Microsoft’s DirectStorage will speed up game loads on Windows 10 and 11

“Windows games can ship with DirectStorage” starting today, Microsoft announced. DirectStorage is the tech giant’s fast game loading technology that was introduced with the Xbox Series X and S consoles. In September 2020, Microsoft revealed that it would also make the DirectStorage API available on Windows, allowing games for PC to take advantage of technology.

DirectStorage harnesses the speed of modern NVMe SSDs, which can deliver several gigabytes per second, to load games faster than before. As Microsoft explains, current storage APIs haven’t been optimized for modern game data loading methods and create bottlenecks that lengthen load times even for those with an NVMe SSD. Additionally, most game assets need to be decompressed before being sent to the GPU for rendering. DirectStorage solves these problems by processing multiple I/O requests needed to load resources in batches and by using the best current (and future) decompression technologies.

Microsoft released a technology preview for developers in mid-2021, but as The edge reports, there are no games available with DirectStorage support yet. One of the first titles to take advantage of the technology is that of Square Enix Speak, which will be released for Windows and the PS5 in October. Other developers may have just started working on integrating the technology into their games. It may be a while before other titles ship with DirectStorage, especially since not everyone has upgraded to NVMe SSDs yet. It should be noted, however, that while Windows 11 unlocks the full potential of the technology, even Windows 10 gamers will still see some improvements while playing games that support it.

The tech giant will present an introduction to DirectStorage at GDC on March 22 and is expected to give tips and tricks that developers can use to get started. Speak Developer Luminous will also talk about how it brought technology into the game at the same event.

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Steven L. Nielsen