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  • Post published:21/07/2021
  • Post last modified:21/07/2021

DirectStorage is one of the gaming innovations in Xbox Series X|S that Microsoft will bring to Windows 11. But it looks like Windows 10 will get some love, too.

My, what a tortured path this has been.

Microsoft introduced DirectStorage as part of its Xbox Velocity Architecture in the Xbox Series X|S in late 2020. What it boils down to is that the new consoles have super-fast SSD storage that is specifically designed for consistent, sustained performance.

In September 2020, Microsoft said that it would bring DirectStorage to Windows 10 PCs that were equipped with specially-designed NVMe-based SSD drives, and that on compatible systems, games would be more detailed and expansive than before. But when Microsoft announced Windows 11, it appeared that DirectStorage would be unique to that new platform instead.

Now, Microsoft has explained that it will provide DirectStorage on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. But it will be better on Windows 11.

“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’s Hassan Uraizee writes. “On Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack, [but] on Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage.”

In other words, DirectStorage will work with both Windows 10 and Windows 11, but Windows 11 gamers will “benefit further from new storage stack optimizations.” And the story hasn’t changed for PCs that don’t meet DirectStorage’s hardware requirements: On such PCs, DirectStorage-enabled games will still run as well as they always have, Microsoft says.

Since Windows 10 and 11 are literally the same operating system and will be serviced identically, this delineation of DirectStorage capabilities is, of course, arbitrary and silly. And while I understand Microsoft trying to push its user base to the new platform, this kind of move is divisive and will lead to some hard feelings from those that wish—or have to—stick with Windows 10.

Tagged with DirectStorage

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