Windows 10 Game Mode, UWP games details explained

When Microsoft confirmed that the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update would include a certain "Game Mode", it didn't really go into detail what that mode would bring aside from a generic "CPU and GPU optimization". With the Creators Update probably just a week or two away, it's perhaps time to reveal more information about that. And what better opportunity to do just that than GDC, where Microsoft revealed a few more tidbits about its gaming vision for Windows 10, including the somewhat controversial UWP games.

PCs, particularly Windows PCs, have long been a gaming platform but some gamers and even some developers shy away from Windows for various reasons. One of those is because of how much the OS itself competes with the game for hardware resources, particularly CPU cycles and graphics processing power. Not to mention the software and services that run in the background, potentially clogging up the pipelines.

With Game Mode, Microsoft is promising that everything, especially Windows 10 itself, will be taking a backseat to the game. Majority of the CPU cores will be devoted to the game, migrating non-game threads and processes to the remaining cores. Similarly, GPU processing power and video memory will be handed over for the game to use. Game Mode, however, is not a magic fix as both developers and users must make the choice to support or use it.

Microsoft's GDC presentation also touched on the thorny topic of UWP games. Microsoft has been pushing game developers to make UWP games that run on both Xbox and Windows but that has been met by hesitation because of the somewhat arbitrary limits the platform makes on such games. For example, UWP games are limited to using only a certain fraction of the Xbox One's resources, which doesn't exactly encourage more resource-intensive games. Those limitations might also not make sense on Windows PCs.

Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Eric Walston promises that work is being done to not only unlock more resources for UWP games but also bridge the feature gap between Windows and Xbox. The goal is to unify the two platforms, especially with regards to gaming, a message that some gamers and developers aren't particularly keen on hearing.

VIA: Ars Technica