What is DirectStorage in Windows 11 and how will it change the future of gaming?

DirectStorage technology will speed up game loading times (Image via Samsung)
DirectStorage technology will speed up game loading times (Image via Samsung)

DirectStorage integration in Windows 11 was first announced on September 1, 2020, and Microsoft implemented this new technology in Windows 11 a few months ago.

At the GDC (Game Developers Conference) 2022, they gave an introduction and brief explanation of this revolutionary technology. The DirectStorage API takes advantage of faster SSDs to improve the overall gaming experience and significantly decrease a game's loading times.


The release of this new API instantly caught the attention of the fans. The technology is a huge leap forward and will solidify Windows’ place as the best operating system for gaming.

Forspoken is set to be the first PC game to take advantage of the new API. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is also expected to get an update with DirectX 12, ray tracing, and DirectStorage support (only supported with DirectX 12).

Microsoft's DirectStorage API will allow for faster loading times

In the past, tech experts have always maintained that a faster storage wouldn't really affect gaming performance. However, after the launch of the API, games can finally take advantage of faster SSDs. This technology is specifically created to be compatible with the faster Gen 3, 4, and upcoming Gen. 5 PCIe SSDs.

Although Windows 10 will also support this technology, Windows 11 will have better storage optimization, resulting in better performance. Gamers will see a performance boost with all kinds of SSDs, but using NVMe SSDs will maximize the IO performance. In a YouTube video, the developers of Forespoken provided a demo that showed how DirectStorage reduces the loading times of the game.


In an official DirectStorage integration release announcement notice made in August 2022, Microsoft mentioned that they were working on more ways to offload work from the CPU. To be specific, GPU decompression is next on their roadmap, and this will give developers more control over resources and how the hardware gets utilized. It will be another big effort by Microsoft to make Windows 11 cater to gamers.

The main goal of this new API is to stream data directly from an SSD to a GPU's VRAM memory pool, completely bypassing the CPU. In a recent presentation on YouTube, Microsoft engineer Cooper Parkins stated:

"We're not going to stop there. We're going to continue to free up a lot more CPU cycles by finding more creative ways to offload decompression to other parts of the system... In a future release, you'll be able to use DirectStorage to decompress assets using the GPU. This is more CPU savings for you to do more additional work in your title."

So far, slow loading times have been one of the biggest setbacks in gaming. The latest AAA titles tend to require a lot of time to load even on high-end setups, and DirectStorage is a novel solution to the problem. Gamers will be pleased to see Microsoft putting effort into making Windows the best gaming platform.

Quick Links

Edited by Siddharth Satish
Be the first one to comment