This week, Microsoft officially revealed Windows 11. There’s a lot to be excited about with Microsoft’s new vision of what Windows can be, but the part I’m most excited about is the dedication to gaming.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made it abundantly clear that Microsoft is “all in” on gaming. And Windows 11 is a direct representation of that mantra with features like DirectX 12 Ultimate, DirectStorage, and Auto HDR. Xbox Series X and Series S owners are probably familiar with the two latter terms as they debuted on Microsoft’s next-gen console.
Auto HDR uses computer intelligence to automatically add High Dynamic Range (HDR) enhancements to games. In layman’s terms, supported games will render a much wider range of brightness values and colors, “giving an extra sense of richness and depth to the image.”
According to Sarah Bond, Xbox corporate vice president for game creator experience and ecosystem, over 1,000 games will be automatically enhanced on Windows 11 devices that support HDR. This includes games like Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, Rocket League, DayZ and Doom 64.
Another feature Windows 11 will adopt from the Xbox is DirectStorage. As explained on Xbox Wire:
"With a high performance NVMe SSD and the proper drivers, Windows 11 can soon load new games faster than ever thanks to a breakthrough technology called DirectStorage…"
There’s a lot of technical jargon that breaks down exactly how DirectStorage works, but the takeaway here is that games will load incredibly fast. Robust worlds will render “at lightning speeds, without long load times.” There will be “DirectStorage Optimized” Windows 11 PCs that are already configured with the necessary hardware and drivers to enable this feature.
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And, of course, Windows 11’s gaming experience wouldn’t be complete without Xbox Game Pass. What good are all of these revolutionary features if you’ve got nothing to play? I’ve said this countless times before, but Xbox Game Pass is the best deal in gaming, providing you with access to a robust library of games for a relatively cheap monthly price.
The Xbox app is built directly into Windows 11, providing easy access to Game Pass and its library. Game Pass for PC features over 100 games, including access to Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda titles the day they launch. The EA Play membership is also included at no additional cost.
During E3 this month, just about every game showcased was confirmed to be a Game Pass title. This included Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Twelve Minutes, Back 4 Blood, Age of Empires IV and more — and that’s just in 2021 alone. Looking further into the future, you'[ll be able to enjoy The Outer Worlds 2, Starfield, Redfall, and much more through Game Pass. These games, experienced on Windows 11, are going to be incredible.
Best of all? Windows 11 will be available as a free upgrade for existing Windows 10 users (as long as your PC meets the specifications).