Microsoft has released a first developer preview of its next-gen DirectStorage Xbox API for Windows. The new API will improve loading times in video games on Windows 11 PCs with NVMe SSDs, but the DirectX team has now clarified that the API will also support games running on Windows 10 versions 1909 and newer (via Ars Technica)
DirectStorage made its debut on Microsoft’s Xbox Series X|S consoles last year, and it will be one of the first next-gen Xbox features to make the jump to Windows 11 alongside AutoHDR. Microsoft explained last month that DirectStorage will require a high-performance NVMe SSD with proper drivers, and we should eventually see “DirectStorage Optimized” Windows 11 PCs come to market with the right hardware and drivers.
For Windows 10 users, the good news is that DirectStorage enabled games will also be compatible with Windows 10 version 1909 and newer. However, the DirectStorage API will only be able to reach its full potential on Windows 11 thanks to an upgrade OS storage stack.
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. The API runtime implementation and the GPU decompression technology is delivered via the DirectStorage SDK, and ships with your game. As a game developer, you need only implement DirectStorage once into your engine, and all the applicable benefits will be automatically applied and scaled appropriately for gamers.
Over the coming months, the DirectX team will be working with game studios to bring DirectStorage enabled gaming experiences on Windows 11 and Windows 10, and a future preview of the new API will also bring support for GPU decompression for load times and streaming scenarios. It’s great to see some Xbox/PC synergies at Microsoft, and you can get an in-depth look at Microsoft’s DirectStorage API in this previous video from the Game Stack Live event.