Long loading screens will soon be a thing of the past. Microsoft announced in a blog post that its DirectStorage API is now available for PC game developers.
Microsoft first introduced this technology with its Xbox Series X and S consoles, which cut down loading times and allowed for more detailed open-world games. After its success with the Xbox, Microsoft revealed in September that they would bring this same DirectStorage tech to PC gaming.
Even though DirectStorage is now available for PC, it’s still going to take some time for game developers to incorporate it into their upcoming titles. But, an official announcement from Microsoft on PC availability means that it’s only a matter of time before we won’t have to deal with huge load times for open-world games — looking at you GTA V.
What it does — Boiled down, the DirectStorage API lets your SSD be more efficient at processing data. These days, modern games transmit way more data but we have super fast NVMe SSDs to better handle all that data. Despite the upgrades in the hardware, the way that data is processed is still somewhat old-school where data requests are handled one at a time.
Instead, DirectStorage lets NVMe SSDs do multiple data requests at the same time as a batch to prevent bottlenecking. Also, data coming from the SSD usually needs to be decompressed by the CPU, but DirectStorage bypasses that and sends the data straight to the GPU, which can more efficiently handle the data. That’s all to say that we’ll see much faster loading times and finer details for all the open-world games out there.
In its announcement, Microsoft said that DirectStorage would be compatible with Windows 10, which is a huge plus. The company obviously wants you to use Windows 11 since it has “the latest storage optimizations built-in and is our recommended path for gaming,” but it’s nice to know that those of us still running Windows 10 won’t be left behind.
One final loading screen — Microsoft’s announcement put out all the necessary tools for developers who want to take advantage of DirectStorage, but we likely won’t see an actual title utilizing it for a while. So far, the only title we know of that’s planning to incorporate the DirectStorage API is Forspoken, an action RPG being developed by Square Enix that’s slated for an October release.
Microsoft also said they’d be presenting an introduction to DirectStorage at the Game Developers Conference later this month, which will include tips and tricks for implementing the API.