Microsoft is preparing to launch DirectStorage 1.1, the exciting tool for Windows 11 that could dramatically improve loading times for the best PC games.
DirectStorage uses GPU decompression instead of using the PC’s CPU to decompress game assets, such as textures and other graphics. With modern PC games becoming more and more ambitious, traditional CPU decompression can cause performance bottlenecks. Removing that bottleneck by moving decompression to the graphics card of a gaming PC (or the best gaming laptops) allows games to load much faster, especially when installed in the latest generation of Gen4 NVMe SSDs.
This can lead to PC games launching almost immediately, while loading times between levels, game-over screens, and cutscenes could one day be a thing of the past. With both the Xbox Series X (which uses similar technology to the PC version of DirectStorage, as it’s a Microsoft product) and Sony’s PlayStation 5 boasting near-instantaneous loading times, it looks like PC gamers will benefit as well, but there is a problem.
Analysis: where are the games?
As The Verge reports: (opens in new tab), DirectStorage 1.1 is not something that Microsoft can implement alone. First, it needs the support of graphics card makers to ensure their GPUs can do the essential decompressing. The good news is that Nvidia’s Latest Game Ready Driver 526.47 (opens in new tab) includes support for DirectStorage 1.1, as well as Intel’s Arc Graphics Driver 101.3793 (opens in new tab). Meanwhile, AMD is reportedly finalizing its drivers to support DirectStorage 1.1.
While that bodes well for the new technology, it also needs to be supported by the games themselves, and that, in turn, requires game developers to provide support during the game’s creation — and so far the number of PC games has increased. that uses DirectStorage… a big, fat, zero.
It doesn’t help that the first major game that would show what DirectStorage can do, Forspoken, has now been delayed until January 2023.
While DirectStorage has real potential to revolutionize PC games, who doesn’t love the idea of spending less time waiting for games to load and more time playing? – without games that support the feature, it’s hard to get too excited right now.
Intel, Nvidia and AMD clearly see this as the future of PC gaming, so hopefully game developers will get on board soon – otherwise it could be another failure in Microsoft’s checkered past when it comes to PC gaming.