Microsoft DirectStorage is coming to Windows 10

Microsoft announced on Friday that DirectStorage preview will work with Windows 10 versions 1909 and above.

By reducing the number of I/O requests between the CPU and the storage device, Microsoft DirectStorage will significantly improve PC load times. Because existing storage APIs aren’t designed to handle a large number of I/O requests, games on high-speed NVMe drivers don’t perform as well as traditional SATA SSD drives.

This basic issue has previously been fixed on the XBOX Series X|S series, but it is now being introduced to Windows 11 and Windows 10 PCs through the DirectStorage API preview program. The documentation is already available to developers who have signed a non-disclosure agreement, but Microsoft pledges to expand the number of developers who have access to DirectStorage in the near future.

Microsoft is dedicated to ensuring that game creators can reach as many players as possible when they use a new API. As a result, games created using the DirectStorage SDK will run on Windows 10, version 1909 and higher, much as games built with the DirectX 12 Agility SDK.

DirectStorage features can be broken down into:

  • The new DirectStorage API programming model that provides a DX12-style batched submission/completion calling pattern, relieving apps from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second
  • GPU decompression providing super-fast asset decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview)
  • Storage stack optimizations: On Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack

This implies that in Windows 10, version 1909 and above, any game developed on DirectStorage will benefit from the new programming paradigm and GPU decompression technologies. Furthermore, because Windows 11 was designed with DirectStorage in mind, games that run on it benefit even more from new storage stack improvements. The DirectStorage SDK is included with your game and contains the API runtime implementation as well as GPU decompression technologies. As a game developer, you simply need to add DirectStorage to your engine once, and all of the advantages will be implemented and scaled correctly for players.