Windows Insiders Will Get Game Mode This Week

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Windows 10 with 17 Comments

Windows Insiders Will Get Game Mode This Week

The least interesting and most overly-reported new feature in Windows 10 is going live this week for Windows Insiders.

As I wrote earlier this month, Game Mode is a new feature in Windows 10 that will debut with the Creators Update. It’s a, um, mode. For games.

I know, complicated.

“Our goal is to make Windows 10 the best Windows ever for gaming,” Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra wrote in an earlier post to the Xbox Wire blog. “With the Creators Update, we’re introducing a new feature called Game Mode. Windows Insiders will start seeing some of the visual elements for Game Mode this week, with the feature being fully operational in builds shortly thereafter.”

Those visual elements consist of a checkbox in the Game DVR Settings interface (WINKEY + G, then select the Settings cog) in Windows 10 Insider Preview build 15014.

It reads, badly, “Game mode makes your PC’s top priority to improve your game’s quality.” There’s a checkbox that enables this mode on a per-game basis, but it doesn’t do anything in the current Insider build.

That’s going to change with the next Insider build. Meaning that the non-working checkbox you see in Game DVR settings for Game Mode will become active. You know, sometime this week.

That’s right. You’re going to be able to select a checkbox. Contain your excitement. 🙂

So what does Game Mode really do?

Nothing that isn’t obvious: It gives the game threads higher priority access to the CPU and GPU than background tasks. In other words, it’s how games should always run.

Which prompts a thought: Why even have a Game Mode? If you’re running a game on a PC, it should always be given priority access to system resources like CPU, GPU, RAM, disk, and so on. Obviously.


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Comments (17)

17 responses to “Windows Insiders Will Get Game Mode This Week”

  1. 7039

    I used to like the snark, and have had some laugh out loud moments on Windows Weekly, but jeesh, it's getting old. Lots of posts on this today, all over the web, and I would have to say this is the least informative of those that I have read.

    Not saying this is a huge performance increase, but certainly there is more and better information that this. For gamers, every frame matters, and I hope it has at least a marginal impact.

    Perhaps labeling this as more of an opinion piece than a news article would be a reasonable way to dish out the snark.

    • 6067

      In reply to prjman:

      I tend to agree... a little too much pessimism on every post about Microsoft related stuff lately.  I guess covering MS for as many years as Paul has will do that to a person. 

    • 9562

      In reply to prjman:

      "For gamers, every frame matters.." 

      Real gamers that actually care about framerates wouldn't be running the UWP-gimped version of a game in the first place.  Case in point, Resident Evil 7 - the UWP/Windows Store version is unplayable; the Steam version is fine.

      And we don't know whether "Xbox Game Mode" or whatever they're calling this is going to be more marketing hot air or actually do anything - benchmarks will tell the tale (and I doubt it'll make any diff)

  2. 3587

    Don't forget that Solitaire and Mine Sweeper are also games which you wouldn't necessarily want to give a higher priority than the render or compile you are waiting for running in the background. (Not that they would be consuming many resources in the first place.)

  3. 2371

    There are valid reasons to not run a game on a higher priority.  Like maybe you have video edition software creating a movie while you are playing a game.  Or it is, ahum, a work computer that is running other processes that should still get their share of resources.  Or better yet, I am sure game mode takes more battery life and therefore you may not want it to chew through your battery while on a plane.

    • 5592

      In reply to RM:

      Exactly. Gaming isn't always "all or nothing" and shouldn't "always be given priority access to system resources like CPU, GPU, RAM, disk, and so on. Obviously."

  4. 4887

    So does this only effect UWP games? 

    • 54

      In reply to Jester:

      I'm guessing you didn't read the story... or the fact that it also works for Win32 games...? (not intended to be snarky, but it probably comes across like that...)

  5. 5394

    Is there a reason for "Not Responding"? Still get that on a fairly new and fast PC.

  6. 2292

    I think this is a good thing. Yes the OS should be able to do it, but it doesn't. My son and I built a cheap computer for school and gaming with the help of a friend who knows more than I. i3, 8 of RAM. Nothing amazing, but I thought it work work. He couldn't play games on it, and compared to his PS4 no competion. But after several months we realized by changing from the default "balanced" mode to "high performance" - it would work great die Titian fall, Battlefield One, over watch, and Rust when before they unplayable. It is a desktop! There is no reason for Microsoft to have crippled his computer out of the box - waiting for someone on YouTube to advise him to change an obscure setting. At least if there had been an obvious "game mode" we would have realized it sooner.

  7. 9542

    OMG, GAMES MODE!! And a Candy Crush Saga screenshot ?? does that really require EXTRA power from my PC? ?

  8. 7124

    Oh good. More things to try to disable in our Enterprise Edition installation. 8-/

  9. 9562

    UWP crap only = pass