Microsoft DirectStorage is an API that underpins the Xbox Series X storage capabilities, providing ultra-fast storage that directly impacts (for the better) game performance. Microsoft has been teasing bringing the API to Windows for some time, including rumors of a Surface Gaming Laptop. Well, DirectStorage is finally coming to Windows 11 and Windows.
That is because Forspoken, a game from Square Enix was given for reviews this week. This is the first title to take advantage of DirectStorage on Windows PCs. So, what do those reviews tell us about Microsoft's API?
Well, the folks at PCWorld paint a picture of a general thumbs up but with some questions left to answer. The outlet compiled reviews from social media and tech review sites and it seems the early signs are encouraging.
DirectStorage promises to significantly reduce load times and it seems this seems to be the case on Forspoken. The game – which has been delayed several times – does boast excellent loading times. The question is how much of this comes from DirectStorage or just the game itself?
For PC gaming, Square Enix did not preview review copies. Instead, we need to look at gamers who bought the game and the news is good. PCWorld reports several users who experience blazingly fast load times while reviews with the console version of the game are reporting similar results.
But again, is this because DirectStorage is as good as Microsoft says or is it because Forspoken has simply been developed with fast load times? Over one r/hardware, user skipan says that the game will only load instantly when continuing a game save from the most recent save. He suggests Square Enix is “cheating” by preloading recent saves.
For older (not the most recent) save files, skipan says there is a loading screen. To emphasize the point, he published the above YouTube video to show load times from the same spot in the game but on recent and older saves.
Interestingly, Square Enix claims that DirectStorage will only run in Forspoken on Windows 11 while Microsoft claims the API works on Windows 11 and Windows 10. Some users reporting excellent loading times are on Windows 10. So, perhaps skipan's theory is current and Square Enix's save trick is the reason for fast load times and not DirectStorage.
I guess only time will tell and the release of more games using Microsoft's DirectStorage API.
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