Game developers everywhere: welcome to Windows 11!

Windows 11 was made for gaming, with new features designed to help creators take their creativity to new heights.

October 04, 2022
a laptop with Gears of War 5 on the screen

​With the launch of Windows 11, we're rolling out our biggest OS update in years. I couldn't be happier to help usher in a new era of gaming on PC because a great experience for players accelerates opportunities for creators and publishers everywhere. Windows 11 was made for gaming, with innovative new features designed to help creators take their creativity to new heights. So, in the spirit of welcoming Windows 11, here are 11 improvements we've made for game developers on PC.  

Better for gamers, better for creators

11. Access a global community of nearly a billion users. Microsoft's vibrant PC ecosystem offers creators the opportunity to be discovered by players throughout the world, across an array of Windows devices.  

10. Your games discovered more easily than ever. We've made it easier than ever for game developers to find an audience through new store features like curated stories and collections. And with popular apps like Discord, Twitch, Reddit and Epic Game Store now in the store, right alongside games, developers and publishers will find more players coming to the Microsoft Store on Windows than ever before.  

9. Xbox app on PC, now reengineered for an optimized experience. Windows 11 includes the Xbox app built right in and with our most recent update, game developers will be delighted to discover an improved installation process, updated functionality, greater reliability, and a refreshed, modern design.   

8. The Microsoft Store on Windows and Xbox app: The best of both worlds. Whether you want to bring casual games to the Microsoft Store on Windows or mid-core/core games to the Xbox app, the Microsoft PC ecosystem offers game developers and publishers the opportunity to be discovered by the right community for their game. And best of all, players can move seamlessly between both.  

7. Enhance discoverability with Xbox Game Pass for PC. Developers and publishers who are part of Xbox Game Pass on PC enjoy the added benefit of even greater discoverability and trial. Players with Game Pass spend 20% more time playing games, play 30% more genres of games and play 40% more games overall. Games outside of the Game Pass subscription see increases in player engagement too.  

6. Grow your reach with Xbox Cloud Gaming. With the service now available in 26 countries and counting with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, developers can stretch their investment farther and reach more players, in more locations, on more devices than ever before. 

a pair of hands holding an Xbox controller in front of a tablet

​Improved development tools and tech

It isn't just publishing and distribution where we've made it easier for PC game developers. We've also focused our energy on delivering improved development tools and tech.  

5. Development is easier than ever with the public GDK. The Microsoft Game Development Kit (GDK) is the same development kit used by hundreds of PC game creators today and was previously only available to approved partners building for the Xbox ecosystem. It contains the common tools, libraries, and documentation needed for developers, it's the future of the Xbox ecosystem across all platforms—PC, cloud, mobile, and console. It's available on GitHub, free of charge. 

4. Better graphics, no effort with Auto HDR. Technology we pioneered on console is now coming to PC for the first time. Without any development work required, Auto HDR will automatically upgrade over 1000 DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games to high dynamic range, rendering a much wider range of colors and brightness. 

3. Immersive sound with Spatial Audio. 3D spatial audio immerses players into the game world. Windows 11 includes support for the latest spatial audio technologies including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Windows Sonic. 3D spatial audio provides a sense of presence in the 3D game space as well as providing more accessibility options for players of all different kinds of abilities. 

2. Load better, start faster with Direct Storage. Windows 11 also includes support for DirectStorage, a feature we first introduced on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. When paired with an NVMe solid state drive and DirectX 12 GPU, games that implement DirectStorage can benefit from reduced load times and render more detailed and expansive game worlds.  

And the last (or first) most exciting gaming update coming to the Windows 11 is: 

  1. Your Games. Best of all, whether players discover your games on the Windows Store or the Xbox app on PC, Windows 11 is the best place to publish and play your games on PC.  

Thank you and happy gaming! 

Sarah Bond