It seems trivial to boast about the PC experience when it comes to gaming. It has, through years of ironic and unironic memes and repetitious social media comments, cemented its place as the de facto home for the enthusiast out there. In recent years, Microsoft, parent of both Xbox and Windows (the operating systems of most PCs use), has slowly been combining the two into a single ecosystem, especially since the launch of Xbox Game Pass for PC. Now though, following Microsoft’s official unveiling of Windows 11, the company has said that the relationship will be stronger than ever, as they seek to consolidate the PC gaming market and leave petty console rivalry behind.
Xbox, and Game Pass, the thing that always comes up when you’re talking about Xbox nowadays, will be built into the native Windows 11 OS through a variety of new technologies that will be introduced with Windows 11.
High Dynamic Range, or HDR, will automatically be enabled on compatible games built into DirectX. New SSD storage solutions, initially trialed out in the new Xbox Series X|S consoles (titled Xbox Velocity Architecture on those systems), will be factored into how Windows 11 operates. DirectStorage is the new name for this technology and will utilize specialized hardware to maximize performance, and will require newly manufactured PCs to be “DirectStorage optimized” to be taken advantage of. Finally, the Xbox app is now built into Windows 11, making Game Pass PC instantly accessible to Windows 11 users.
While Microsoft has embraced PC gaming on Windows 11 and the idea of a shared Xbox ecosystem (there were even talks of Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass being present to some degree on Nintendo Switch), Sony has stuck to tradition and focused on delivering a PlayStation 5 that can boast a collection of very strong exclusives. Microsoft has tried to fix this issue in recent years by acquiring studios like Double Fine, Obsidian, and Bethesda, who at Microsoft’s E3 showing, displayed two high-profile Xbox exclusives – Redfall and Starfield.
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