Xbox technology aims to make Windows better for gaming


Microsoft is exporting storage technology from the next generation of Xbox.

As is well known, 2020 is the year for the new generations of consoles, and when Microsoft in the spring revealed much of the insides of the console flagship Xbox Series X, it was especially the new storage technology Xbox Velocity Architecture that impressed.

The old solutions with a spinning disk are over, and lightning-fast SSDs have been put in place. In Velocity Architecture, there is also software that ensures that games can load and process more data – both for faster loading times and new, more seamless gaming experiences.

This, which Microsoft calls DirectStorage – yes, it is part of the DirectX platform – will now also be baked into Windows 10, according to the company’s blog.

DirectStorage will be able to ensure that those who develop games for Windows will have the same opportunities to optimize loading times and retrieve data faster in larger game environments as with the new Xbox.

Fast hardware, old software
The latest NVMe SSDs with PCIe 4.0 are so fast that Windows programming tools do not keep up. The problem with today’s game programming interface (API) is that it simply can not scale up to as many I / O operations – or read / write operations – as a modern SSD can handle.

With such a bottleneck, it does not help how fast the PC is otherwise, as this will limit what games will be able to do on any computer.

It is this bottleneck that Microsoft has done something about on the next generation Xbox. By transferring the technology to Windows, a PC with a suitable NVMe SSD should be able to become a better gaming machine.

But of course it also requires that game developers take advantage of these opportunities, and it is as usual a process that takes time. First, DirectStorage must be fully developed, it must be further tested and then used when new games are to be programmed.

Microsoft does not envisage game developers getting access to an early release of the API until next year, so it could quickly mean that games for Windows 10 that take full advantage of DirectStorage are still a few years away.