Microsoft Delivers Eye-Popping Xbox Series X Auto HDR Tech To Windows 10 PCs
High Dynamic Range (HDR) can make any video or game look infinitely better than it did before, as long as the display and content support it. To help with one half of the equation, Microsoft shipped an AutoHDR feature with the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, which automatically upgraded backward compatible games from SDR to HDR. Now, a preview of the feature is coming to PC, which will allow for automatic “awesome HDR visuals on an additional 1,000+ DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games.”
As Microsoft explains, HDR is a technique whereby light and dark spots in a “digitally reproduced scene can be shown with more detail than before.” When it comes to video games, gamers can be more immersed in the experience overall, with the environment and details being more vibrant.
While some games are developed natively for HDR, many are not, and this is where Auto HDR for PC steps in. Auto HDR will “take DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 SDR-only games and intelligently expand the color/brightness range up to HDR.” This means that what was once an SDR-only game will hopefully provide a better and more immersive gaming experience with just the click of a button. Microsoft compared SDR, Auto HDR, and native HDR in Gears 5 using a luminance heatmap shown below, and while it is not as great as native HDR, it is certainly better than SDR.
If you want to enable this new feature, you will need an HDR monitor and a PC capable of running the game with Auto HDR. Then, users will need to join the Windows Insider Program and update to Windows 10 Build 21337 or above. After that, “if your PC monitor is already configured to use HDR, you will automatically receive the Auto HDR PC gaming experience.”
Overall, the technology to improve gaming experiences on the fly is pretty impressive. Hopefully, Auto HDR will breathe some new life into older PC games that people know and love. If you get a chance to try out the new feature, let us know what game you played first and what you thought of it in the comments below.