Xbox Game Pass is now part of Windows 11 – ‘best Windows ever for gaming’

Microsoft has officially announced Windows 11 and it adds a number of video game-related features, including auto HDR and improved SSD support.

The announcement of a new version of Windows may not sound like it has much to do with video games but, dating all the way back to Windows 95, gaming has often figured surprisingly highly in Microsoft’s list of priorities.

On the face of it Windows 11 doesn’t seem to be that big a milestone, but Microsoft is nevertheless describing it as ‘the best Windows ever for gaming’.

The primary reason for saying that is that Xbox Game Pass now comes built into Windows’ Xbox app, so will be fully integrated throughout the operating system.

That means you also get Xbox clouding gaming options, if you’re an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, and auto HDR and the DirectStorage API – both of which are already a part of the Xbox Series X and S.

Over a thousand games will be able to use auto HDR from launch, which, as the name implies, doesn’t require the involvement of the original developer. You’ll need an HDR monitor though, obviously.

The direct DirectStorage API is for super-fast SSDs, which PCs are currently at a disadvantage with, when compared to consoles. The new API should ensure PCs can access data as fast as an Xbox Series X, although they’re still unlikely to be as fast as the PlayStation 5’s bespoke drive.

Finally, in the best traditions of video games, despite all the pomp and circumstance of the reveal event there still wasn’t any sign of a release date, but Windows 11 is expected to be out this year as a free upgrade – assuming your PC is powerful enough to run it.

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