2 min read

Microsoft's new Windows 10 Game Mode is a 'biasing' act in favor of games

"Right now Game Mode is about biasing the game from a GPU perspective so it gets more of the cycles if it’s in the foreground, and from a CPU perspective," Microsoft's Kevin Gammill explains to Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
"Right now Game Mode is about biasing the game from a GPU perspective so it gets more of the cycles if it’s in the foreground, and from a CPU perspective both biasing to get more CPU cycles as well as avoiding what I’ll call thread contention for the game."

- Microsoft's Kevin Gammill, speaking to Rock, Paper, Shotgun about Windows 10 Game Mode.

If you make, release, or play PC games, you should know that Microsoft is in the midst of rolling out a new performance-boosting "Game Mode" feature for Windows 10- to Windows Insiders ahead of a proper debut later this year.

Devs curious to get a sense of what Microsoft is doing here should check out the company's pitch video (embedded above) and Rock, Paper, Shotgun's recent interview with Kevin Gammill, a Partner Group Program Manager (Xbox Platform) at Microsoft.

While he doesn't delve into much technical detail, you can at least get a sense of how Microsoft is trying to describe "Game Mode" to players -- and how the way it biases PC performance towards a game is based in part on how Xbox consoles prioritize resources.

"I have come more from the console side of the business," said Gammill. "Those machines are dedicated gaming boxes, obviously, and we have a learned a lot in fine-tuning the operating system for the original Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and soon to be Scorpio. We’ve taken some of those best practices, and we’re starting to apply those more broadly across more Windows devices. Game Mode’s an incarnation of that."

He goes on to note that Game Mode won't be limited to working only with games running on Microsoft's new(ish) Universal Windows Platform (UWP), so that "if you have a game that still runs on your Windows 10 machine that’s 15 years old, Game Mode will absolutely work with it." Players are expected to be able to enable/disable Game Mode at will, and Microsoft also intends to "whitelist" a select number of games that will use Game Mode by default. 

This is well in line with Microsoft's ongoing efforts to improve game performance on UWP, which has been a sticking point since it was introduced with Windows 10 in 2015. However, it's yet unclear when this year the "Creators Update" which includes Game Mode will officially roll out to Windows 10.

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