Skip to main content

3 reasons why Windows 11 is exciting for PC gamers

Xbox Game Pass and Windows 11
Xbox Game Pass and Windows 11 (Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 Xbox Game Pass Official

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Recently, Microsoft made Windows 11 official in a livestream, revealing that the new OS will arrive sometime during Fall 2021 and will be offered as a free upgrade to existing Windows 10 users. Featuring significant performance enhancements for general computing, a snazzy new look, and more, Windows 11 is exciting for all PC users — including PC gamers that want to elevate their gaming experience to the next level. Here's a look at three features coming to Windows 11 that PC gamers should be excited about.

Auto HDR will significantly enhance visuals

Source: Windows Central DirectX 11 games like A Plague Tale: Innocence will be enhanced by Auto HDR. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One of the most exciting features that will arrive with Windows 11 is Auto HDR, which will automatically enhance any game built on DirectX 11 or higher that previously only used standard dynamic range (SDR) by allowing them to render the much wider spectrum of colors and brightness levels provided by high dynamic range (HDR). This will make many modern SDR-only games such as A Plague Tale: Innocence look better instantly by adding more depth to what's on your screen, all without affecting performance.

Microsoft originally debuted this feature with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, so it's awesome to finally see it arrive on PC with Windows 11. It will be fun to see how much better SDR games built on DirectX 11 or higher will look with Auto HDR, and I'm excited to test the feature out later this year.

DirectStorage will load games faster than ever

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central DirectStorage is finally making its way from Xbox Series X|S to PC with Windows 11. (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Windows 11 is also bringing support for DirectStorage, which is another technology that Microsoft originally introduced with the Xbox Series X and S. The DirectStorage API can handle many more data requests at once than previous APIs could, resulting in the crazy fast loading times that have been experienced with the new Xbox consoles — even when playing massive open world games rich with oodles of high quality models, textures, and effects. This means that you'll be able to spend a lot less time staring at a loading screen and a lot more time actually playing your games.

To take advantage of Windows 11's support for DirectStorage, Microsoft says you'll need "a high performance NVMe SSD and the proper drivers." We'll have to wait until Windows 11 arrives before we can get the drivers, but check out our roundup of the best SSDs for some awesome NVMe drives you can get now in order to prepare for the arrival of DirectStorage.

Easier access to the Xbox ecosystem is coming

Lastly, Microsoft is making some of the best parts of the Xbox ecosystem more accessible than ever with Windows 11. PC gamers will be able to experience Microsoft's all-you-can-eat style Xbox Game Pass for PC service through the Xbox app that will be built directly into Windows 11, making it easier than ever before to enjoy the 100+ games in its library. Xbox Cloud Gaming (also known as xCloud) will be available directly in the Xbox app, too, allowing players with entry-level rigs to enjoy high quality modern titles like the upcoming Halo Infinite. Xbox Cloud Gaming will also be available via browser if you're a subscriber to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

It's true that easier access to things like Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Cloud Gaming won't benefit every type of PC gamer, but more options are never a bad thing. And when you consider how much excellence there is throughout the Xbox ecosystem, I think it's awesome that Microsoft is making sure PC players can be a part of the fun.

Your thoughts

What do you think of Windows 11's PC gaming-focused features and improvements? Let me know in the comments. For more on Windows 11, check out why Satya Nadella wants Windows 11 to be the center of an open tech ecosystem. Also, make sure to give Xbox Game Pass Ultimate a look, as it offers a ton of value for an affordable monthly subscription.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

7 Comments
  • I haven't had any good things to say about HDR! I just hope there is an OFF option for it!!!
  • What don't you like about HDR?
  • Huh? Sounds like you need a better monitor. My OLED looks great.
  • I honestly assumed some type of Auto HDR was already a part of Windows 10. I remember prior to 20H2, turning on HDR would just give you a washed out mess of a screen, and was basically only usable in a game. After 20H2, I tried turning it on, and everything looks great, whether in a game or not. If this had nothing to do with Auto HDR, what did they do in 20H2 that made HDR usable across the entire system (and not just in games)? Or was my Windows installation just broke prior to 20H2 :)
  • what the actual **** is this TPM thing I can't find anything that talks about it. i5 8600k on z390 aorus pro wifi board which I just ******* BOUGHT FOR $400!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do I have it? Is it something I can buy? Or did I just piss away $400 on a piece of **** mobo. Been gaming for 15 years now built my first PC in 1988 when I was 9 years old and never even heard of this god damn thing. Sorry for the swearing, but something smells rotten in the state of Denmark.
  • Microsoft: Starting with Windows 10, the operating system automatically initializes and takes ownership of the Trusted Platform Module. It is a onboard chip circa 2016 that maintains certificates; mostly used in corporate security settings. Run powershell > get-tpm to see if the status is TPM present/ready. If it is, the chip is there and bios has it turned on. If not, check your manufacturer's BIOS setting to enable it. It gets leveraged in Secure Boot too.
  • Don't stress buddy if you bought your PC or built it in the last couple of years there's a 90% or higher chance you have nothing to worry about.