The feature, which adds HDR enhancements to games which only shipped with standard dynamic range, is now being tested through the Windows Insider Program.
Users with an HDR capable monitor can currently get HDR visuals on an additional 1000+ DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games, with more to come, Microsoft program manager Hannah Fisher wrote in an announcement blog.
“HDR is a video/imaging technique where the lights and darks in a digitally reproduced scene can be shown with more detail than before,” she explained. “In video games, the increased range of color and luminance of HDR enables a more immersive, realistic experience.
“You’ll be able to see the details of haunting movement in dark shadows rather than just black. The bright sun will be a more radiant, warm yellow rather than a flat saturated white”.
Microsoft provided the following “luminance heatmap” to show how SDR, Auto HDR and native HDR implementations compare using Gears 5’s Hivebusters DLC.
“Grayscale is used to represent all the areas of the scene which can be fully represented by traditional SDR displays while the rainbow colors show areas which are only displayable on HDR capable displays,” Fisher said.
“Notice on the middle and right-side images that the highlights on the goggles and helmet show an increased amount of detail. HDR and Auto HDR are not just about boosting brightness but really about emphasizing the details in a scene leveraging the increased range: darkening shadows and illuminating highlights.”
While using Auto HDR requires some GPU compute power, Fisher said it isn’t expected to have a noteworthy impact on gaming experiences.
March’s Xbox system update includes new toggles for Auto HDR and FPS Boost, a system-level feature that increases performance in select backwards compatible titles without requiring changes to the original game code.