Game Mode

With the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft is striving to enhance gaming on your Windows 10 PC. The company has already announced some BIG new features that are worth paying attention to, like the Beam broadcasting which helps you stream your gameplay via GameDVR, gamer-created events, Xbox Arena and other fan requested features.

We also talked about the Windows 10 Game Mode, which once activated looks to prioritize gaming on your PC by pushing the CPU/GPU resource allocation, thus increasing game performance.


Now, Kevin Gammill, who is the Program Manager for Microsoft’s Xbox Platform Partner Group Program, has finally let us know what Game Mode is and how would you expect it to work during gameplay.

We know you’re in a game, we know you’re taxing the GPU, [so] if you’re in the foreground will actually give more of those GPU slices than you would normally get with Game Mode turned off. We’re essentially affinitizing [or separating] the CPU cores. If you take an eight-core machine and you’re running a game on it, typically the game is spread across those eight cores along with the system processes that are running.

When you’re playing a game and you run into some of those hiccups, it’s often not because of the game, but because of something going on the background just kicked up and stole some of the CPU resources. So, what we do is we affinitize a lot of CPU cores, so that the game will get 80% of the cores [for example], and they will get 100% of that 80% of all the cores. And, the system will get the remaining 20% of the cores, but at 100% of their capacity.

So, there you have it. Additionally, Windows Game Mode will also support your classic or Win32 games. But Microsoft doesn’t seem much interested on optimizing Win32 games to take best advantage of Game Mode as they are doing with UWP, and they have their reasons, too.

Essentially, with Win32, we know where the game starts, at the .EXE, [but] we really don’t know where the game ends. It could call into system services that we’re not aware of. With UWP, we understand the full bounds the of game. So, there are some cases we think that UWP-based games get slightly more benefit from Game Mode than Win32 games, but no question that both will benefit.

We are already seeing the setting for Game Mode under the GameDVR in the latest Fast Ring build 15014, but it is a work in progress and Microsoft has yet to release an update to make it work, which could be coming out by next week.