Microsoft releases DirectStorage: ‘a new era of fast load times and detailed worlds in PC games’

18 months ago, Microsoft unveiled that one of the major improvements in its new Xbox Series X console would be coming to PC — the ability to stream massive amounts of data from a blazing-fast NVMe solid-state drive to your GPU, rather than relying on your pesky CPU to decompress it first. With the so-called “DirectStorage API”, games could load more detailed worlds, and these faster than before.

Now Microsoft says the DirectStorage API has arrived. “Starting today, Windows games can be shipped with DirectStorage. This public SDK release kicks off a new era of fast loading times and detailed worlds in PC games by enabling developers to more fully exploit the speed of the latest storage devices.” reads the company’s blog post

DirectStorage reads from NVMe SSD to RAM, copies to GPU memory, then decompresses on the GPU.

More good news: it works with Windows 10, not just Windows 11, even though Microsoft says 11 is “our recommended path for gaming.”

However, before you rush into a game to take full advantage of that fast NVMe 4.0 stick and compatible motherboard, you should know that the games aren’t available yet. while developers can preview the technology since Julytoday is just a starting gun for many who may be digging into it. In fact, the real starting gun may not be until March 23 at the Game Developers Conference, when AMD and developer Luminous Productions will explain how they brought DirectStorage to Forspoken, one of the first showcase games for the tech. By the way, it will be October 11th before you can try Forspoken, since that game got delayed last week

You might also have understandable doubts that developers will take full advantage of NVMe storage so soon, given that many PC gamers still haven’t switched to fast NVMe SSDs, and because games that talked about SSD, such as Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, are the PS5 turned out to be a little less than making full use of their capabilities. (Heck, the Steam Deck means some game developers still have to focus on UHS-I microSD cards that may read less than 100MB/s, rather than the 4,000-7,000MB/s of a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD .)

But if Windows games can theoretically pull off the same SSD tricks as the PS5 and Xbox Series X, that means there’s one less piece of PC that’s going to take the potential of next-gen gaming down — and for the most part, we don’t want that. -realized potentials are finally fulfilled.

Here’s the latest gameplay trailer for Forspoken, as it can run on a Sony PS5, as well as a Windows PC and the Xbox Series X using fast SSD techniques:

You love to watch the tide raise all the boats.

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