained. 

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It’ll be up to game developers to implement the DirectStorage API. To get the industry behind the effort, Microsoft on Friday also started releasing a developer preview of DirectStorage to select game makers. “Stay tuned as we’ll be gradually rolling out to an increasing number of developers,” Microsoft added. 

The company’s blog post doesn’t mention when DirectStorage will be enabled for Windows 10. But Windows 11 is slated to launch this holiday season.

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