Is Windows Still the King of PC Gaming in 2021?

Video games can be a great past-time, a reprieve from life where we throw our feet back, grab a controller, and immerse ourselves. Whether you play professionally or in your leisure time as a hobby, having a good gaming setup can be the difference between a terrible experience or a seamless one.

With so many of the latest games coming with loads of new features and applications, the technology required to run them is becoming increasingly sophisticated. So, the question arises, does the Windows OS provide a solid enough performance to keep up with the latest enhancements?

Windows Gaming Supremacy

From time to time, Windows has claimed to deliver its users the best gaming experience, and not without reason. Compared to Mac and Linux, Windows offers the best range both in terms of performance and gaming selection. However, there's more:

Game Mode

Unlike many of its contemporaries, Windows offers its gamers a dedicated Game Mode to enhance some graphics. Its primary purpose is to reduce the input lag, which is the time it takes for an input to manifest itself on-screen. It will also increase the contrast slightly to improve ambient quality and textures. Game Mode can easily be enabled in Windows 10:

  1. Press Win + G to open the Game bar.
  2. Select Settings icon in Game bar (as illustrated in the screenshot below).
  3. In the General tab, select the Game Mode check box.

Some games automatically turn on Game Mode. When they do this, you will find that the check box will already be selected. Related: How to Optimize Windows 10 for Gaming and Performance

Xbox Games Support

Microsoft has made it easier for Xbox owners to play console games directly on their PC, with the remote playability that they recently introduced.

What this means for Xbox App users on Windows 10 is that they can now have the whole experience without needing a separate TV. They can stream games from their console, and freely enjoy them on their PC.

If you want to start streaming games to your Windows 10, you can download the Xbox app from the Windows Store.

In addition to streaming, the app lets you search the full Xbox catalog and play your favorite game. It could be of obvious benefit to those with lower-powered computers running Windows 10 who are unable to run games at decent frame rates. Not to forget, of course, it eliminates the need for your console to connect to a separate TV.

VR Compatibility

The Oculus Rift VR set will work natively with Windows 10. Windows 10 will make it easy to set up, immerse yourself, and have an incredible VR gaming experience. Simply put, Windows 10 is the best outlet there is for playing games on the Oculus Rift because it utilizes all of its graphics and performance hardware to achieve the best frame rate.

You can also play Xbox exclusive games on the Oculus Rift; a feature that’s only possible courtesy of Windows 10. The bestselling Xbox One games like Halo, Forza, Sunset Overdrive, and others will be available on the Oculus Rift. With the new Xbox Wireless Adapter, you can play games on the Rift using the Xbox One controller wirelessly.


DirectX is the gateway from you’re the hardware on your PC to the Windows operating system. Without it there would be no way for games to access the hardware on Windows OS (components like video cards, the sound card, and memory).

Microsoft made superfluous efforts to make this OS the finest gaming platform and the introduction of DirectX was certainly a big help. It provides developers with low-level and non-technical availability to hardware components, allowing them to fine-tune and optimize the performance of heavy-duty applications such as games.

Backward Compatibility

Much like its predecessor, Windows 10 does have a compatibility mode that tricks applications into thinking they’re running on older versions of Windows. It automatically enables this whenever it detects an application that needs it.

Many older Windows desktop programs (from Windows XP and Windows 7) will run fine when using this mode, even if they wouldn’t otherwise.

The Drawbacks of Windows Gaming

While the Windows OS dominates over others in many aspects, it isn't without faults of its own. There are a few issues that stops its users from having a seamless gaming experience.

The DirectX 12 Issues

Despite being very versatile in terms of operations, the latest version of DirectX 12 will sometimes come up short. An inferior or outdated Graphics card can stop your game from functioning properly or even launching altogether. For the former, you need to understand the system requirements, but for the latter, you have to update your Graphics Driver and see if the issue remains.

Often, new games are very demanding, there are many configurations on which they won’t work. So, you have to make sure that your computer’s hardware is compatible with them otherwise DirectX 12 will be of no use.

The Common Problems

Although Microsoft says that there’s no reason to buy anything greater than Windows 10 to run any compatible game, there are plenty of issues that can cause it to go off the rails.

The most common of these are:

  • Occasional crashes because of programs or graphics card issues
  • Forced updates will cause some games to malfunction
  • The slowdown over the life of the PC, such as frequent drops in framerate

The Minimum Hardware Requirements

Although there are no hard and fast rules in gaming PCs, we recommend that you don’t install your first game unless you have:

  • Six-core processor
  • 500 GB minimum hard drive
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 1 GB GPU below 1080p; 2 GB GPU for 1080p; 3GB for over 1080p

If your PC lacks any of the aforementioned prerequisites, then it is very likely that, despite your operating system, your game won’t play out smoothly. You don’t necessarily need extra equipment (like sound cards and ethernet adapters) so the main emphasis should remain on the processor, GPU, and video card.

What's the Verdict?

Regardless of what operating system you choose, it is important to keep in mind what you want to use your PC for; what applications you want to run, and how you game. Whether it be through obtaining faster loading speeds, improving framerate, or lowering ping to get an edge over people in online multiplayer.

We suggest you personalize it according to that preference but remember to run at least a 64-bit version of Windows. Furthermore, having the right hardware for the job cannot be overstated. Windows would be your best bet right now because Linux offers very few titles and Mac can’t keep up with Windows’ API.

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