With an increasing number of leaks confirming the soon-to-be-released Windows 11, there were numerous questions surrounding what it's going to look like, how it's going to run, and whether or not it's going to be any good for gamers. In this article we'll be running through some of the big differences between Windows 11 and its predecessor. With Microsoft having just made their big announcement to the world, here's everything we know about Windows 11, and what it might mean for your gaming experience.
Main features of Windows 11
As the most significant update since 2015, Windows 11 certainly has a lot to shout about. In a general sense, there are a raft of significant changes: an updated taskbar, multitasking features, and efforts to make the software updates around 40% smaller. This will make them quicker and easier to install. It should also be faster and more energy efficient. There are also major cosmetic changes. Examples include 'Snap' layouts, a redesigned Microsoft app store, and the Start menu moving from the left hand side to the centre of the screen. But it's the gaming related features that we are most interested in here: built-in Xbox Game Pass, auto HDR, and DirectStorage.
Built-in Xbox Game Pass
Arguably the "killer" weapon in the Xbox arsenal, a Game Pass subscription gives players access to over 100 games. Many of these are AAA titles, and brand new games are often made available on day one of release. Upcoming titles include The Ascent, Psychonauts 2, and Age of Empires IV. The Game Passapp will now be built in on Windows 11, replacing the clunky and sometimes frustrating Xbox app from Windows 10. This should enable users to have easier access to, and control of, their games library. The app will also enable Xbox Cloud Gaming for those who subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate.
As well as offering easier access to games, Windows 11 will also introduce improved lighting and contrast on compatible machines, through auto HDR. According to Microsoft, over 1000 games will automatically be enhanced through Windows 11, creating a superior visual experience for gamers. Just as long as you have the appropriate hardware. Anyone who has played a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S will be able to vouch for the benefits of HDR; this will now be available via Windows 11 as well.
The final part of the Windows 11 gaming trio is DirectStorage, which has already demonstrated its prowess on the new generation of Xbox consoles. The most immediate advantage of DirectStorage is faster loading times, but there are other benefits as well. It allows for far greater creativity on the part of game developers, who can include more graphical content. It will enable fast loading onto the graphics card without it slowing down the CPU. Once again, this will require hardware powerful enough to actually support it.
Which is better for gaming?
According to Sarah Bond of Microsoft:
We’re thrilled to bring you the best Windows ever for gaming.
So certainly in their eyes, Windows 11 is a cut above Windows 10. But it isn't all just marketing bluster. Auto HDR, DirectStorage and an improved Xbox Game Pass experience are all compelling new features. That's on top of a superior Windows OS which should be quicker and smoother than Windows 10. And there are other benefits as well: wide-ranging peripheral hardware support, EA Play membership, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, to name a few.
Windows 11 is due for full release towards the end of 2021, when we can really compare it with Windows 10. But on paper, its claim to be the best Windows for gaming, looks like it may well be correct.
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