Microsoft’s DirectSR API Will Drive the Future of PC Game Upscaling

Upscaling technology can greatly enhance the PC gaming experience, particularly on low-wattage laptops. But because each GPU platform has a unique “Super Resolution” upscaler, game developers aren’t keen on implementing the technology. Now, Microsoft hopes to solve the problem with its new DirectSR API.

The DirectSR API is a universal standard for Super Resolution in DirectX games. It allows developers to more easily implement NVIDIA DLSS, AMD FSR, and Intel XeSS—three technologies that artificially increase game resolution and provide enhanced ray tracing effects.

Support for Super Resolution is quite disparate. Some games are compatible with DLSS but lack FSR or XeSS functionality. And because Super Resolution implementation is so time-consuming, a game may not support any form of upscaling for several months after its release. Developers, GPU manufacturers, and customers have all identified this problem, hence the need for a universal standard like DirectSR API.

Microsoft’s DirectX team collaborated with NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel when developing DirectSR. All three manufacturers are prepared to put their weight behind the API, meaning that future games should support all three major upscaling platforms by default.

Still, DirectSR must undergo a testing period. It will be available as a public preview in the Agility SDK later this year. We’re interested in seeing how well the universal API works and whether it has any negative consequences, such as reduced game performance.

As for why we need Super Resolution—well, it’s a form of efficiency or optimization. Instead of pushing your GPU to the limit just to reach 4K 120FPS in Cyberpunk, you can step down to 1080p and use DLSS or FSR to bump up the resolution. This greatly reduces the load on your GPU and provides more headroom for other high-quality graphics settings. Any PC gamer can benefit from this technology, though gaming laptops (which use low-wattage GPUs) will gain the most from Super Resolution.

Microsoft announced the DirectSR API in a DirectX Developer Blog post. The company plans to give DirectSR a more detailed introduction on March 21st at GDC 2024. Along with the DirectSR reveal, Microsoft will showcase its Work Graphs API and new toolkits for PIX.

Source: Microsoft

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