During the Windows 11 unveil event, Microsoft announced a host of new gaming improvements coming with "the next generation" of Windows. One of those improvements is DirectStorage API - a special set of instructions that significantly improves loading time on computers with DirectX 12-compatible GPUs and NVMe SSDs.
DirectStorage first appeared on Xbox Series X / S as a part of Xbox Velocity Architecture, and it is now coming soon to Windows 11. As it turns out, DirectStorage API is not exclusive to Windows 11. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 will also get DirectStorage API support later next year. Moreover, it will not require the latest version of Windows 10. Loading time improving APIs will be available on Windows 10 1909 and newer.
It is worth mentioning that Windows 11 and Windows 10-versions of DirectStorage API are not quite the same. Windows 11 uses a new storage stack that unlocks "the full potential of DirectStorage," according to Microsoft. On the other hand, Windows 10 will also benefit from the new API, thanks to "more efficient use of the legacy storage stack." In other words, you will see significant performance improvements in DirectStorage-compatible games on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. Systems with Windows 11 may have some advantages thanks to a new storage stack, although Microsoft does not mention specific benefits.
Unlike backward compatibility that does not require any input from developers, DirectStorage API requires optimizations. Developers need to integrate new technology into their gaming engines a single time to improve performance on Windows 10 and Windows 11.
DirectStorage API Preview is now available to developers, so they can already start working on optimizing their games before Microsoft ships Windows 11 and new APIs. You can read more about DirectStorage Preview in the official announcement blog post.
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