Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Creators Update Game Mode

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2017 - 07:17 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, pc gaming

A few weeks ago, Windows Insiders noticed GameMode.dll was added to the Windows 10 preview builds. It was speculated by Windows Central, based on their anonymous sources, that it would allow the user to increase performance for games. Now, in an Xbox blog post, Mike Ybarra of Microsoft confirmed the existence of this feature. It will arrive with the Creators Update and, yes, it is intended to “optimize your Windows 10 PC for increased performance in gaming”.

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That’s about all of the detail that is mentioned explicitly in the blog post. It does make a passing reference to “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”. While we don’t need to wait too long to actually find out, this snippet suggests that user involvement will be required. This might be a launcher or something else entirely.

On his Twitter, he also added that Game Mode will work for both Win32 and UWP games. Assuming this isn’t a mistake, and it’s stated quite bluntly albeit on Twitter, it looks likely that Game Mode’s UI won’t be an extension of Windows Store and it will work for any game. It will probably reside elsewhere, like an Xbox App or something, but we don’t really know yet.

The Windows 10 Creators Update arrives this spring. While its version number is 1703, rumors have it set for an April release date.

Source: Microsoft

January 15, 2017 | 07:23 PM - Posted by CNote

How much extra can you get? It auto shuts your Chrome? Oooohh aaahhh.

January 15, 2017 | 07:43 PM - Posted by SimmonsTheMad33 (not verified)

Cant imagine it providing enough of a boost to be worth the effort.

January 15, 2017 | 08:37 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If only they'd code the OS to run minimal apps/services until they are actually needed, then this wouldn't be an issue.
And even they can't be stupid enough to think people actually want or use the bloat that they put into 10.

January 15, 2017 | 11:26 PM - Posted by pessimistic_observer (not verified)

I dont want or even use the bloat thats in windows xp and 7 ;}

January 16, 2017 | 12:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

All windows OSs have the bloat relative to Linux, so hopefully there will be continued improvement with Steam OS/Linux gaming where the user can have the least amount of CPU cycles stealing Bloat to deal with. Windows 10 is on a whole new level with the telemetry and the forced Adware and sponsored bloatware forced onto users under windows 10. Users are being Candy Crushed with sponsored application bloatware that reappear after being uninstalled by the user with each new cycle of windows 10 forced "Updates"!

The Bloat(Force) is strong in that OS from Redmond! And all that telemetry baked into windows 10 just adds to that, those active tiles and ad content must eat some extra internet bandwidth even with the browser turned off under windows 10. So that must add to the online gaming latency issues for gaming under windows 10. That and the forced updates borking multi-monitor and other OS features for games among other things borked under 10.

Is any of the gaming related features going to require that the user to be continuously logged into M$’s cloud! just look at the new reduced privacy settings offerings that require log-in to M$’s cloud just to be able to set user privacy, what if the user does not want a cloud account with M$ in the first place! What will the windows 10 user have to give up to be able to use the game mode under windows 10. Look at Windows 10’s EULA and see that M$ can and does change things to the determent of the OS’s ended user on a regular basis. And that EULA gives M$ the total at its discretion/will permission to do anything with the end users PC/laptop hardware via that windows 10 OS’s EULA terms and conditions.

January 16, 2017 | 02:43 AM - Posted by mutercim

It's really weird that particular comic has this much staying power. I mean, it has been nigh fifteen years.

January 16, 2017 | 03:53 AM - Posted by Fubar (not verified)

The "M$" has even more meaning at these times and fits quite nicely. Some people think that microsoft is the "good guy" and giving out windows 10 for free when it is still a for profit company. Microsoft makes the money some other way than sales, meaning that you are the harvested product that microsoft plans to monetize on.

January 16, 2017 | 01:34 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Nice one.

January 16, 2017 | 12:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The bloat isn't for the user, it's for MS. Gotta get those spyware dollars since it's now a "free" OS

January 16, 2017 | 08:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"If only they'd code the OS to run minimal apps/services until they are actually needed, then this wouldn't be an issue."

Welcome to the world of pre-multitasking OSes. If you are really sure you want this, go run a RTOS instead.

January 17, 2017 | 04:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

CPU usage in idle is a few percent, and W10's memory manager can drop memory usage down to 500MB or so if needed. People assume "bloat" but where is it?

I think people are also confused when they see over 3GB of system memory used in W10 (i.e. if 8GB installed) and less in Windows 7. Using LESS memory isn't necessarily ideal, you want the memory manager to monitor usage and occupy the fast, system memory for quick loading of programs while leaving enough space for a large program of a game to load (and if necessary REMOVE program data).

I'm constantly hearing grips about Windows 10 by people who don't know what they are talking about. Even the "spying" issue is blown out of proportion.

I'm NOT saying Microsoft doesn't monitor various things, but what I AM saying is that there's a knee-jerk reaction thinking it's all bad.

Is NETFLIX keeping track of the videos you watch good or bad?

Is Microsoft using AGGREGATE data bad?

And now I'll probably get flamed for stating the facts...

January 15, 2017 | 11:44 PM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

Just what I wanted, another upgrade that will break the things I finally got working from the last upgrade....

January 16, 2017 | 02:02 AM - Posted by Voldenuit (not verified)

A recent windows update just broke multi monitor gaming for innumerable users. Off to a great start here, MS.

January 16, 2017 | 08:28 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd bet on this being a feature Microsoft developed to help their VR headset initiative run acceptably on lower-end hardware, and someone figured "hey, we can point this at other executables too and market it as 'gaming mode'!".

January 16, 2017 | 08:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You almost had me there

The Windows 10 Creators Update arrives this spring. While its version number is 1703, rumors have it set for an April release date.

Never too early for an April fools joke

January 16, 2017 | 12:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey Scott an unrelated question? Inkscape .92 has been released and the Potrace library is not included packaged in the build. So Potrace for scanning bitmaps into an .svg form is now an external dependency and needs to be installed separately. Could you please look into what is involved in Installing Potrace on windows 7/8.1/10 and is there any special/extra work that needs to be done in Inkscape to point Inkscape .92 to any external dependencies like the Potrace external library in windows? Does the user need to explicitly go into Inkscape and provide a directory link to the external Potrace install for the windows version of Inkscape .92?

I’m not even sure if this external Potrace library dependency is actually an issue for Inkscape .92 and its windows build at this moment as the Inkscape wiki release notes for Inkscape .92 state that: “The Paintbucket and Trace Bitmap tools now use an external copy of the Potrace library, which is available in many Linux distributions”(1). So the wiki Inkscape version .92 release notes entry only mentions Inkscape and Linux?

Could you offer any clarification concerning Inkscape .92 and any external Potrace library issues for the windows version of Inkscape version .92.


"New dependencies"

January 16, 2017 | 01:10 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Okay so I just installed Inkscape via its MSI installer. Without doing anything else, I was able to trace a bitmap into vector art, so you don't need to install potrace separately (apparently).

January 16, 2017 | 02:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks, I'll give it a try. Have you tried any of Inkscape's new features I'm hoping that the new work/features continues to make Inkscape more popular than it already is.

I just wish that Inkscape would make their release notes more clear with sections dedicated to Only Mac OS, Only Linux OS builds, and Only Windows versions, in a seperated format so users can have a definite yes or no with resepct to Dependencies and each Inkscape version's support in Inkscape builds for the Mac OS, Linux OS builds, and windows OS versions.

That Potrace dependency must be for Linux only then, but I'm not sure about Mac OS/OSX either. And much thanks for you all your good work reporting on open source software it's really helpful.

January 16, 2017 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Nah. I don't do a lot of vector art and, when I do, it's in Adobe CC.

I switched from Maya to Blender, and it was a step up, but I don't feel the need to replace Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and, to a lesser extent, Animate. Between trying to make a stable income with the PC Perspective educational animations, game development stream, and software development projects, I don't really have enough time to justify re-learning stuff I already know as well, at least not yet.


January 16, 2017 | 06:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes but at least you report on/take interest in some news regarding when new updates become available for OSS, most sites ignore open source news completely. Adobe CC costs monthly but Inkscape uses Potrace and the Potrace library is at the best available for auto tracing bitmap images into vector/svg compared even to the professional packages. It does take time like you stated so I guess it is too time consuming to learn all the different interfaces required for the many graphics software packages.

I don't work with any graphics/software in a development/paid environment so I have time to try lots of different packages. But yes if you are working it's best to work with the software you know best that gives you the best workflow to get things done the fastest. Between Krita, Gimp, Blender, and Inkscape/other graphics software packages the standardization of the UI is not there mostly and there are quirks to some interfaces with a definite curve for learning things.

That switch from Maya to Blender comes with some good costs savings and Blender is being improved at a rapid pace compared to the other OSS graphics packages. Krita and Gimp are very complementary in some of the things that they do well while Inkscape has some features that can also help greatly in doing some things very quickly.

I have noticed from reading the online blogs about the respective OSS graphics packages that even some that use the pro packages also are using the OSS graphics software and then importing/loading work done with the OSS software into the pro software to improve workflow to get some things done quicker. Inkscape's trace bitmap into vector is an example of using of the Potrace Library that does a very good job with the scanning accurately/quickly of bitmap images into Vector/Svg images that can then be brought in and worked on with other graphics packages to increase productivity greatly.

I like using Inkscape's trace bitmap and then importing the SVG/paths into Blender and converting the SVGs quickly into 3D meshes and then using Blender's rendering tools to produce the best lighting and shadow effects for even some 2D graphics results that can not be reproduced with any of the 2d graphics software packages' filters/effects.

January 16, 2017 | 07:02 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

One of the main things that I like about Blender, actually, is that I can modify and fix it as I need. I've already wrote a Python extension to serve one of my use cases, and I have plans to make a C modifier if my motion graphics work takes off. (It would allow some non-physical camera-projections that look good in 2D, basically.)

But yeah, I'm a big fan of open tools for art and expression.

January 17, 2017 | 05:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How MUCH can "Game Mode" help?

The main help would be to reduce CPU usage. Programs already exist to close down unneeded applications, and of course most of the benefit is for WEAKER CPU's.

Memory Management in W10 is already pretty good, though 3rd party applications could eat up memory. If you have 8GB of memory and don't leave a browser running while gaming this likely isn't even an issue.

Probably the BEST thing they can do is something the program "CPUCORES" does. It's a program on Steam. Many people think it is BS but it's not.

CPUCORES can do various things including forcing ONLY the game to run on a single core which is important as most games have a primary game thread thus can be bottlenecked by just one core. If OTHER programs are eating up CPU cycles you can lose performance even though other cores are sitting idle.

This is NOT likely to help someone with a good CPU very much and should not do anything in terms of GPU optimization if running a single monitor, FULLSCREEN (and a secondary monitor is more about what PROGRAMS are running such as Google Chrome eating up CPU and memory).

So long story short, I expect some combination of:
1) Stopping programs (CPU and memory savings)
2) Forcing one core to the main game exe

Just FYI there's a thing called "thread jumping" which makes it difficult to tell if you have a CPU bottleneck as the main game thread can stop and start on a different core. People might see at most 30% usage on any core/thread and assume no CPU bottleneck. A better way is to monitor GPU usage as lower PERCENT usage indicates likely a CPU bottleneck (or artificial cap such as VSYNC).

January 20, 2017 | 01:27 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Here is the link to CPUCores mentioned:

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