One of the most exciting bits about Windows 11 is Microsoft’s putting all their chips in the gaming side of the table – especially with features like the DirectStorage API. In simple terms, the DirectStorageAPI enables games to load data faster – essentially cutting down on load times by a decent margin.
DirectStorage API lets players take advantage of modern storage hardware such as NVMe SSDs, thus, making Windows 11 a true gamer’s OS. While all of that is pretty neat, it seems like the feature won’t be exclusive to Microsoft’s newest OS.
According to a DirectX Developer Blog, DirectStorage API will also be compatible with Windows 10, version 1909 and up; the same as DirectX Agility SDK.
DirectStorage API coming to Windows 10 as well – what does this mean?
Windows 11 preview builds are already up and several users have gotten to play around with it and see it how all works out. DirectStorage API was one of 3 highly-advertised gaming-related features, the other two being the Xbox Game Pass integration and the Auto-HDR.
Out of the three, the DirectStorage API garnered the most hype – as it essentially delivered what gamers always seek – decreased load times. As the age old adage goes, “loading times are the enemy of fun”.
The post breaks down the DirectStorage features into these aspects:
- The new DirectStorage API programming model that provides a DX12-style batched submission/completion calling pattern, relieving apps from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second
- GPU decompression providing super-fast asset decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview)
- Storage stack optimizations: On Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack.
While to some, this might devalue Windows 11 and make it less appealing to upgrade, perhaps it is a positive move on Microsoft’s part to allow new tech to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Even with DirectStorage API being compatible with Windows 10, the blog post details that games running on 11 will benefit further from new storage stack optimizations.