Gaming on Windows 11 – Things You Need to Know Before Upgrading

Finally, Windows 11 is released, and it’s a free update that changes a lot for gamers. We were able to get early access to Windows 11, and here are ten things we found that every gamer needs to know. 

Free Update

Good news! It will be a free update. On Thursday, June 24th, Microsoft officially announced the newest iteration of Windows, and they had a ton to show off.

Most of the changes aren’t particularly relevant for gaming, and since we mainly cover gaming topics, much of that stuff didn’t interest us. However, there are some things you need to know. 

At least upgrading is going to be cheap. Windows 11 is going to be accessible for all Windows 10 users. However, it will launch on new PCs in quarter four, and updates for existing Windows 10 users won’t arrive until 2022.

The real issue with updating is quite complicated, and I’ll talk about it later. Microsoft is touting it as a free update. Still, the bizarrely steep hardware requirements will make it difficult for many users to upgrade without spending some money first. 

Auto HDR

Windows 11 includes a feature called Auto HDR. High dynamic range can make a game look pretty damn impressive when you get everything configured correctly and you’ve got an HDR-compatible monitor.

Before, HDR was an option you can enable in-game, and it was generally only something that you could use with games that support it.

But with Auto HDR, any game that uses DirectX 11 or higher can have HDR. It’s a feature Microsoft used for the Xbox Series X in the past, and they’re porting it over to Windows.

Although, it doesn’t work for every single game because it supports DirectX 11 at least. So, many older games won’t see any improvements from this feature.

Making it a universal feature and allowing people to use it in games that wouldn’t usually have it is one of the most incredible additions in Windows 11. 

Auto HDR Windows 11

DirectStorage

Windows 11 has another exclusive feature called DirectStorage. Microsoft describes it like this, “Games can quickly load assets to the graphics card without bogging down the CPU.” 

Of course, faster loading is always a good thing. With DirectStorage, it sounds like we can expect some pretty significant improvements to game performance and loading if what Microsoft describes is correct. 

However, DirectStorage isn’t something that can happen on its own. There are requirements to using it that you should probably know about. 

First, you’ll need an NVMe SSD to store and play the games, along with DirectX 12 on your GPU with Shader Model 6.0 support. So, you need a newer graphics card and a decent SSD if you want to experience the benefits of this feature.

This is a Windows 11 exclusive feature, so if you plan on sticking with Windows 10, which many people will, you can’t use it. 

Game Pass

Game Pass is going to be built-in. This is a good update, even if it’s small. Game Pass is getting better and better every time we see it. All the games added to it free of charge in the coming months, outside of the subscription fee, will be integrated into Windows 11.

The Xbox app will be built into Windows 11, but that’s the Game Pass app on PC anyway. This doesn’t sound like it’ll be that much of an upgrade, but it’ll just make the Game Pass a little easier to access.

It shows Microsoft’s commitment to the whole program by putting it front and centre as a Windows 11 update feature. Hopefully, they’ll fix the part where games remain on your PC even after removing it from the Xbox app. 

The fact that’s still an issue is honestly ridiculous, and it’s a big reason why I’m still kind of wary of using the Xbox app on PC. It would be great if Microsoft stops doing that and leave an entire game’s installation in hidden folders, deep in-app data.

Android Apps

Finally, Android apps can be used on Windows 11. So, enough of the complaints, this is a legitimately great feature. You will be able to use Android apps on Windows 11. It was kind of ridiculous that users required an emulator to access apps from an Android phone.

However, you’ll need to install a third-party app store to access the app, which is the Amazon AppStore. Most people are familiar with the Google Play Store, but it is not supported. 

Android apps can be sideloaded, meaning that you’re not forced to use the Amazon sort of launch apps, which means it’s possible to obtain apps that are not on the Amazon store and load them on Windows 11.

But how that’s going to work is kind of a mystery. It’s kind of weird that Microsoft chose to partner with Amazon to do Android integration instead of Google. Still, it is also better than nothing and a first step into making these systems more compatible. 

Virtual Desktops

Microsoft is making it easier to create virtual desktops. It’s a basic feature, like some other GUI stuff revealed for Windows 11, but also kind of interesting. 

For gamers, who use their PC for multiple purposes, this seems like a pretty neat thing to include. The ability to easily make multiple desktops customized for work or gaming is an excellent addition. It was only available in the Pro version of Windows 10.

Also Read: Windows 10 Home vs Pro for Gaming

I am not sure how in-depth these options will be, but you can have a gaming background when using a PC to play games and switch to a more sedate background when working.

It would be great if you can save settings for screen brightness, colour temperature, window size, sleep settings, etc., based on what desktop you are using.

At this point, we don’t know what kind of options this whole virtual desktop feature has. It sounds like it has potential, but in reality, it’s probably just a way to swap between different wallpapers. 

Security

This is a big one, but it can be a headache generator. They include a new requirement for Windows 11, and that is a TPM 2.0 chip.

Most of the requirements for Windows 11 are fairly tame and something that any decent PC should be able to meet for the most part. But the TPM 2.0 chip can be a deal-breaker for some.

A TPM is a trusted platform module that is either something integrated into a motherboard or a CPU. Otherwise, none of the PCs I tested could upgrade to Windows 11. It feels like many people are getting surprised by this requirement.

The prices of TPM chips are skyrocketing due to the demand. I am not planning on spending 50 to 100 bucks just to have the privilege of beta testing Microsoft’s newest operating system. 

There is a good reason Microsoft is pushing these chips. It’s a security feature and supposed to protect encryption keys and sensitive data so that they’re more difficult to access. 

I’m happy that they’re taking security more seriously. Like we’ve had numerous problems with that in the past. But at this point, it seems like the actual amount of Windows 11 compatible PCs out there will be small at first.

Microsoft isn’t just limiting installation based on the presence or absence of TPM. 2.0. No Intel CPU earlier than the 8th generation will support Windows 11. 1st generation Ryzen or earlier CPUs are also not compatible with Windows 11. 

In custom PCs, the most recent high or mid-range motherboards have a TPM chip. 

BIOS

You may have to change your BIOS settings if you want to upgrade. Updating to Windows 11 is not going to be smooth. I’ve read an article from “The Verge”, where they said that you need to have Secure Boot enabled along with the TPM chip. 

Many people have no idea if they have a TPM chip on their PC, and I guarantee that even more people don’t know if they have Secure Boot enabled in their BIOS.

Almost nobody does fiddling with their BIOS other than a particular set of people. Accessing the BIOS is also different from PC to PC.

Sometimes you just need to turn on Secure Boot, and sometimes it’s called PTT instead, or you have to enable the TPM, even if it’s already installed. The fact that many users are going to have to go into their BIOS settings, a place where you can easily ruin your PC settings if you don’t know what you’re doing, is kind of wild for a Windows update.

Hopefully, Microsoft will ease up on this requirement before Windows 11 launches because people will not have a good time messing around with their BIOS settings. It’s a recipe for disaster because most users simply aren’t going to bother.

If nothing changes, the adoption rates for Windows 11 are going to be shockingly low. If you don’t see the TPM or FTPM option to BIOS, you’ll probably have to buy one. Just check if your motherboard has the port, though. 

No 32-bit Support

Windows 11 is finally ending 32-bit support. It will probably not come as much of a surprise to anybody, but with Windows 11, they’re making it 64-bit only. Do you have a 32-bit PC? It’s obsolete. You can’t upgrade it. 

64-bit has been the standard for a while now, so we kind of assumed this would happen eventually. If you’re unaware, 32-bit games still run on 64-bit hardware, although compatibility issues can appear.

One saving grace of the modern Windows operating system is the backwards compatibility mode, which allows you to run games as if they were being played on older operating systems. 

It works pretty well on Windows 10, and as far as we can tell, it isn’t going to be removed for 11. So, any 32-bit PC probably can’t be upgraded to Windows 11. 

If you see a headline talking about how 32-bit support is ending and start freaking about how your old games won’t work, don’t worry, they’ll probably work. 

Windows 11 Games Compatibility

Any games that work on Windows 10 should work on Windows 11. According to most sources, Windows 11 is mostly the same as Windows 10, even if some design elements are changing and some new features are added. 

They’re not removing most of the stuff there, basically just a long-winded way of saying that if you’ve got Windows 10, things should work mostly the same if you end up upgrading to Windows 11.

Game Pass will have a lot of games on it, but they’re not all new. It’s in Microsoft’s best interest that these games work as they’re supposed to. Games that had issues with Windows 10 may have problems with Windows 11. 

For anyone who still loads up older games on their PC from time to time, that’s good to hear. But from my experience, sometimes it’s a little challenging to get something running on Windows 10.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

GPCD