Microsoft brings Auto HDR technology to PC with initial support for over 1,000 titles

The Xbox Series console’s Auto HDR feature was a very clever trick. It upgrades legacy SDR titles to HDR automatically, giving those titles a next-gen sheen (quite literally). And now Microsoft has announced that it’s rolling out the technology in preview on PC as well. 

A blog post by product manager Hannah Fisher on the DirectX Developer Blog provides details for those who want to try it out, with support for over 1,000 Dx11 and Dx12 titles. That means that older titles, and even recent ones that are not mastered in HDR will be able to take some benefit from the display technology. 

The feature is currently available to those on the WIndow Insider Program (Dev Channel). The full details are available via the blog post. And there’s even a split screen model, so you can see how your game functions using the new feature. 

Auto HDR is just one of a series of technical innovations that has seen Xbox take a step ahead of its key rival in terms of backwards compatibility. Xbox titles support features such as high frame rates without specific next-gen versions, and its FPS Boost technology has proved revolutionary in making even unpatched titles perform better on the new hardware. 

It’s an approach to engineering that has undoubtedly benefited from Microsoft’s huge PC experience with making games run their best across innumerable hardware variations, and it’s interesting to see tech that’s come out of that tradition, having gone to Xbox first, now come to benefits PC game developers as well. 

“Auto HDR for PC is in preview and we’re on a journey to continually improve it with you. For example, we haven’t yet enabled Auto HDR on all top DX11/DX12 titles since some are hard to identify as Auto HDR eligible; we also think turning on HDR just for gaming is harder than it should be. We’re already working on fixing those issues, optimizing performance, and even adding customizability to your experience. While Auto HDR does take some GPU compute power to implement, we don’t expect it to significantly impact your gaming experience. However, if you notice significant issues in your gaming experience or find one of your favorite DX11/DX12 titles doesn’t work yet, please let us know through the feedback hub app.”

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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