Microsoft is bringing Windows 11's game-enhancing DirectStorage feature to Windows 10

Microsoft headquarters

Microsoft has eliminated one of the reasons for people to upgrade to Windows 11 later in the year. The company has revealed that DirectStorage -- the storage technology behind Xbox’s Velocity Architecture -- will also be available in Windows 10.

The launch of Windows 11 has already been mired in poor communication in relation to hardware requirements, and it's not clear if the apparent change of heart with DirectStorage in Windows 10 is down to continued weak messaging, or if the company has performed a U-turn based on feedback from disgruntled gamers. Either way, anyone choosing to stick with Windows 10 will benefit from DirectStorage, although it will be a lesser experience than in Windows 11.

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Anyone who does choose to make the jump to Windows 11, however, will get a better DirectStorage experience. An older storage stack implementation will be used in Windows 10, meaning that Windows 11 users will enjoy a better gaming experience.  

In a blog post about DirectStorage, the company explains: "Microsoft is committed to ensuring that when game developers adopt a new API, they can reach as many gamers as possible. As such, games built against the DirectStorage SDK will be compatible with Windows 10, version 1909 and up; the same as the DirectX 12 Agility SDK". 

Microsoft goes on to break down the features of DirectStorage: 

  • 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  

Program manager Hassan Uraizee continues:

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 up. Additionally, because Windows 11 was built with DirectStorage in mind, games running on Windows 11 benefit further from new storage stack optimizations.

It remains to be seem just how noticeable a difference there will be in performance between games under Windows 10 and those under Windows 11.

Image credit: JeanLucIchard / Shutterstock

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