Skip to main content

DirectStorage now available for Windows 11, bringing faster load times for games

Samsung 970 EVO Plus
Samsung 970 EVO Plus (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Game developers can now ship PC games with support for DirectStorage.
  • DirectStorage allows systems to fully utilize the speeds of fast storage devices.
  • The Xbox Series X and Series S already support DirectStorage, and the feature is now available for Windows 11 and Windows 10.

DirectStorage is now supported on Windows 11 and Windows 10. Microsoft announced the release of the public SDK today, which allows developers to take advantage of the feature. DirectStorage is the same technology that allows the Xbox Series X and Series S to load games quickly. It makes it so games can fully utilize the higher speeds of the best SSDs or best internal hard drives.

Previously available APIs were not designed to handle the high speed of newer drives. As a result, games couldn't take full advantage of newer hardware. With DirectStorage, games should load much faster.

While the DirectStorage API is available starting today, it may take some time before you see the feature implemented in the best PC games. Microsoft will share an introduction to DirectStorage at GDC on March 22, 2022. There are also resources for getting started available on Microsoft's website.

In the meantime, gamers can get their systems ready by getting the right hardware to fully utilize DirectStorage. The feature works with PCIe 3.0, but you'll get better performance if you pick up a PCIe 4.0 module.

If your system doesn't support DirectStorage, you don't need to worry. Games will continue to work as they currently do even after developers add support for DirectStorage.

DirectStorage is compatible with Windows 10, but Microsoft recommends Windows 11 for gaming. The newer operating system has storage optimizations and other gaming features.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

1 Comment
  • Well two things here: 1) The current DirectStorage API for Windows does NOT support GPU Decompression......YET. This is the most important piece of the API (and what the games really need to speed up the loading of assets), and it is not yet supported (this late summer, maybe?)
    2) The API does NOTHING without explicit calls to it from WITHIN the Game itself. This is not something that Windows takes advantage of, only a specifically coded PROGRAM running ON Windows can take advantage of it so all the Games will have to be coded to use it (much like NVidia's Ray-Tracing, the game MUST be coded to support it) because the entire point of this API is to speed up the loading of game assets into GPU Memory.