Faster games for all? Microsoft’s DirectSR could be the upscaling breakthrough PC gamers have been praying for

PC Gamer looking happy
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Microsoft is cooking up a new tech for PC gamers called DirectSR (DirectX Super Resolution, apparently) which will be revealed at GDC 2024 next month.

The revelation came from VideoCardz, which found details of a session at the Game Developers Conference on March 21, where Microsoft will provide a preview of DirectSR (with an AMD and Nvidia engineer involved in the presentation).

So, the key question here, obviously enough, is: What is DirectSR exactly? Well, there are no actual details provided as to what the tech consists of in the session blurb.

It sounds like upscaling trickery along the lines of Nvidia DLSS or AMD FSR (or indeed Intel XeSS), but those are targeted features that require support built in by the game developer (or modders, in some games – but that gets wonky in these unofficial cases).

What seems most probable is that DirectSR will be some sort of global upscaling tech, so this could be a feature along the lines of AMD’s Radeon Super Resolution (RSR). Or some kind of method of more easily facilitating upscaling across PC games more broadly, whichever GPU you might own.

Analysis: Upscaling puzzle

We can’t be sure what DirectSR will actually be, then, but we can be hopeful that it’s an important piece of the puzzle for bringing broader upscaling, and therefore faster frame rates, to a wider selection of games.

What’s also of interest here is whether this is tied into another recent leak, whereby an ‘Automatic Super Resolution’ feature was discovered hidden in Windows 11 test builds.

Could this be related to DirectSR? Well, perhaps it might be given the timing, as it sounds like Automatic Super Resolution will be a widely applicable upscaling feature for games (and maybe more) that uses AI. (Either hardware on-board the GPU, like Nvidia’s Tensor cores on RTX graphics cards, or an NPU or Neural Processing Unit, which are now bolted onto processors such as Meteor Lake chips).

Whatever the case, there’s an increasing suggestion that exciting things are afoot for Windows 11 gamers. In theory, Automatic Super Resolution might debut with Windows 11 24H2, although because it’s not actually even in testing yet, we need to be careful about leaping to any conclusions.

Roll on GDC 2024 so we get to find out more about DirectSR, and exactly where it fits in the larger jigsaw of upscaling for games.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).