DirectStorage has been officially out since earlier this year with the first official public outing of the API. The first release lacked GPU asset decompression. While the first release allowed a direct interface between the GPU and storage, asset decompression via the GPU was still not available which is one of the key features of DirectStorage that the Xbox Series X uses. This obviously led to poor adoption from game developers with no immediate games coming to mind advertisingg the feature throughout the midyear.
That changes today as Microsoft is now formally announcing GPU asset decompression in the DirectStorage 1.1. File decompression largely benefits from parallel compute and thus GPUs give far better performance while also freeing up the CPU to handle other tasks. This does not directly equal to higher frame rates but will ultimately lead to faster loadings times. The Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 both have very fast loading times, so fast that they’ve removed loading screens entirely and entire map areas with lush details are seamlessly loaded in real time. This includes every compressed asset a game uses, not just limited to texture files but also audio as well.
Microsoft posted a screenshot of their internal demo showcasing the performance of GPU asset decompression which saw a drop from 2.36 seconds load to 0.80 seconds.
Microsoft also introduce Gdeflate, an NVIDIA developed, cross-vendor technology which works with AMD and Intel to provide further optimization for asset decompression. Its not a requirement but is an optional format for developers to use.
GPU decompression is slated for release by the end of 2022 which should have games that plan to use the feature get patches and updates.